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The job interview: Why it doesn't work well. Published in "Business Guide" 19(1), 33

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  • Mathematics


In the last issue, I talked about how the job interview does not work The interview virus: Are you vaccinated? In the last issue, I talked about how the most used selection too (i.e., the typical job interview) does not work well. Apart from the statistical challenge of evaluating any selection method, let me lay out to you why the typical, spontaneous (i.e., unstructured interview) leaves much to be desired: the unstructured interview creates a “self-fulfilling prophecy.” The “prophecy” explains the phenomenon that an expectation of an event—particularly regarding how a person is expected to act—increases the likelihood of its occurrence, because the prophet acts in ways that makes the event happen or processes information in a way that is consistent with the expectation. In what way is the self-fulfilling prophecy linked to the unstructured interview? Because the interviewers are not obliged to follow a standardized script that is used with all interviewees, interviewers are free to vary the questions asked, thus creating conditions to confirm expectations (by eliciting the response they wish to obtain or "conveniently" forget or not pay attention to things they go against the interviewer's expectations). This expectation is created because of a common mistake that is made in employee selection: the individual(s) who screens the candidates is same individual(s) who interviews the candidate and who makes the final hiring decision about the candidate. The interviewer who has seen the candidate’s application material (e.g., application letter, photo, C.V., recommendation letters) or has been given information about the candidate (e.g., boss’s opinion or recommendation of the candidate) creates an implicit expectation. The expectation includes the traits and characteristics of the individual (e.g., associated with gender, appearances, age, etc.), how they expect them to behave, their capabilities and potential, and so forth. The traits or characteristics that

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