You may be the best interviewer in the nation, and statistics show you’ll still strike out if you rely on interviews alone.
Beyond that, research has found that unstructured interviews, where there is no systematic plan for asking questions, have zero validity. However, structured interviews using standardized, relevant questions can be quite valid.
Even when an interview (structured or unstructured) is used, incorporating other pre-hire screening tools, such as a pre-employment “test”(1) can be advantageous in three ways:
- First, an employer can choose to allocate valuable (and expensive) interviewer time to applicants who score above a certain level of our aptitude or personality scales. For example, many of our clients will screen out all applicants who score lower than 50-59% on cognitive aptitude or have low Emotional Stability scores.
- Second, interviewers can use information from the pre-employment battery to probe further into possible weaknesses and red flags. For example, if a candidate scores low on Work Drive, the interviewer might want to ask questions about how willing the candidate is to work long hours, overtime, or an irregular schedule.
- Third, experienced interviews can look for consistencies and inconsistencies between the test scores and interview results. Discrepancies can be used to identify areas for further investigation, such as background checks, references, and follow-up interviewing. Some of test reports include behaviorally-based interview questions for all scales on which the candidate scores at the Low or Below-Average level.
(1) The term “test” refers to a measure of maximal performance where the score on, say, a numerical reasoning test represents the best a person can do on numerical reasoning. In contrast, personality scales measure how a person typically behaves. Thus, a candidate who scores high on Conscientiousness is typically more reliable, dependable, trustworthy, and rule-following than other candidates. Nevertheless, here we use the term test to refer to both personality and aptitude measures since they are ordinarily regarded that way by companies using pre-employment testing.