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Competencies Interviewing

Webinar Recap: How to Build a Better Interview Process

By Onyeka Ndukwe on July, 3 2019
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Onyeka Ndukwe

In June 2019, Sarah Beckett (HRSG’s VP of Marketing) and Ian Wayne (HRSG's Chief Product Officer) hosted our webinar on how you can build a better interview process.

For this blog post, we will be mentioning some of the key insights and takeaways from this webinar.

If you want to watch the webinar yourself, you can do so by clicking this link.


Article table of contents (jump to a section):

1. What is a structured interview process?
2. What are two key components you need when creating an effective interview process?
3. What can negatively influence the decision of an interviewer?
4. Example of general (unrelated) influence
5. How can I improve my current interview process?
6. How HRSG can help



Key Insights/Takeaways

What is a structured interview process? 

One of the key parts of having a structured interview involves utilizing questions that are related to the knowledge, skills and abilities required for the job position. 

There are two kinds of structured interview questions: behavioral and situational. 

When it comes to behavioral interview questions, we are asking about prior achievements or experience. They usually start with people asking “tell me about a time you..”. This draws on the candidate’s experience with the idea that prior experience is a good indicator of future behavior and performance. 

Situational interview questions often focus more on a specific scenario/case where the details of said scenario can reveal the candidate’s skills and thought process (related to the job in question). Here’s an example of a situational interview question: “Tell us about a situation where you had to solve a problem weighing the advantages and disadvantages of a number of options”. 

One of the key values of structured interview questions is that they often tie back to competencies and that is one of our core strengths here as HRSG. 

Structured interview questions, in general, also have the advantage of being perceived as fair by candidates so they have a positive experience with behavioral and situational questions.


What are two key components you need when creating an effective interview process?

Since interviews involve assessing individuals on their ability to perform the job in question, this process requires both humility (the human element) and science (the data-oriented element).

In this context, humility phrased as understanding the limitations of an interviewer to give an objective assessment of a candidate as biases and other factors can influence their selection.

Thankfully, lots of research has been conducted (from a scientific perspective) to clearly show the benefits of using a structured interview process.


What can negatively influence the decision of an interviewer?

Unconscious biases and general influences are factors that can have a direct impact on the outcome of an interview.

Lots of survey results have shown us that people make very snappy judgments (For good or bad. Take your pick).

Studies have shown that people who are good looking tend to be evaluated as more competent or intelligent and qualified people who are taller tend to be evaluated as having more leadership skills. Also, people who speak with a deeper or lower pitched voice are viewed as possessing greater strength integrity and trustworthiness.

One influence that has a significant impact in our workforce today is the similarity between the interviewer and the interviewee. This can have lots of implications on diversity and inclusiveness within an organization. Listed below are some of the unconscious biases and general (unrelated) influences.

a list of biases and influences that can negatively affect the decisions of interviewers


At the end of the day, we're really looking to see who can perform well at the job in question. In a bid to achieve this, some interviewers subconsciously default to these biases or influences and might miss out on outstanding candidates.


Example of general (unrelated) influence

Experiment: Viewers are shown two versions of a video of a person being interviewed. In the 1st version, the candidate goes through a regular interview. In the 2nd version, the candidate spills coffee on themselves at the start of the interview.

Results: Most of the viewers who saw the 1st version said that the candidate was qualified to do the job. Most of the viewers for 2nd version said that the candidate was not qualified.

The spilt coffee was the only thing that was different between the two versions of the video and that affected people's judgment about the candidate's ability to do the job and to be qualified for the job.

And what's more, when they asked people afterwards about what influenced their decision, nobody mentioned the spilt coffee. 


How can I improve my current interview process? 

You can do this by bringing an element of structure into your interviews. There's lots of different ways that you can improve your current process including the use of job-related questions, training your interviewers, using a standard evaluation and taking notes during interviews. 

The focus should be on bringing a consistent approach to your interview process, one that is thought out in advance and given a consistent way of evaluating the interview after the fact as well. 

Once you've got those things in place, you’re one step closer to improving the reliability and validity of the interview itself as well as having a better outcome at the end of the interview. 


How HRSG can help

Are your organization's interviews unstructured? Do they lack consistency from one department to the next? If so, you may want to consider solutions to help get things aligned.

Here’s how CompetencyCore, our competency based interview software, can help your organization (see below):

  • Access our bank of approximately 2,000 interview questions available with 5 level competencies attached to each question.
  • Easy to create, printable interview guides based on selected interview questions.
  • 2-3 interview questions per competency level (probes included)
  • Rating scale + summary rating sheet.


Post last updated: June 25, 2020.