Many of us these days are applying to jobs. Hopeful that we will stand out enough on a resume or cover letter that we secure a precious interview. Knowing full well that even though the interview isn’t a guarantee, we want to receive word that we have come across well enough on paper that we will be given a chance at a face-to-face. Giving all this thought into the hiring process has led me to believe that we could be doing this so much better.
Then I stumbled across this video, where a psychologist and organizational consultant is breaking down the ways in which the interview system is not designed to operate its best. He highlights a few general failings, especially as they relate to entry-level jobs. I, however, would add a couple very important others that apply for any position.
Why our Interview System Sucks
First, there is the obvious stress element. In the video he highlights that this can be an especial burden on those with disabilities, are very shy, or who suffer from anxiety. I would add that even traditionally not anxious people can have more heightened levels with this kind of induced pressure. And while some jobs may need to monitor for how one handles stress, he is correct that this isn’t true for many entry-level jobs.
You perform better when you are comfortable. As he says in the video “If you want to assess a candidate’s true potential, see how they function at their best, not their worst.”
Traditionally the environment isn’t designed to be friendly. Anecdotally I know of several stories where interviews have been incredibly friendly and hiring managers have been welcoming and conversational. Nonetheless, if many individuals view interviews as interrogations or tests, we may have an opportunity to improve this expectation.
The process of interview is not representative of a prospective employee’s actual work. The qualities a person possesses that allows them to excel in an interview space is not necessarily indicative of their actual work ethic, ability, or responsibility.
I would add…
Unless this is a position in which you provide a portfolio of your work, interviews are not structured in a way to allow you to showcase your talents.
They are inauthentic. People rehearse their answers and are keen to respond in ways they expect they should. I always think of how ineffectual the questions regarding strengths and weaknesses are, as if all of us haven’t pondered which response to give to that question for the majority of our adult lives.
I think if more companies took the initiative and hired an organizational consultant they could find ways to creatively restructure their hiring process and therefore attract better talent. I also believe that more entry-level jobs should be carefully adjusted to better accommodate folks with disabilities, anxiety disorders, or anyone else capable of performing better by simply adjusting the environment.