Are Interviews a Good Predictor of Job Performance

Most companies still use face-to-face interviews as a hiring tool. But surprisingly, many experts agree that an interview is an outdated tool that is not an accurate predictor of job performance. Applying for a job can be stressful, from writing the perfect resume to preparing for the dreaded interview.

Let’s take a closer look at what psychologists and other experts have to say about interviews and possible alternatives that employers can use when hiring candidates for positions in their company.

What the Experts have to Say

Psychologists around the world have come together to share their views on the negative aspects of interviews, with many calling for companies to put an end to these outdated practices. Richard Nisbett, a professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan, has gone so far as to say that interviews do not predict job performance.

While an in-person interview is a great way to meet possible candidates, interviews tell employers what they want to hear and give very little information about actual skills. But it seems that no matter what the experts say, job interviews are here to stay, and it is up to candidates to convince their future employers why they are the best person for the job.

The Cons of Interviews

Interviews have and most likely will always be a part of the hiring process, with a focus on the candidate’s skills and the expectation that an interview can accurately predict the possible job performance of that candidate. Along with Prof. Nisbett, psychologists agree that interviews are not the best way forward.

Here are a few more reasons why interviews are not good predictors of job performance:

  • An interview only tells the interviewer what they want to hear.
  • Most questions asked in an interview, like “Why do you think you are the best for the job?” are antiquated and baseless.
  • Valuable information about the skills and achievements a candidate has are not conveyed in an interview.
  • References provided on a resume are always positive and can rarely be used as a way to judge how a candidate will perform on the job.

Alternatives to Interviews: What should employers be doing?

There are many ways to determine a person’s skills and if they will perform well in a certain position at their job. The interview is no longer considered an effective tool in the hiring process, and experts are calling for alternatives to this outdated practice. But what other methods are available for companies who are hiring new candidates? And are these methods effective in predicting future job performance?

These are alternative methods that companies can use to predict job performance when hiring new candidates.

#1: Real “on the job” situations

Placing candidates in a real situation and asking them to solve a specific issue can identify their ability to perform the job, identify their strengths, and most importantly, show how they adapt to stressful situations.

#2: Skills tests

Market research companies use skills-based tests to determine a candidate’s ability and knowledge to perform a particular task. Candidates are given data to read and are required to provide recommendations on how the company can improve its market share, visibility, and even how to best focus its advertising efforts. Skills tests are a great predictor of job performance.

#3: Web-based tests

The Covid-19 pandemic hit hard in 2020 and brought about many changes in the working environment. With lockdowns enforced in countries worldwide, companies had to shift their operations, and employees were required to work remotely from home. This caused much uncertainty in organizations, and many were sure that remote working would affect productivity.

But, remote working has had a massive increase in productivity, and more companies are offering remote working options to employees. This has also affected how companies hire people, with web-based tests and Zoom calls replacing the need for in-person interviews.

Young woman signing contracts and handshake with a manager

How to Prepare for an Interview

Sadly, it seems that for many companies, the practice of face-to-face and in-person interviews is here to stay. Making a good first impression is most important, and many interviewers make that decision in the first few minutes of an interview.

Here are a few things that interviewers typically look for when interviewing potential candidates for a role at their company:

Preparation

Preparing for an interview is important. Spend some time putting together any documents that you think might be useful. A portfolio of your work, references, and a notepad and pen show a potential employer that you value what they say and have prepared for an interview.

Confidence

Being assertive shows confidence. A fine line exists between being arrogant and being confident. Showing your assertiveness when answering an interviewer’s questions generally indicates that you are confident in your abilities.

Passion

One of the most creative ways to show your passion is by displaying enthusiasm about your skills and achievements. Use an interview as a time to highlight the specific skill set that makes you the best person for the role in the company. Also, talk about your ambitions and career plans.

Leadership

Interviewers love candidates who show their leadership skills. Highlight yours by providing an example of a time when you took charge of a situation or project and what the outcomes were. Leadership is one of the best skills to have, and displaying leadership qualities can influence how interviewers predict your job performance will be.

While these are the most important, there are other factors that can influence your success in landing a job. They are:

  • Body language
  • Curiosity
  • Knowledge of the company and its operations
  • Likeability
  • Personality

Conclusion

While experts agree that interviews are not a good predictor of job performance, many companies disagree and still use this outdated practice during their hiring process. With much of the world now offering remote-working possibilities, there is hope that in-person interviews will soon be replaced with web-based tests, with the focus solely on your skills. Until such time, you can use our tips on how to best prepare for an interview by reading more about what interviewers look for in a candidate.

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