Hiring managers and talent acquisition functions use many methods to evaluate and try to predict a candidate’s ability to perform a job and gauge fit within the company/team culture.  Assessments are tools that usually profile a person’s behavior, personality and capabilities.  They help organizations make decisions about hiring, promoting and developing their talent, and encompass many pre-hire selection activities.  

Some assessments are testing for hard skills and some for soft skills.  In the middle of the spectrum is an interview - which can evaluate both and be the most predictive type of assessment for future job performance.  

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The Sweet Spot of Assessments:  The Interview

The reason interviews are such an integral part of the hiring process is because they can evaluate both hard and soft skills, if executed correctly.  

Structured Interview

A structured interview consists of a set of questions determined in advance and ensures that each candidate is presented with exactly the same questions in the same order.  A structured interview can be conducted can be done via paper or web where the candidate fills in responses, or live with a trained interviewer that fills in candidate responses, or with digital interviewing. Structured interviews produce consistent data that can be used to evaluate candidates against the same criteria and can reduce bias and uncover the best fit candidates.

Unstructured Interview

An unstructured interview or non-directive interview is considered to be the opposite of a structured interview because the questions are not prearranged. These rely on rapport and relationship building between the interviewer and candidate.  They can be useful to explore emerging areas of understanding.  It is often suggested that these types of interviews are recorded so that the answers can be analyzed later and the interviewer can focus on the interaction. It is important to point out that an unstructured interview is not the same as an unorganized or disorganized interview.

Behavioral Interview

Behavioral interviewing is an approach that looks at past behavior as the best predictor of future performance.  Past behavior in past situations will more accurately indicate a candidate’s attitudes and behaviors.  This approach is useful because it goes beyond whether the candidate can do the job, but helps determine if the candidates will do a good job.  A person may have the knowledge to do the job, but not the inclination or desire to do it to the standard necessary in a particular organization or team.

Predictive Outcomes Rely On Using the Right Assessment

In order to get the most predictive data out of an interview, determining the right format, questions and answers, will result in the best hiring decisions, rather than relying on gut instinct and limited ability to compare candidates.  All of these interview types have benefits when deployed correctly.

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