Web assisted interviews

Many firms use the Web to assist in the employee interview process. For instance, Cisco Systems, Inc. (which in 2006 expanded its core business to include video conferencing equipment) equips Cisco recruiters with PC video cameras, so they can conduct preliminary interviews via online Web casts. The recruiter instructs the applicant to use his or her own camera supported PC (or go a local FedEx Kinko’s or similar business). Then, at the appointed time, he or she links to Cisco via Web video for the interview. Cisco doesn’t plan to eliminate face to face interviews. However, the Web video interviews do reduce travel and recruiting expenses, and make thing easier for candidates. Jobs.com conducts frequent live, interactive online career fairs. Job seekers go to the jobs.com interactive career Web site and select a city and job category. They can then participate in a live, interactive career fair event. The US Army also now does online recruiting at is recruiter chat site.

Pros and cons:

Computer aided interviews can be advantageous. Systems like those at Great Western and Pic’n Pay reduce the time managers devote to interviewing unacceptable candidates. Applicants are reportedly more honest to computers than they would be with people, presumably because computers aren’t judgmental. The computer can also be sneaky; if an applicant takes longer than average to answer certain question, he or she may be summarily screened out, or at least questioned more deeply in that area by a human interviewer. Several of the interpersonal interview problem (such as making snap judgments about interviewees based on physical appearance) are also obviously avoided with this approach. On the other hand the mechanical nature of computer aided interviews can leave applicants feeling that both the process and the employer were rather impersonal.

Are Interviews Useful?

While used by virtually all managers, interviews received low marks for reliability and validity in early studies. However, today, studies confirm that the validity of the interview is greater than previously believed and that the interview is generally a much better predictor of performance than previously thought and is comparable many other selection techniques.

But there are three caveats. First, you should structure the interview. Structured interviews (particularly structured situational interviews) are more valid than unstructured interviews for predicting job performance. They are more valid partly because they are more reliable — for example the same interviewer administers the interview more consistently from candidate to candidate. Situational interviews yield a higher mean validity than do job related (or behavioral) interviews which in turn yield a higher mean validity than do psychological interviews, (which focus more on motive and interest).

The second caveat is this: Be careful what sorts of traits you try to assess. A typical study illustrates why, Interviewers were able to size up the interviewee’s extraversion and agreeableness. What they could not assess accurately were the traits that often matter most on jobs – like conscientiousness and emotional stability. The implication seems to be to not focus *(as many do) on hard to assess traits like conscientiousness. Limit yourself mostly to situational and job knowledge questions that help you assess how the candidate will actually respond to typical situations on that job. Third, it is clear that the manager must keep in mind the various factors that can undermine any interview’s usefulness.

Whereas situational interviews ask interviewees to describe how they would react to a hypothetical situation today or tomorrow, behavioral interviews ask interviewees to describe how they reacted to actual situations in the past. For example, when Citizen’s baking Corporation in Flint, Michigan, found that 31 of the 50 people in its call center quit in one year, Cynthia Wilson, the center’s head, switched to behavioral interviews. Many of those who, left did so because they didn’t enjoy fielding questions from occasionally irate clients.

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