There are many reasons why this could be a flawed tool. There are too many liabilities, too many erroneous judgments left to "human error." According to an article from Harvard Business Review (HBR), "Humans are very good at specifying what’s needed for a position and eliciting information from candidates—but they’re very bad at weighing the results,” HBR’s analysis of 17 studies showed that “a simple equation outperforms human decisions by at least 25%.” That means reducing 25% human error by implementing automation into the hiring process.
In this article, I will discuss micro level problems with the current recruitment process and interview structure. The article is split into five areas that affect recruitment. I have shared a brief on how we can address the issues in each area.
- Measuring the immeasurable over an interview: Technical skills, team skills, intelligence, attitude, and physical skills cannot be measured in an interview alone these are situational and needs dedicated efforts in developing questions/testing methodologies. In addition to these skill sets, there is a need to test softer skills like communication, personality traits, social grace, personal habits, interpersonal skills, managing people, and leadership. But you cannot do so just with an interview. Moreover, how will you grade them? Will you award them with 10, 20, 30 marks for each right answer!?
One of the ways to avoid any bias is to involve multiple panelists who grade the candidates on certain pre-defined questions. These questions need to be scientifically formulated by subject matter experts or business managers who consider competencies and other relevant factors specific to each position. Analysis of the evaluation made by panelists needs to be checked on a regular basis to help us understand their rating patterns this helps us come into consensus on an average scoring system. Or we could formulate the questions in-house and assign multiple panel members to evaluate and here you could implement recorded video interviews that can be shared later. Each panel member can evaluate the interview at ease without affecting the schedule of the interview process.
- Flawed Interview Process Design: Length of the interview, order of the interview, location of where the interview is held, panel interviews - all in all the interview structure has flaws in them. Interviews are often held for four to five hours, at one stretch, this can be frustrating for both recruiters and candidates. Candidates come in for a face-to-face interview, sent back for the day and then he is called in another day to meet the hiring manager - the entire process is tiring. It is even more tiring if the candidate has to travel long distances to appear for the interview.
This can be avoided to some extend by digitizing the entire recruitment process and candidate interaction. A process wherein initially video of the CEO or HR head speaking about the company, then a candidate is taken through a technical assessment like code evaluation test, which is video proctored and avoids fraud. Candidates selected in this process will be taken to automated video interview. Now, a digitized calendar allows the candidate to choose a date where the panel is also not occupied for a live video interview round, which is also recorded. In this way, your multiple back and forth between candidates and recruiters is taken care of. This way the entire process is digitized. Many companies are already using these products to digitize the process and appear as a tech-savvy company to the candidates.
- Subconsciously Prejudiced Process: During the interview, the recruiters are usually multitasking; asking relevant questions, mentally running thousand other errands, and looking at candidate's body language. Recruiters could miss out on a few details here, most of the times recruiters are looking for a reason to reject a candidate, thinking, "How can s/he be so perfect? S/he must be cheating." A recorded interview process can evade these problems, looking over the interview from a fresh perspective or have multiple panelists to avoid any personal bias. Also, these recorded interviews can be used for governance purposes, which leads me to the next problem.
- Legalities and Such: Interviews are usually not taped, not even with a written record, if a legal issue arises; recruiters and TA heads usually suffer a huge blow. Personal questions should be avoided during an interview; this could be used against the company or the recruiter even if the candidate is rejected on fair grounds. What seems to be public information on LinkedIn or Facebook can be problematic if asked in an f2f interview, like asking applicant’s age, religion, marital status, or political alignment. You could land into legal problems. Offering a video of the interview and the questions will eschew the inappropriateness of the questions if any. Recruiters can review the interviews happening on a regular basis and help the line managers with additional training wherever required. By doing this you ensure the gateway leading talent into the organization is manned well and frequent corrective measures ensure the goals of hiring the best is well aligned. Also note that these steps ensure you have excellent HR audits practices where in nothing is missed out when it comes to following the process.
- No Importance to Candidate Experience: Candidates usually come from faraway places, but most of the times, they are not even asked for a glass of water, waiting for hours together outside for a response could be frustrating for the candidates. Candidates are the company's brand ambassadors, even if they are not selected; they are bound to tell their friends that the experience was priceless. That provides you with an increased candidate pool. Also, remember they may be your customers as well, don't alienate them with a bad experience in the interview process. Engaging candidates is an important process that most companies forget to inculcate. Other things overseen are not informing candidates after the interview if they are on hold or rejected and disorganized interviews where panelists cancel the interview, arrive late or take calls during the interview.
One absolute solution to this problem is implementing mobile into the hiring process. It is the most effective and efficient way to solve most of the problems related to scheduling interviews and location constraints. It is predicted that India will reach 236 million mobile internet users by 2016. Isn’t it a wise practice to implement in hiring? It is convenient for candidates as well as recruiters. Imagine if candidates and recruiters could converse with each other over a mobile app regarding any doubts or clarification. Recruiters can send out information regarding the company through a mobile app to keep them engaged with the company.
These are a set of critical problems in an interview that most people didn’t think was a problem in the first place. There are numerous technologies that provide various work around for these problems - you could implement recruitment analytics, recorded video assessment platforms, where you can craft questions based on positions that are open - these special platforms can be used in case the TA department runs into governance or legal issue. It also helps recruiter automate most of their relevant but mundane tasks.
An interview shouldn't be a prologue to a huge fictitious novel where none of the characters are vouched for, it should provide insights to the charisma, skills, knowledge and instincts that the candidates possess to reap better collaborative workmanship from them.