Most interviews are a waste of time. According to Adam Grant, a professor of Organizational Behavior at Wharton, “standard interviews only accounted for 8% of the differences in performance and productivity.” The typical interview fails to predict performance accurately because it is subject to interviewer biases and candidate biases, and fails to compare the candidates with a consistent rubric.
In a talent market as competitive as today’s, startups who can more accurately assess candidates’ future performance will create a tremendous recruiting efficiency and ultimately execution advantage. Though no interview system will predict future performance flawlessly, structured interviews are three times more predictive than unstructured interviews.
In short, a structured interview process consists of three things: first, the characteristics of the ideal candidate are established at the outset; second, a team creates the questions used to establish whether a candidate embodies those characteristics ahead of the process; three, the interviewing team scores each candidate on a numerical score.
When I interviewed PMs at Google, we used a very structured interview process. These are the core features of Google’s process at the time:
Every company will develop its own hiring practices. But the research on employing structured interviews with situational judgement questions is a compelling argument to reconsider the traditional unstructured interview.
1 There are many ways to implement Situational Judgement Questions. Research shows they can be delivered online or asked as a multiple choice quiz, with the same predictive power as in person, which means they can be very effective tools for high volume screening.