Are interview systems worth it?

Short answer: ‘no’. Long answer: ‘not usually’.

1 min read

Probably the single most frequent touchpoint that managers have with assessment is the hiring interview. So even if a firm’s objective is to introduce more sophisticated assessment processes, it needs to make sure that it gets interviews right. This is partly because any positive impact of other assessment methods will be limited if the accompanying interviews are not done well. But it is also because getting interviews right provides an ideal opportunity to educate the business at large about some of the basics of measurement—things like the value of being better at measurement, the risks of rating biases and the benefits of focusing on fit (e.g., role requirements - candidate fit; organisational culture – candidate fit; manger’s style – candidate fit).

One option for businesses looking to improve their interviewing is to buy a ready-made solution like an interview system. This typically combines two things: interview guides and training in how to do interviews. Some of the interview guides have set structures; others are flexible and can be tailored. They are attractive as they can appear to be a quick route to improving interviews, and some of them are genuinely good. But they are also short-term solutions and, in our experience, are usually overpriced for what they are, in particular those that require all users to be “certified”.

Instead, it tends to be cheaper and better to use independent consultants to build your own interview guides and provide training. There is certainly no need to tie yourself into using inflexible systems that require interviewers to be certified. So if you are serious about interviews, build your own. It can be as effective as any off-the-shelf interview system and will certainly be more tailored and considerably cheaper.

© Nik Kinley, 2024

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