Problem With Using Interview As A Selection Method Essay


Write a critical review report about problem with using interview as a selection method.



The employment interview has emerged as the most popular tool of selection procedure in any organisation long back, and there has been not much modification in the manner it is held. It has been used ubiquitously by the recruiting agencies and has also been widely researched topic for the researchers. More than 100 research papers have been published about this subject. These papers have hovered around three main themes namely, understanding how a structured interview accurately predicts about a candidate, the parameters of a candidate that can be measured with the help of such job interviews and a critical analysis of the applicant factors which has influenced the interview process. Although research has advanced a lot and has enlightened us about the numerous aspects of a job interview, there is still a considerable gap in the research which can tell us about the possible fallacies of the interview being used as a single mode of selection. A person may have a considerable expertise or prior knowledge in the required field but because of a bad interview experience he or she might get rejected in the selection process. This aspect of a job interview has been highlighted and discussed in detail in this research proposal which constitutes the problems attached to the interview being used as a selection device.


Interviews have been the most popular and easiest method for selection of talent among most of the organisations all over the world. Even if there are other criteria of selection, it is observed that interviews have a disproportionately high weight on the selection criteria. An applicant who performs poorly in a job interview is rejected without any consideration towards his prior experience in the related field, his test scores or any other matter of significance like a letter of recommendation. On the other hand, anyone who has excelled in the interview process is hired although he may not be the best fit for that particular role. This results in lower productivity and ultimately loss of resources for the organisation which proves detrimental in the long term. As a result, there are a plethora of books and guides available for improving the interview performance of a candidate. But nevertheless job interviews have been empirically proved to be pretty bad predictors of employee organisation fit or competency judgement for a particular position. This might crop up as a major issue for a team as it will be deprived of proper and suitable talent for its growth and development because of a faulty talent acquisition process. All these factors put together makes the issue of critically analysing the problems involved in job interviews as a selection method all the more important, and there is an urgent need of a thorough research to address the issue. This article undertakes this task of doing a research analysis of the problems involved with job interviews.

Literature Review:

Job interview and its usefulness as a measure of competency for selecting the best candidate have been the topic of research for quite some time now. In this section, the report goes through the review of existing literature which is related to our research topic. The paper authored by Yet-Mee Lim, Teck Heang Lee, Ching Seng Yap and Chui Ching Ling and published in 2016 with the title “(Yet-Mee Lim, Teck Heang Lee, Ching Seng Yap and Chui Ching Ling, 2016) talks about the problems faced by young accounting graduates in employment procedures. They have tried to incorporate different perspectives to analyse and explain the employability capabilities of university accounting students with particular regard to accounting lecturers, junior auditors, accounting firm employers, etc. It thoroughly investigates the early employment problems that are faced by junior accounts and the stress that is given on the employability skills or other personal attributes. The outcomes of the research indicate that with regards to accounting profession the employers value communication skills, representation, and eye for detail together with time management skills. They expect a dynamic personality with the ability to handle any crunch situation. While as a downside it can be said that the research talked about the negatives of initial employment which include lack of functional knowledge or inexperience in applying the acquired knowledge. Apart from that, there is much chance of the candidate being not responsible since he or she is fresh out of college. All these findings have been listed in the journal article that has been cited earlier. Although it is not directly related to our research topic, we can deduce crucial information from this investigation. It proves that most of the jobs require certain generic criteria for selection like excellent communication skills and so on. As mentioned earlier nowadays there is increased focus on a well-rounded personality than functional expertise, and this trend has driven the need for job interviews which tests a candidate for only the generic skills like communication and personality completely overlooking his prior experience or other relevant factors. Moreover, as a result of new employment, there is a considerable mismatch in the role being offered and the expertise or skill sets of the candidate which was also iterated while stating that a single interview can never select the best candidate for a position.

Next we turn our attention to the paper authored by Tobias Baur, Ionut Damian, Patrick Gebhard, Ka?ska Porayska-Pasta and Elisabeth Andre which was published in 2013 named “A Job Interview Simulation: Social Cue-based Interaction with a Virtual Character”(Tobias Baur, Ionut Damian, Patrick Gebhard, Ka?ska Porayska-Pomsta and Elisabeth Andr?e, 2013). This paper deals in detail about an innovation that has happened in the traditional job interview process and the prospects of such innovation. It talks about a virtual set up wherein the interviewer will be a virtual character created through signal processing techniques. It will be in charge of conducting the interview, but its primary focus would be to interpret and analyse the social cues of the candidate and react accordingly. It will be programmed and enabled to respond favourably to the candidate based on the social cue stimulation. This is a technology based latest development in the field of job interview which has limited relation to our research topic. But it is justified to mention here that the existence of such research papers indicate that job interview process is not full proof, and there is considerable work going on to improve and plug the holes in the conversation structures. There is a scope for biasness and other issues in a job interview which can be minimised with the help of such technology-based solution as illustrated in this journal article.

In the article authored by Therese Macan with the title “The employment interview: A review of current studies and directions for future research" published in 2009, the author talks about the problems involved in using job interview as a selecting device (Macan, 2009). This study makes a thorough analysis of the present structure of the job interview process and the different criteria which are being judged through an employment interview. It throws light upon the factors which are efficiently predicted with the help of a job interview as well as the structure which is prevalent among most of the organisation (Campion, M. A., Palmer, D. K., & Campion, J. E., 2007). The paper makes a clear classification about all the parameters like age, gender, race or other disabilities which influence the direction of an interview. It makes sure compelling arguments about whether an interview tests all the facets of the personality of a candidate or it is a faulty method of evaluation. It also discusses the different formats that are used for interview processes like panel interview or group interview and its efficacy regarding choosing the right candidate. This article can be viewed as very similar to the present research topic, and it is one of the phenomenal works which talks about the inefficacy of job interviews. This paper can act as a guide for the research that is being undertaken in this article.

Going forward it is justified to review an article written by Fred Lunenburg in 2010 named "The Interview as a Selection Device: Problems and Possibilities"(Lunenburg, 2010). This article should be seen as a previous work of the present research topic and the work done in this article should be carried forward to come up with meaningful outcomes which can help design a better recruitment process for the organisations. It talks in detail about the interviewing problems faced by the recruiters and methodically classifies them into different reasons. Some of the reasons cited in the paper include not being thorough with the job description; premature decisions, interviewers, are more concerned with any negative information about the candidate, personal biases, etc. The ensuing discussion elaborates on the issues:

Unfamiliarity with Job description – Interviewers themselves are not aware of the requirement of the job sometimes. This creates a considerable barrier while choosing proper candidates since the interviewers are then not able to ask the right questions or investigate the good qualities that are expected from a candidate (Dougherty, T. W., Turban, D. B., & Callender, J. C., 2004). There is a mismatch between the information that is gathered and the way it is interpreted which makes it irrelevant for the job. All these factors lead to waste of time in the job interview process

Preconceived Decisions – It is quite common in any interview process that the interviewer makes an impression about the candidate in the first few minutes of the interview without going into details or trying to gather relevant information through proper questions. The rest of the interview process then just goes on to reinforce the preconceived belief of the interviewer (Hosoda, M., Stone-Romero, E. F., Coats, G., 2003).

Weight age on negative factors – It is a general tendency among recruiters to give more importance to any unfavourable information on a candidate than his capabilities and any other definite skill set possessed by the candidate. Moreover, it is seen empirically that if there is a change in a decision from the interviewer's side, then it is mostly in the direction from positive to negative rather than the other direction (Luxen, M. F., & van de Vijver, F. J. R., 2006).

Personal Biases – People are fraught with biases which can range from numerous ideas like people from the developing countries are arrogant or may be individuals who plumb prefer a cushy job rather than a challenging one. All these biases play a pivotal role while the selection of candidates which is entirely irrelevant to the skill and expertise required for a particular job. On the other hand, some recruiters give more weight on overall courtesy, communication skill and personality which are generic qualities rather than any functional expertise. These prejudices need to be eradicated to conduct a fair and just interview process which will be an efficient means of recruiting the right talent (Schmidt, F. L., & Hunter, J. E., 2008).

Candidate Order – The sequence of candidates play a significant role in creating an impression in the minds of the interviewer. Since in a recruitment day there are a lot of interviews that are conducted at a stretch it may happen that the future of a candidate depends on the memory of the recruiter. Often it is found that the interviewer creates an anchoring bias in his or her mind with the performance of the first candidate and then judges the remaining candidates based on the initial candidate's performance. This is not justified since every candidate should be judged or investigated based on his merit or demerit. Apart from this, there is a fatigue issue which creeps in while conducting a day-long interview schedule. This may lead to a less strict interview process than the one carried out at the outset of the day (Wilk, 2003).

Hiring Quotas – Many a times interviewers are given quotas which they have to fulfil by any means. This creates added pressure on the mind of the interviewers since they have a target to achieve whereas on the other hand if there is a free interview conducted without any external constraint then it has more probability to be fair and adequate.


As discussed at length in the earlier sections there is ample scope of research to dig out the problems involved in job interview process. Although there are several types of research which have identified the problems and biases with using such selection method, there is little work done to suggest a typical interview format or a structured interview procedure. There can be a formal framework for interviewers which they need to satisfy to be able to take part in the recruitment process. There is the considerable scope of research in this aspect wherein we can interview the human resource heads of several organisations to come up with a standard procedure for the meeting which is free from any of the problems or biases mentioned above. The thought leaders in the human resource educational field can also be interviewed to incorporate their idea of an ideal interview to plug the gap in the recruitment process. To come up with such framework there needs to be done an extensive secondary qualitative research which talks about the key parameters that is to be judged while interviewing any candidate. For the research purpose, a pool of learned recruiters can be created, and a survey questionnaire can be floated among them. This will talk about the different aspects of job interviews like the interview format, training that is required for interviewers, a record of each conversation needs to be kept or not, use of multi-panel interview process and so on. The qualitative research can delve deep into such aspects of a job interview to come up with a structured interview format. Nowadays a lot of headhunting firms have also emerged which take up the work of recruitment for the organisation. They might also prove to be useful in this research if they are taken on board. In this way, we can create a detailed and elaborate qualitative research technique to deal with the problem of a job interview as a selection methodology of the right candidates. The research might come up with precise sample interview question which can be like as follows:

  • The candidate can be asked about his philosophy or outlook about leadership or management which is might be especially useful while recruiting for management positions
  • Questions regarding his team work experience is pertinent to every job
  • The candidates can be given certain what if situations to decipher which will reveal his values and management outlook which can be compared with the mission and vision statement of the organisation
  • Asking for the candidates weakness or a question about describe himself will help in judging certain personality traits like emotional stability, caring nature, teaming skills or the ability to lead a group of subordinates

Questions based on these aspects may have a better impact in judging the proper candidate for a job and the right way to pose such question in an interview can come out from the qualitative research that will be carried out as part of the research problem. So with the help of a proper research design and a good survey questionnaire this research can add value to the existing theoretical work to reduce the problems involved in the job interview process while enabling the organization to select the right candidate who will propel the growth of the organisation for future profitability and sustainability.


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