Killer Interview Question: Don’t Have An Interview At All

Killer Interview Question: Don’t Have An Interview At All

The headline is not a typo. One psychologist has pooh-poohed the whole idea of using interviews as a way to assess job candidates. He offers up an alternative. Here’s what you need to know.

According to psychology and business author Ron Friedman, 80% of people lie during interviews and hiring managers often have misconceptions about job candidates based on their appearance. For example, tall candidates are perceived to have greater leadership skills and individuals with deeper voices are seen to be more trustworthy.

These assumptions can influence the questions asked during job interviews. An example of this is a hiring manager asking a seemingly extroverted person: “Tell me about your experience leading groups”. But they may ask an introverted individual: “Are you comfortable leading groups?”

Friedman said:

“Both questions attempt to gauge your potential, but they subtly shape your responses before you’ve said a single word. And in most cases, they do so in a way that confirms my initial impression — which is typically wrong.”

He believes that hiring managers should host a ‘job audition’ (as opposed to an interview) if they want to get a real sense of a job applicant’s abilities by giving them a job-relevant assignment.

“This way your assessment is based on actual performance, not simply how charismatic a candidate is during an interview,” Friedman said.

Here’s our two-cents: Testing applicants to see if they’re good for the job is a great idea; you’re essentially ‘trying before buying’. But face-to-face interviews still have a lot of value, especially if candidates don’t perform as well during the job audition due to nerves. An interview gives an applicant the opportunity to sell themselves and to ask their own questions so they can assess whether they fit into the organisation’s work culture.

What are your thoughts on the efficacy of job interviews? Let us know in the comments.



  • Just a note- if you are asking people to work for you for a day “as an audition”, they should be paid for their time.

    • Might not be to that degree. I had an interview once that was basically a ‘try before you buy’ type setup, where I was given a scenario, a time to come up with a plan, then 20 minutes to present it. No questions, just putting me on the spot on how I would do something relevant to the job.

      Happily I’d done what they were asking me about two or three times in 18 months, so it wasnt hard to present something, but it certainly wasnt a basic question and answer interview, outside a couple of clarifiers when I was done.

  • Interviews should not be meandering chats, but use a set of questions, written down, that seek responses of candidates to job capability behaviours. Add to that evidence of work capability (e.g. a report you’ve prepared, if that is the type of job being recruited for), and intelligent questions of referees, not just ‘what do you think of Jill?’ type openings. And you are on the way. Kooky questions will only get kooky and unhelpful responses.

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