The Future of Work: Working out robust interviewing techniques


In order to attract and hire the best talent for the organization, it is necessary for companies to work out a robust interviewing technique – a method that actually evaluates the candidates’ suitability for the assignment or job.

Research and experience tell us that the basic face-to-face job interview is fairly ineffectual with respect to identifying and selecting the right employee for your company. Most interviewers ask mundane, unrelated questions or indulge in small talk – neither of which gives you any clue as to whether the person being interviewed is right for the job or not.

Opinion of the interviewee based on instinct

A lot of interviewers have what is called confirmation bias – they usually form an opinion of the interviewee based on instinct, or their first impression, even before asking any questions. They could reject a candidate subconsciously  based on their reaction to the person’s looks, style of dressing, type of greeting (handshake / saying namaste or wishing them ) – and all their questions are then directed at finding the person unsuitable. The opposite of this – the halo effect – occurs when the interviewer likes the candidate at first glance: all questions are then designed to select that person, whatever happens.

It has also been seen that the order in which prospective employees are interviewed also influences the interviewers’ decision. This kind of unstructured interviewing is subjective, biased and pretty unfair. It also adds to costs since unsuitable employees have to trained and retrained or even asked to go thus creating a need to recruit all over again. Anyway it is never easy to transform a below par worker into a contributing member of the team.

Technique that is free from bias

In order to select the right candidate it is necessary to have a robust interviewing technique that is free from bias, that is objective and which actually evaluates and assesses whether the candidate is suitable or not for the job in question.  Experience and science indicate that a structured format for the interview is a far better tool for appraising anyone’s capabilities and aptness for the job. The future or work depends on getting the best talent for the organization and a structured approach is bound to give better results.

The following steps usually work for structured interviews:

  • Before the interview, discuss and decide with your team what attributes and capabilities you are looking for in the prospective employee. Prioritize these in order of importance – it will help when deciding between candidates.
  • Draft questions that allow the candidates to demonstrate their thought process; include a mix of behavioral and hypothetical prompts
  • Develop follow-up questions for initial opening questions to get candidates to answer in greater detail – this is to understand how they analyze and approach problems.
  • Design a grading system – list attributes with examples of poor, average, good, excellent responses and judge candidate’s performance against this grading.

While it is true that asking every candidate the same exact interview questions can feel repetitive, but the benefits of structured interviews are clear. Everybody is judged on the same parameters and so it is easier to do a comparative evaluation. This method allows you to identify the best candidates, and it also ensures that they will perform at their best once they do join your team.