THE EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEW is intended to provide insight into a candidate’s future performance by evaluating the oral responses to the questions presented by the interviewer. For decades, researchers have studied many facets of the interview and have produced mixed results as to the predictive validity of the employment interview (McDaniel, Hartman, Whetzel, & Grubb, 2007; Posthuma, Morgeson, & Campion, 2002). Still, interviewing represents the most popular employee selection method among practitioners. If hiring the right person for the job is crucial to the success of any organization, why do employers continue using the employment interview? We offer some explanations and then describe a technique that has offered promising predictive results for a Midwestern consulting firm.
Why Use Interviews?
The following are offered as reasons that practitioners continue to use employment interviews even though academic research has shown low predictive validity. First, the interview indirectly adds value to the process beyond that of a selection tool in such areas as recruitment, public relations, and feedback. Second, managers believe a face-to- face interview will yield more valid judgments on several observable interpersonal dimensions of behavior (i.e., interpersonal skills, self- assurance, and social poise). Third, managers may continue to use the interview because of company policies, habits, experience, ease, or the feeling of power. Fourth, the employment interview may be a valid pre- dictor of performance that academic researchers have failed to replicate. Recent studies of employment interviews have concluded that struc- tured interviews offer greater predictive validity (Judge, Higgins, & Cable, 2000; McDaniel et al., 2007; Weekley & Ployhart, 2006).
Structured Versus Unstructured
Although academic research has failed to support the predictive valid- ity of employment interviews overall, recent studies of employment interviews have concluded that structured interviews are more valid than unstructured interviews (Cortina, Goldstein, Payne, Davison, & Gilliland, 2000; Ployhart, 2006). It appears that the structured interview is gaining momentum in the workplace as the tool of choice by employers. The behavior-based interview, a type of structured inter- view, appears to be one the most popular techniques used by employ- ers in the marketplace. A representative of a national management company recently stated to the authors that most Fortune 500 compa- nies use behavioral interviewing to select their candidates. Universal Studios of Florida, for example, used the behavioral method to hire 8,000 hourly workers. Universities are preparing their students for behavior-based interviews, as evidenced by copious information on the Web sites of college career service offices.