Expert Commentary

To Hire Quickly, Follow a Scientific Interview Process

Think about the last time you needed to make a quick hiring decision. Did you stick to your hiring principles or rely on the most impressive job interview? There is considerable risk in making a hire based on an unscientific process.


Employee Hiring, Development, and Retention
March 2019

Consider this statistic from a recent report on the cost of a bad hire by the National Business Research Institute (NBRI):

The number one reason—43 percent—why companies made a bad hire was because they needed to fill a job quickly.

How can your company avoid this result and increase the likelihood of hiring the best fit for your next opening? The answer is building a structured hiring process that helps you stick to your guidelines, even when you need to make a quick hiring decision.

  • Step 1—Have candidates complete an assessment based on the science of axiology.
  • Step 2—Use the assessment results as a guide to creating questions for a behavioral interview.
  • Step 3—During the interview, use an applicant appraisal form to capture measurable information about each candidate.
  • Step 4—Check references to gather reliable information about each candidate.

Pairing together the assessment and behavioral interview will help identify the sources of a candidate's thinking. This allows the unlocking of measurable information about a candidate's core motivators to compare to the benchmarks for success in the role being applied for.

Let the Assessment Guide the Interview Structure

The first step in the process is implementing an assessment based on the science of axiology. This measurement tool will provide an objective view of each candidate's thinking patterns to predict their behavior in your company.

This scientific assessment goes beyond a basic personality test to measure core motivators that can only be unlocked through an assessment based on axiology. Once the results from the assessment are obtained, use the data to create targeted behavioral interview questions.

Why Is a Behavioral Interview Important?

When trying to make a quick hiring decision, it's easy to cut corners by asking basic interview questions based on hypothetical scenarios. Comparatively, a behavioral interview is structured and eliminates the subjectivity found in typical interview settings.

For example, if you need to objectively measure empathy because this trait is essential for the role you are hiring, the following are two different approaches that yield very different results.

  • Typical interview question—Do you believe that you are an empathetic person?
  • Behavioral interview question—Tell me about a time when empathy was required in a previous role? What was the situation? What was required of you? What action did you take? What was the result of this situation?

It's not just the depth of the question that is important in this comparison. It is moving from a hypothetical, subjective question to a line of questioning centered on a real situation that required real action and contained real results. This is referred to as the STAR method.

In a behavioral interview, the interviewer should structure each set of questions to identify the situation, task, action, and results that relate to a specific event from the candidate's experience and record this information on the applicant appraisal form.

The candidate's answers to the behavioral interview questions will help confirm or question the results from the assessment. This process allows you to unlock past behavior about the candidate to predict future results in a similar context in your company.

The result is forming a more accurate picture of the individual's core motivators to compare to the benchmarks for success to make a more informed hiring decision.

Unfortunately, many companies lose sight of the process when needing to make a quick hiring decision. That is why it is vital to establish the process, reinforce it to build consistency, and ensure buy-in from individuals who have a role in the interview process.

Five Reasons Your Company Needs Universal Buy-in

Once the process is established, provide employees with training to conduct proper behavioral interviews. There are too many examples of companies placing individuals in charge of the interview process who were not properly trained, leading to rogue hiring decisions that cost the company and create unwanted turnovers.

Following are five important reasons why it is important that everyone involved understands how the process works.

Liability—Multiple hiring practices within the same company put the firm at risk of employee liability. This can be caused by interviewers going rogue or asking questions that do not fall within the outlined structure, such as hypothetical or personal questions.

It's a skill—A proper interview is a skill that needs to be nurtured and developed, just like leading people. When an individual involved in the hiring process understands the importance of developing proper interview techniques, it will lead to more successful hiring decisions.

Equal treatment—A standardized interview process treats all candidates equally. This prevents situations such as a manager guiding a person they want to be hired through the interview process to ensure that he or she is hired.

Message—An inconsistent interview sends a bad message about the hiring company or brand. A candidate is not only a potential future employee but also a potential future customer. A negative experience could impact their future buying decisions, negatively affecting revenue.

Accountability—Finally, this process ensures accountability in the hiring process. You can review the documented answers on the application appraisal form, match up the answers with the assessment results, and determine whether the best fit was hired. If there is a mismatch, then you can locate the source of inconsistency in the hiring process and hold individuals accountable.

Get Results through this Scientific Approach

It is important to build the structure of an assessment and behavioral interview into the hiring process. This way, when you do need to make a quick hiring decision, your team does not panic and make a rash hiring decision. Instead, your team will be equipped to act swiftly but still operate within the framework built on scientific evidence-gathering to understand the thinking patterns of each individual candidate you are considering for the role.


Opinions expressed in Expert Commentary articles are those of the author and are not necessarily held by the author's employer or IRMI. Expert Commentary articles and other IRMI Online content do not purport to provide legal, accounting, or other professional advice or opinion. If such advice is needed, consult with your attorney, accountant, or other qualified adviser.

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