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Common Staffing Selection Methods: Definitions, Interview Types, Pros & Cons

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  • 0:01 Interviews - General Framework
  • 0:30 Types of Interviews
  • 2:46 Methods of Interviewing
  • 3:32 Pitfalls
  • 4:57 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley
Most companies rely on interviewing potential employees as part of the selection process. In this lesson, you'll learn about different types of interviews utilized by companies. We'll also cover some of the major pitfalls in using them.

Interviews - General Framework

Christine is a human resource specialist for a tech company. She's been asked by the vice president of the human resources department to review and revise the department's interviewing protocols. This task is very important, as interviewing is a key method the company utilizes in the selection of employees.

In overhauling the company's interviewing approach, Christine needs to consider the types of interviewing approaches available as well as the method of conducting the interviews. Let's look at her options.

Types of Interviews

Christine can choose from three general types of interviews.

An unstructured interview is an interview where the interviewer asks open-ended questions. An open-ended question is a question where the answer choices are not provided, so not like a question that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Instead, the answer is provided in the interviewee's own words. Some question examples include:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Explain your educational background.
  • What type of experience do you have?

This method holds the promise of obtaining a great deal of information given the free-flowing conversation. However, it is also time consuming. Additionally, it's hard to make comparisons between applicants because different types of information are provided. Moreover, it opens the company up to allegations of discrimination if the questions prompt the discussion of information that is not permitted in hiring decisions, such as issues of race, gender and religion.

A structured interview involves asking all applicants the same series of questions in the same order. Since everyone gets the same questions in the same order, it's easier to make comparisons, and the chance of bias is reduced. You can generally break structured interview questions down into four categories:

  • Christine can ask situational questions that ask the applicant to describe how she would resolve a situation concerning a problem or conflict. For example, 'How would you handle a rude and abusive customer?'
  • Job-knowledge questions confirm that an applicant has the knowledge and skills necessary to do the job. For example, 'What type of statistical programs have you used?'
  • Job-sample simulation questions, which involve asking an applicant a question about performing a work task, are also an option for Christine. For example, 'How do you commence a sales call?'
  • Work requirement questions can be used to determine if an applicant will comply with specific job requirements. For example, a sales applicant may be asked whether he is willing to make 50 cold calls a day.

A behavioral interview is a special type of structured interview where the focus is on asking job applicants to relate their past experience to the job being sought. For example, an applicant for president of a struggling business may be asked to relate his past experience in turning around a failing company.

Methods of Interviewing

Christine has three general options in conducting interviews.

  • A one-on-one interview is an interview conducted by one interviewer.

  • A group interview is an interview conducted by one or more interviewers with more than one applicant being interviewed at the same time. This approach can save time and also allows the company to assess each applicant's interpersonal skills.

  • A panel interview is an interview where more than one interviewer interviews an applicant at the same time.

  • Multiple interviews are sometimes undertaken where an applicant may be interviewed by company representatives who would be peers, subordinates and superiors to the applicant if hired. This approach can give both the company and the applicant a broader perspective of the fit between the company and the applicant.

Interviewing Pitfalls

Christine must also be cautious of common problems facing effective interviewing. It's important to ask only job-related questions. In fact, some non-job related questions may lead to charges of discrimination, such as asking about religion, disabilities, family life, having children and race. These risks are higher in unstructured interviews where the questions are more open-ended and the conversation more free-flowing.

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