The Handbook of Interviewing by Paul J Taylor and Michael P O'Driscoll, Gower Publishing, isbn 81-87233-57-5
Basic introduction to job interviewing from the company perspective. Structured interviewing has an anecdotal benefit for companies, however, the authors conjecture that the benefit comes from the objective scoring of candidates ( I would add that since situational does not require history, intelligent, motivated interviewees score well ). Still no conclusive data yet, as of the early 90's.
Studies carried out in Britain, Europe, the United States and other countries have illustrated, in particular, that correct decisions about hiring can have a huge impact on productivity, in terms of monetary gains, as well as quantity and quality of service (see Dipboye, 1991; Landy 1989; Smith and George, 1992;)...
Despite its popularity, however, the selection interview has not had a good track record in choosing suitable job applicants.
As early as 1964, Mayfield summarized research findings which suggested that unstructured interviews suffer from the following deficiencies:
- Information is not covered consistently across interviews.
- Different interviewers give different importance weightings to the same information.
- Interviewers often make their decision about an applicant very early on in the interview, often within the first four to five minutes; the remaining time is then spent looking for information which would confirm early impressions.
- Because their primary task is often to eliminate 'unsuitable' candidates, interviewers are frequently influenced more by unfavourable (or negative) information about applicants than they are by favourable (positive) information.
- Interviewers often spend more time during the interview talking rather than listening to the applicant.
In a structured interview, all questions are job-related, adn stem from a job analysis...
One of the hallmarks of job analysis is the collection of job-related information from various sources, such as managers, incumbents and others familiar with the target position. In contrast, preparation for the unstructured interview often involves only the position manager and a personnel specialist, who review general job descriptions adn plan a few broad questions.
The emphasis, in structured interviews, on asking a similar set of questions of all candidates does not mean that building rapport is unimportant. As with unstructured interviews, structured interviews must leave candidates with a favourable impression of the organization and the interview.
In structured interviews, each of these (job-related) competencies is usually judged individually in order to prevent interviewers' judgement of one aspect of a candidate carrying too much weight in the selection decisions.
If you are in a relatively small organization (say, less than 200 staff) in which no single job has more than a few positions, the situational interview is unlikely to be a cost-effective alternative. If you are a member of a larger organization, there is likely to be a place for both Behavioural Description Interviews (specific situations from their past given, what did they do) and situational interviews (BDI plus scoring key for each response feature).
Generally, opening questions should not disclose to candidates the desired competency, in order to minimize candidates in light of what they believe will impress interviewers...
Rather than asking, "Can you think of a situation in your last retail job where you had to show empathy to a customer?", ask ... "In you last retail job I assume you must have deal with upset customers at times, can you think of a particularly difficult situation?" Avoid leading questions of all kinds, use the open-ended How What Why to explore.
Situational interviews key features:
- Correspondence with job requirements. (must enumerate the important job competencies)
- Job analysis. Situational questions must be developed from a critical incident job analysis.
- Transparency. Situationals do not require candidates to have had prior exposure
- Assessing candidate responses. The response scoring guide must be constructed to avoid unrealistic responses.
Avoid opening questions that are not job-related and delve into the candidate's personal life ("how was your weekend?"). Next, explain the purpose and format of the interview.