Know Five Insane But True Things About Job Interviews to Interview Your Best

March 15, 2010


Job interviews have not changed in the past 40 years. Sure there are video interviews, behavioral interviews, panel interviews but the basic process of talking to a candidate and trying to determine if they are a fit remains the same. Here are five insane things about job interviews:

Job interviews are only successful approximately 51% of the time
48% of all new employees leave their job, voluntarily or involuntarily,  before 18 months. The reasons are numerous including not having the required skills, misunderstanding the job for which they were being hired, unable to get along with the supervisor and not fitting the company culture. The insanity; this low success rate costs the company anywhere from 2X the employees salary for an entry level employee to a whopping 40X salary for a senior executive.

Cross Examination

Cross Examination

Job interviews are mostly verbal cross examinations
Job interviews consist of one or more people asking a candidate a series of questions. The candidate, typically feeling intimidated, hopes to answer the questions correctly so they can be granted the job. The insanity; only 20% of the population are verbal learners but 40% are visual learners. Interviews are all verbal and not visual so most interviewers have little retention of the interview content.

Job candidates go to interviews not knowing what they will be asked
Job  interviews are suppose to assess a persons ability to perform on the job.  However, rarely is an employee asked to report to their bosses office for a 60 minute meeting without being told the agenda and asked to prepare to present specific information. The insanity; an applicant comes to an interview with no advance knowledge of what she will be asked and no opportunity to prepare to present specific information.

Bad Interview

What Me Interview

Most hiring managers are not good interviewers
Most hiring managers hire very few people so they do not develop interviewing skills. They may get interview training but by the time they have to hire someone interview training is long forgotten.  The insanity; almost all companies acknowledge that people are their greatest assets but they spend little time or resources supporting hiring managers to select the right people.

Gut FeelingAt the end of the day most people are hired based on the hiring manager’s “gut feeling”
Good employee selection is critical for both the hiring organization and the candidate. Even in companies where there is a formal structured interview process, hiring decisions are made subjectively. Some research shows the decision to hire or not hire is made in the first 10 minutes and the rest of the interview is spent confirming the decision. The insanity; often critical hiring decisions are based on an unconscious attraction to a candidate. No wonder interviews are only 51% successful in hiring good employees.

How can we  cure the insanity? Use an interview presentation process. Give the candidates a list of critical job requirements and have them develop a written presentation that links their background and skills to the critical requirements and states why they are a good candidate for the position.  This helps the candidate prepare for the interview, makes the interview visual, helps the interviewer interview better, and makes the interview more objective. In short, it cures the insanity.


Cure the interview insanity