Job Interviewing Maladies & Their Cure

by: Dr. Michael Abelson

Like everything else; successful approaches to hiring people have changed. A recent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article points out a number of maladies experienced by job seekers. Negative outcomes abound because of organizational mistakes. Some outcomes are even nightmarish. For example; hiring the wrong person who 1) soon disrupts the organization’s culture or 2) who soon offends a large number of clients who take their business elsewhere. These types of things
happen in tight labor markets, when quality candidates are scarce, as well as in markets that have plenty of quality staff. Interviewing maladies chase away quality candidates. The result is you hire less qualified candidates who lose sales that otherwise would come to the hiring organization.

What Maladies Lead to Negative Outcomes?

In addition to hiring the wrong people, the WSJ article points out that past interviewing techniques such as:

  • not following up with job candidates,
  • ignoring emails & phone calls from Job candidates wanting to know their job status, and
  • being dismissive, rude, or offensive to job candidates during the interview or resultant process have increasingly negative outcomes.

These above techniques may be usual for past interviewing processes, but taint the perception
candidates have of the company and lead to even more negative outcomes in the current environment. For example:

  • They negatively impact the job candidate’s perception of the organization (both high-quality
    and low-quality candidates) and they may not even consider applying for a job with the organization in the future.
  • They may have friends also considering a job with the organization, but they too are now less likely to apply for a job with the organization.
  • It negatively affects the job interviewer’s willingness to purchase the organizations products or later use the organization’s services. A study of 438 job seekers by Future Workplace & Career found that 91% agreed a job candidate’s experience will affect their future buying decisions.

5 Cures to These Maladies?

A number of cures are available from us and other quality HR companies.

  • Numerous research studies point out that the typical interview, when used by itself, is one of the least effective techniques to hire people. Consider two things:
    • A CareerBuilder’s 2017 survey found only 40% of front-line managers are given any training on how to make the hiring process a positive experience. A solution is to consider training people on how to do effective interviewing.
    • It is important to use techniques, in addition to interviews, to identify candidates’ characteristics. Use a quality assessment tool that accurately measures job candidates characteristics. Make sure the assessment(s) complies with Equal Employment Opportunity law and does not discriminate on gender, age, race or the other protected classifications.
  • Few organizations identify the TRUE characteristics of the person who would be best for the job. They focus instead ONLY on techniques they believe are needed to succeed on the job. Contract with a quality organization who can help you create a job benchmark that 1) identifies the true characteristics needed to perform the job, 2) measures those characteristics and 3) compares each job candidate’s characteristics to the characteristics the job benchmark suggests are needed.
  • Inaccurate job descriptions are frequently used. Since job needs change quickly, have quality job descriptions that describe the current job, not the job as it was 6 months or longer ago.
  • Use the job description and the job benchmark to craft an accurate job announcement. When done correctly, this attracts the right person for the job. Most organizations make global comments instead of listing the job accountabilities identified during an effective job benchmark process. The wrong job candidates contact you, while the right candidates self-select out of the job.

Bottom line: Cure the Job Hiring Maladies:

  1. Redo the job description so it accurately describes the current job needs.
  2. Craft a job benchmark that accurately identifies the job candidate characteristics needed to succeed on the job.
  3. Use the new job description and the job benchmark to create the job announcement that attracts the best people for the job. This alone will save you hours, days, or weeks of time.
  4. Identify the right assessment tool(s) that accurately measures, within the EEOC guidelines, all job candidates’ personal characteristics and then compares these characteristics to what is needed to be successful on the job.
  5. Train those interviewing on how to use these tools to hire the very best people and to create the best hiring experience for the job candidate.

Do as many of the above five cures as you can yourself or Identify an organization who can assist you with the process. Whichever your choice, these are effective techniques that will result in you hiring the right people the first time and establish a quality experience for your organization and all your potential job candidates.

© 2024. Michael Abelson (BA, MA, MBA, PhD) founded The Abelson Group in 1986, is Emeritus (retired) from the Management Department at Texas A&M University, and specializes in communications and over a dozen other human resource areas.

He has spoken to over 1000 business and non-business groups on four continents, been quoted by over 100 newspapers, newsletters, and magazines, and authored over 100 articles, books, monographs, and other publications.  He is frequently invited by the media to share opinions and solutions.

Contact him at [email protected] or to invite him to consult, coach, speak, or for a media interview.  

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