The Utter Uselessness of Job Interviews
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    The Utter Uselessness of Job Interviews


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    Source : NY Times
    April 8, 2017
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/08/o...?smid=li-share

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    A friend of mine once had a curious experience with a job interview. Excited about the possible position, she arrived five minutes early and was immediately ushered into the interview by the receptionist. Following an amicable discussion with a panel of interviewers, she was offered the job.


    Afterward, one of the interviewers remarked how impressed she was that my friend could be so composed after showing up 25 minutes late to the interview. As it turned out, my friend had been told the wrong start time by half an hour; she had remained composed because she did not know she was late.


    My friend is not the type of person who would have remained cool had she known she was late, but the interviewers reached the opposite conclusion. Of course, they also could have concluded that her calm reflected a flippant attitude, which is also not a trait of hers. Either way, they would have been wrong to assume that her behavior in the interview was indicative of her future performance at the job.


    This is a widespread problem. Employers like to use free-form, unstructured interviews in an attempt to “get to know” a job candidate. Such interviews are also increasingly popular with admissions officers at universities looking to move away from test scores and other standardized measures of student quality. But as in my friend’s case, interviewers typically form strong but unwarranted impressions about interviewees, often revealing more about themselves than the candidates.




    People who study personnel psychology have long understood this. In 1979, for example, the Texas Legislature required the University of Texas Medical School at Houston to increase its incoming class size by 50 students late in the season. The additional 50 students that the school admitted had reached the interview phase of the application process but initially, following their interviews, were rejected. A team of researchers later found that these students did just as well as their other classmates in terms of attrition, academic performance, clinical performance (which involves rapport with patients and supervisors) and honors earned. The judgment of the interviewers, in other words, added nothing of relevance to the admissions process.


    Research that my colleagues and I have conducted shows that the problem with interviews is worse than irrelevance: They can be harmful, undercutting the impact of other, more valuable information about interviewees.


    In one experiment, we had student subjects interview other students and then predict their grade point averages for the following semester. The prediction was to be based on the interview, the student’s course schedule and his or her past G.P.A. (We explained that past G.P.A. was historically the best predictor of future grades at their school.) In addition to predicting the G.P.A. of the interviewee, our subjects also predicted the performance of a student they did not meet, based only on that student’s course schedule and past G.P.A.




    In the end, our subjects’ G.P.A. predictions were significantly more accurate for the students they did not meet. The interviews had been counterproductive.


    It gets worse. Unbeknown to our subjects, we had instructed some of the interviewees to respond randomly to their questions. Though many of our interviewers were allowed to ask any questions they wanted, some were told to ask only yes/no or this/that questions. In half of these interviews, the interviewees were instructed to answer honestly. But in the other half, the interviewees were instructed to answer randomly. Specifically, they were told to note the first letter of each of the last two words of any question, and to see which category, A-M or N-Z, each letter fell into. If both letters were in the same category, the interviewee answered “yes” or took the “this” option; if the letters were in different categories, the interviewee answered “no” or took the “that” option.


    Strikingly, not one interviewer reported noticing that he or she was conducting a random interview. More striking still, the students who conducted random interviews rated the degree to which they “got to know” the interviewee slightly higher on average than those who conducted honest interviews.


    The key psychological insight here is that people have no trouble turning any information into a coherent narrative. This is true when, as in the case of my friend, the information (i.e., her tardiness) is incorrect. And this is true, as in our experiments, when the information is random. People can’t help seeing signals, even in noise.


    There was a final twist in our experiment. We explained what we had done, and what our findings were, to another group of student subjects. Then we asked them to rank the information they would like to have when making a G.P.A. prediction: honest interviews, random interviews, or no interviews at all. They most often ranked no interview last. In other words, a majority felt they would rather base their predictions on an interview they knew to be random than to have to base their predictions on background information alone.


    So great is people’s confidence in their ability to glean valuable information from a face to face conversation that they feel they can do so even if they know they are not being dealt with squarely. But they are wrong.


    What can be done? One option is to structure interviews so that all candidates receive the same questions, a procedure that has been shown to make interviews more reliable and modestly more predictive of job success. Alternatively, you can use interviews to test job-related skills, rather than idly chatting or asking personal questions.


    Realistically, unstructured interviews aren’t going away anytime soon. Until then, we should be humble about the likelihood that our impressions will provide a reliable guide to a candidate’s future performance.


    Author: Jason Dana is an assistant professor of management and marketing at the Yale School of Management.
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    Yale Researcher to Bosses: Science Proves Job Interviews Are Useless


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    A stack of studies proves informal sit downs are useless, so why do you still insist on using them?

    Source : Inc,
    https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman...e-useless.html


    ================================================== ===========


    We all like to think we're rational and swayed by science, but there's often one big problem with this commitment to evidence-based living -- namely, that the science we're working with is way out of date, or just plain wrong.


    Think about it: the last time most non-specialists boned up on the facts was in high school or college, and a lot has happened since then. That's why many people missed the news that spinach was never really very high in iron (apparently, a simple decimal point error is to blame for this myth) or that vitamins are essentially a boondoggle.


    That might also be why you insist on having unstructured interviews with job candidates. It can't be because the practice is actually useful, after all. As Yale management professor Jason Dana pointed out recently in the New York Times, pretty much all the available evidence shows that informal interviews are completely useless.


    Science says interviews are a waste of time.


    How can Dana be so sure? There's no shortage of scientific evidence to back him up. Experts have had serious doubts about the effectiveness of interviews for decades.


    Way back in 1979 a natural experiment saw the University of Texas Medical School at Houston admit 50 additional candidates who had previously been eliminated during the interview phase of the application process, for instance. The students admitted after having flunked the interview performed exactly as well as the students who had passed it.


    "The judgment of the interviewers, in other words, added nothing of relevance to the admissions process," writes Dana.


    Dana's own research backs up these earlier findings. A series of studies he conducted with colleagues revealed that students actually did worse at predicting the GPA of fellow students after they interviewed them, as opposed to just looking at their past grades and current courses. The student interviewers even failed to notice when interviewees gave entirely random answers based on the first letter of the last words of each question.


    Why won't people give up on informal interviews?

    The fact that the interviewers failed to notice the person they were chatting with was responding totally randomly is worrying, but there was an even more alarming section to the study. The students making predictions also said they still valued interviews even after the researchers had explained that those interviews were sometimes random and were making the students' predictions worse.


    Why do students -- and many, many managers -- insist on ignoring evidence and doing the workplace equivalent of downing hundreds of dollars in useless vitamins? People love a good story, and interviews provide a more interesting and memorable narrative about candidates than a dry resume. The only problem is these narratives are often wrong.


    If hiring managers were rational, they'd quit their useless unstructured interview habit for good. If that's beyond their courage, Dana suggests they "structure interviews so that all candidates receive the same questions, a procedure that has been shown to make interviews more reliable and modestly more predictive of job success" or "use interviews to test job-related skills, rather than idly chatting or asking personal questions."


    Failing those two options, Dana pleads with hiring managers to at least show a little humility and take it to heart that science proves interviews are pretty much hocus pocus.


    Are you convinced that most interviews are utterly useless?
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    Modi govt has put a stop to job interviews for Non gazetted post in central govt.

    All selections are based on academic records and experience certificates to be loaded online.

    This he expects will end favouritism in selections
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    Quote Originally Posted by krish44 View Post
    Modi govt has put a stop to job interviews for Non gazetted post in central govt.

    All selections are based on academic records and experience certificates to be loaded online.

    This he expects will end favouritism in selections
    That is a great move. Most human beings do not judge others in an unstructured job interview.

    Without introducing unnecessary pressure, a job interview focused on specific skills can yield great results.
    For example, in silicon valley companies and in financial institutions programmers and analysts are interviewed by making them solve an algorithmic problem and provide approximate computer programs on the board.

    For a marketing professional, one may be asked to give a marketing presentation.

    So targeted interviews for specific skills is useful.

    I have directed organizations I have managed to do detailed background checks. There are agencies that do this for a fee. They look at a person's loan and credit ratings, find out a person's driving record, reach out to references provided and others (with the consent of the candidates). Such a thorough assessment based on what is available are far better indicators of success at the work place.
  7. All views expressed by the Members and Moderators here are that of the individuals only and do not reflect the official policy or view of the TamilBrahmins.com Website.
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