Are Job Interviews a Waste of Time?
An interview is a conversation that happens between a job seeker and an interview panel of one or more people. The interviewer(s) asks questions and the interviewee answers them. The goal of the interview process is to find out more about the applicant and their skills in order to make a decision about whether or not they are qualified for the position and the best applicant among the people who applied for the job.
There are many benefits of job interviews. Some of them include:
- It gives both parties an opportunity to show their best selves
- It allows applicants to show their skills
- It allows employers to see how applicants react in pressure situations
But there are some negative elements to the traditional job interview method. In this article, we’ll take a look at them and consider whether job interviews are a waste of time.
Why do we need job interviews?
Historically, job interviews have always been seen as a crucial part of the hiring process. They are an opportunity for potential employers to assess a candidate’s suitability for the position, and also an opportunity for candidates to assess whether or not they want to work for that company.
For companies, the job interview process is an opportunity to meet with several candidates for a job and pick from the best available talent that has applied.
By meeting with candidates they can establish if the person has the right skills and experience but also if they feel this person is a right cultural fit for the business and whether this is someone likely to stay around in the role for a fair amount of time.
The recruitment process for a business can be costly and losing staff can be detrimental to the operations of a business. They want to ensure that they are making a job offer to someone they feel confident can do the job as required.
For employees, a job interview provides an opportunity to discover the answers to questions that weren’t answered in the job advert. It is an opportunity to meet your potential future bosses and get a feel for the company culture, location and working conditions. Here you have the opportunity to reject a place of work before committing to them.
While job interviews serve a purpose, they are not the only possible method of assessing a candidate. Some people simply struggle with the stress of the job interview situation and struggle to put themselves across well. But that isn’t to say they aren’t knowledgeable and without skills.
For these people, they might argue that an activity-based assessment could be a more accurate way for them to demonstrate their suitability for a job role.
Why job interviews are good
Job interviews are an efficient way for a business to get to know the people who are applying for the job. It is a chance for the employer to find out more about them and their personalities.
By conducting a standard interview process a business can arrange several interviews in a single day and identify the best candidate after having all applicants go through the same standardised interview process, answering the same set of questions.
For job hunters, the job interview process is one that can be prepared for.
Check our articles:
The Ultimate Guide On How To Prepare For A Job Interview
13 Top Job Interview Tips – The Definitive Guide
By knowing the answers to give to the most commonly asked questions and knowing the inside and out of your resume, candidates can prepare very well for anything a job interview might throw at them.
Why job interviews are bad
The idea that job interviews are a waste of time is not new. In a 2017 New York Times article titled The Utter Uselessness of Job Interviews, Jason Dana, an assistant professor of management and marketing at the Yale School of Management brands the conventional job interview as “useless”.
Job interviews can be a bad experience for both the interviewee and interviewer. For the job seeker, the process of applying for a job and interviewing can be costly in terms of time and money.
Job interviews are a stressful experience for many people. They can be nerve-wracking, and they can cause a lot of anxiety. It is not uncommon for people to feel like they are being judged, or that they are not good enough.
There are many reasons why job interviews cause stress. Some of the most common reasons include feeling like you have to prove yourself, feeling like you have to answer every question perfectly, and feeling like your interviewer is judging you.
Job interviews can also be a bad or negative experience for the hiring company. They have to take time out of their work schedule, prepare the questions, organise and conduct the interviews and then evaluate each candidate based on a conversation that might only have lasted an hour or less. They will also be expected to provide feedback to the candidates they interviewed plus deal with any recruitment agencies they’ve worked with.
As much as a lack of preparation and poor answers from a candidate can ruin a job interview, there are also mistakes made by the employer that can ruin the experience.
Not understanding the requirements – this error can lead to hunting for the wrong qualities or skills, interviewing the wrong candidates and resulting in no suitable candidates or ones that do not hang around long in the job.
Poor interviewing skills – when we think about job interview performance we almost always think about it from the candidate’s perspective, but not the interviewer’s.
Proper interview training is often overlooked and managers with a limited interview giving experience are put in positions to evaluate candidates when they themselves don’t fully understand what to evaluate. This can lead to a poor interview experience, leading to a low-quality hire, which can cost the company thousands of dollars
Benefits of Not Using the Traditional Job Interview Process
The traditional job interview is not the only way to assess a candidate’s skills and abilities. In fact, many companies have already abandoned it in favour of more creative, engaging ways of getting to know a candidate.
One criticism of the classic style of job interview is that it makes it hard to truly assess someone’s skills and abilities from across a table during a limited time conversation. It is possible for candidates to lie or exaggerate their abilities in order to secure a job offer. Even though they might not be the best person for the job, just the person who can sell themselves the best.
As opposed to a question and answer session across a table, many people suggest that an activity-based assessment or trial period of work are better ways to truly assess whether someone is capable of doing a job.
An activity-based assessment such as creating a presentation or developing solutions to a scenario of obstacles faced in the job role could give a clearer understanding of what the candidate knows about the job role, the industry and how to succeed in the role.
It will also open up for a range of specific job-related questions from the interviewers to help truly establish the candidate’s knowledge.
The impact of opting for more engaging ways of job recruitment such as this includes:
Hiring quality – employers can have more confidence they are picking someone for the job that can demonstrate knowledge, competent abilities or enthusiasm to succeed in the role.
Job retention – by selecting the right candidate and by having an upfront approach to what the job entails, employers can be more confident that the people they employ are more likely to be happy in the job roles as they are more clear about what the job entails before accepting the job.
Skills development – by taking on a job hiring process that reflects more on the job itself and its requirements, employers can identify certain skills gaps in their candidates and use them to improve their own business and provide relevant training to staff.