Employers stick to gut reaction during interview process

Employers
are looking to recruit people they like rather than the people with the best
skills for the job, a Recruitment Confidence Index special report has found.

The
research into selection interviewing techniques among 1,200 employers found
that more than one in five still use gut reaction as the basis for their
selection decisions.

“It’s
called the ‘I know one when I see one’ approach to job interviewing,” said
Colin Mercer, director of assessment and development with HR consultancy Wickland
Westcott, who sponsored the research.

“It
leads to decisions based on personal bias or erroneous ideas about how people
will perform in a role. There are a few rare people who are good at intuitive
interviewing, but mostly it leads to expensive mistakes.”

Commenting
on the findings, Shaun Tyson, professor of HR at Cranfield School of
Management, who produce the RCI, said: “People tend to underestimate the
difficulty of undertaking a good selection interview and the need for training
or specialist input is often not appreciated.

“This
is especially so for more senior staff, who often believe these skills are
automatically given to them. They think of selection interviewing as a
low-level skill for which they don’t need any training. Everyone needs some
regular coaching and plenty of practice.”

Other
findings include:


More than half of employers believe their selection interviewing is of a high
quality. And only one in 20 rates it as poor.


Nearly one in three employers still use unstructured interviews to select or
promote staff to senior jobs. But nearly two in three now use competency-based
interviews to assess a candidate’s ability.


It takes an average of eight-and-a-half weeks to recruit senior managers, from
placing an advertisement to making a decision. The average senior management
interview takes two hours and 40 minutes.


More than one in three employers offer no formal training for selection
interviewers.


More than four in 10 still believe that technical knowledge is more important
than leadership skills when recruiting senior managers.


Almost half of employers say it has become harder to recruit to senior jobs
over the past five years.

By Quentin Reade

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