Bad hires hurt businesses. But practically every business leader can tell at least one story about a hiring mistake that led to stilted productivity, low team morale, and costly wheel spinning.
This begs an important question: Why do recruitment efforts fail so frequently? After all, hiring is an integral part of the business experience. If we didn’t seek, find, and hire talented performers, we’d be unable to function. Shouldn’t we have the process nailed down by now?
Hiring is more complex than many people realize. It’s not always intuitive to evaluate applicants in a holistic, compliant way. Two things help: Conducting a job analysis and utilizing structured interviews.
Used in tandem, job analysis and structured interviews can cut out the issues that too often lead to poor hiring decisions.
How Does a Job Analysis Work?
A job analysis is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a careful, scientific study of a role that takes into consideration the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) needed to do it.
Our trademarked Guidelines Oriented Job Analysis (GOJA) process goes beyond defining “nice to have” and “need to have” job requirements. We speak with subject matter experts, survey a sample of workers, and pore over objective data to provide a logical, unbiased look into the KSAs a candidate needs to succeed in a position.
Job analyses help businesses make hiring decisions that actually reflect job requirements, but they do even more than that. They assist hiring managers in developing structured interviews.
Structured vs. Unstructured Interviews
Think back to the last interview you conducted. Was it a series of freeform questions? Or did it have a specific, intentional flow? The former would be an example of an unstructured interview. The latter, structured.
Both types of interviews can be useful when determining the perfect person to add to your team. That said, structured interviews are vastly superior.
What makes unstructured interviews less effective? First, they allow applicants and interviewers to guide the discussion in a very inexact way. As a result, candidates tend to get asked different questions in different orders. This increases the risk that interviewers show explicit or implicit bias toward interviewees.
Unstructured interviews also can’t be as easily or accurately scored. Since many of the questions asked of candidates are modified to a greater or lesser degree, it is not possible to develop highly specific scoring criteria against which to judge answers. This creates a major concern: low test validity. When validity is low, it negatively affects the interviewer’s ability to predict applicant success.
A structured interview, by contrast, is based on a job analysis. It uses a standard set of quality questions, which places all candidates on a level playing field. The structured interview makes it possible to develop high-quality scoring criteria that can be used to ensure that each candidate is scored based on a common set of carefully designed standards. This removes subjectivity and sets the stage for one or more interviewers to validly score applicants.
Supplementing the Structured Interview
While structured interviews are great hiring tools, all interview types have flaws. Most only have10 questions max, limiting their ability to broadly dive into a candidate’s background or ability. Raters can make errors for any number of reasons, and candidates who are less verbal or introverted might not stand out as much during interviews — even if they excel at the critical KSAs that will guarantee high performance.
To overcome these flaws, hiring managers can and should supplement interviews with pre-employment assessments; we call this multi-modal assessment. Using multiple tools that measure different facets of the candidate’s capabilities increases the likelihood you will make the best hiring decision possible. You might be surprised to learn that your top applicant falls in the ranks after testing even though they performed well in a structured interview.
Effective candidate screening and hiring can be difficult, but correcting a major hiring misstep is even more challenging. Biddle Consulting Group can help. Our experienced consultants, hiring tools, and expert test development and validation services help you stay on the right side of hiring and make the best decisions. Get in touch today to learn more.