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Interviewing bias?

As we scale up I am interviewing more and more. This HBR article talks about how open ended interviews are terrible predictors of job success. For non-engineer interviews how many founders give more objective tests and evaluations to candidates and what have you seen work well?

9 Replies

Chuck Smith
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Chuck Smith Entrepreneur
Recruitment Process Advisor | Talent Evaluation Expert | Vistage Speaker
Lucas, All interviewers (including me) routinely overvalue our ability to interview. The best study I've seen on this was a meta-study published in HBR. See below: [image: Inline image 1] If you've not read Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking Fast and Slow" I'd suggest you take a look. He explains why we're bad at interviewing and what to do about. Hint: value a mix of assessments more than 1) work history 2) inteview. Hope this helps. Chuck *Chuck Smith* President *Recruiting Software and Services* 73 W. Monroe, Chicago, IL 60603 [removed to protect privacy] www.new-hire.com *Every Job Deserves The Right Person *
Scott San Filippo
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Board Member and Advisor to CEO at Red Mind
I share(d) the same frustrations, both as an interviewer, and interviewee. In my last company, we finally found a method that I believe worked really well, for engineers and non-engineers. It allows even the worst interviewers to evaluate candidates well, and the process is great for being as objective as possible across multiple interviewers. It is based on Lou Adler's Performance-Based hiring methods. There is a great book on it, and here is a link to the site with plenty of resources.louadlergroup.com/about-us/performance-based-hiring
Teresa Demarie
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Teresa Demarie Entrepreneur
Bilingual Organization Development Consultant, Career and Executive Coach Working with Growing Companies
Dr. Victor Porak de Varna
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CEO, Leadership Effectiveness, Culture of Passion & Flow, Lead yourself first, Five Elements Theory, Inspiring Speaker, Everybody deserves to be seen
Hi Lucas,

I'm rewriting my post. So here's what has worked for me:

1) Define selection criteria: education level, skills, experience, competencies, personality traits, motivators, etc.. I would be rather careful with things like organizational fit to avoid creating a monoculture.

2) Pre-screen candidate resumes/online profiles for education, skills and experience. You might also want to send a pre-selection questionnaire via email upfront to eliminate those who don't fit.

3) Screen individuals (telephone, video conference) to narrow down candidate list. This is also a good time to check for project experience, relocation needs, salary expectations and total comp.

4) Optional: Have short-listed candidates fill out a personality questionnaire (I recommend HOGAN) that will help you prepare interviews. Use that info to formulate hypotheses for each candidate. You can then try and falsify those when meeting with them.

5) Organize several interview rounds with key-stakeholders. Have each stakeholder group focus on different aspects of selection criteria. I had good success with using a process that includes a) candidate self-presentation, b) behavioral interview, c) solving a relevant case and d) handing a job-related situation (gleaned from real life). Remember to read in between the lines and listen to what is not being said.

6) Organize a key-stakeholder meeting (telco) immediately after each interview. Compile observations against selection criteria

7) After all candidate interviews, organize key-stakeholder meeting to review all documentation on all candidates and take votes on who gets the position.

8) Reference checking has not yielded much information as most companies do only give employment dates and no further feedback for liability reasons.

9) If possible keep a couple of viable candidates "warm" as some may drop out during salary negotiation, relocation and due to other circumstances.
Mark Talaba
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Mark Talaba Entrepreneur
Founder, Vision Former, serial entrepreneur
Hello Lucas. There is a completely new technology that utilizes concepts from physics and systems theory - not psychology, to identify and describe the different ways a person will seek to make team contributions, and the relative quality of those contributions. The product of 25 years of behavioral science research and 9 years of tech development, it offers the means, and the integrated methods, for creating and maintaining positive team chemistry. Teamability(R) was launched commercially in 2012, and has delivered extraordinary business benefits in organizations ranging from startups to the Fortune 100.
Mona Sabet
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Mona Sabet Advisor
driving growth | leading tribes | making deals | advocating for diversity
Hi Lucas. There are a lot of new start ups focused on solving this problem with great technology. Check outhttps://www.gapjumpers.me/ andhttp://interviewing.io/ as just two examples that I'm familiar with. If you decide to test either of them, let me know!
Joseph Wang
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Joseph Wang Entrepreneur
Chief Science Officer at Bitquant Research Laboratories
I think the article misses the point of the interview. In technical situations, it is usually rather easy to evaluate the technical and performance characteristics of the applicant, and usually your applicant pool will have more or less the same performance profile.

The reason you want to interview someone is to see if you can stand to be in the same room with them for hours on end. Also in corporate situations, the main thing that the interviewer is looking for is emotional control and the ability to speak corporate-speak.

The other thing is that people are looking less for job success rather than lack of failure. Usually you end up with two or three candidates that would all be qualified for the position. What you want is to eliminate disasters rather than necessarily picking the top candidate.
Michael R. Neece
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Michael R. Neece Entrepreneur
Co-Founder, JenytaNetworks
Hi Lucas, Try this.

1- Make a list of your selection criteria organized by "Experience (hard skills)", Behaviors (personality traits)", Professional Skills (discipline independent skills)", and "Organizational Fit".

2- During phone / video screens ask candidates to give you examples of their work that demonstrates their "Experience (hard skills)." This way you only meet people who can do the job.

3- During in-person interviews, ask candidates to give examples of their skills you listed on your selection criteria. Discuss one selection criteria at a time.

4-For your finalists, ask them to do a small project that simulates the work they will do for you. You might consider paying them for this "simulated" project. For multiple finalist, use the same simulated project. For SW dev jobs, have them write some code. For marketing, have them do a marketing project directly related to the work you need done or just finished. You get the idea. Then meet with them to discuss the project.

5-When checking references, ask each reference to give an example when the candidate demonstrated different dimensions of your selection criteria.
Tom Janz, Ph D
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Tom Janz, Ph D Entrepreneur
Chief Scientist at PeopleAssessments.com
Hi Lucas,
If you check my LinkedIN profile, you will see that I published the first research and wrote the book on Behavoral Interviewing. Michael Neece givesa nice action plan summary.

However,you can save a lot of time and expenseby using online psychometric and natural language assessment beforeinvesting in face-to-face interviews.

Peopleassessments offers fast, engaging, and powerful profilers for initial screening with an online technical and people skillpre-interview so youspend your time with just the best talent willing to apply.
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