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Structured and unstructured selection interviews: beyond the job-fit model

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Abstract

ABSTRAO Unstructured, intuitive processes still appear to dominate HRM practices, despite the evidence in favor of more structured, rational approaches. The present paper is concerned with one example of this: the continued dominance of unstructured interviews in employee selection. Through structuring interview procedures, biases in information gathering, judgment, and decision making can be reduced and the reliability and validity of interviewer judgments improved. Despite the empirical support for the use of a structured interview process, organizations continue to rely primarily on unstructured interviews. The present paper proposes that the dominance of unstructured interviews can be attributed to the interviewer's attempts to achieve personal satisfaction, attain a good fit of employees to the job context, acquire and maintain power, make just decisions, and communicate the values of the organization. It is also suggested that a broader perspective is needed in the research and theory on employee selection that encompasses other functions of the selection process in addition to hiring the best person for the job.
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... Interviews are one of the most used hiring assessments given to job applicants, and interviews are especially predictive of job performance when those interviews are structured (e.g., Huffcutt & Arthur, 1994;McDaniel et al., 1994;Sacket et al., 2021;Schmidt & Hunter, 1998). However, despite the benefits of interview structure such as asking the same questions and evaluating all applicants consistently, unstructured or semistructured interviews are still commonly used in practice (Chapman & Zweig, 2005;Dipboye, 1992;1994;Huffcutt & Arthur, 1994;Levashina et al., 2014;Lievens & De Paepe, 2004;Ryan et al., 1999;Tsai et al., 2016;Van der Zee et al., 2002). Although unstructured interviews might allow for easier rapport building and interpersonal exchanges, the use of unstructured interviews is concerning for selection-oriented interviews because they have lower validity than interviews that are structured (Sackett et al., 2021). ...
... The social exposure route was based on diverse literature that addresses motives beyond job relevance and incorporates social and experience factors that might drive question preferences (Harmon-Jones & Allen, 2001;Harris & Eder, 1999;Highhouse et al., 2019;Honer et al., 2007;Lee, 2001;Lievens & De Paepe, 2004;Roulin et al., 2019;Rynes, 1989;Tversky & Kahneman, 1973;Wright et al., 2012;Zhang, 2021). Each route was also inspired by broader interview commentary (e.g., Dipboye, 1994;Harris & Eder, 1999;Rynes, 1989) and by personal experience discussing interviews with recruiters and hiring managers (i.e., inductively). We discuss each route in the following sections, though as seen in Figure 1, there is a reciprocal path between the two routes, such that the factors discussed may not always be orthogonally relegated to just one path and instead might operate along both decision routes. ...
... Most research on interview design has taken a job relevance perspective, assuming that interviewers are driven to develop interviews equipped to most accurately assess applicants. However, interviewers may not always be motivated by accurate assessment (e.g., Dipboye, 1994). In many cases, interviewer goals may be more oriented toward recruitment (Harris & Eder, 1999;Rynes, 1989), to be consistent with perceived prototypical interviews, or to fulfill other interviewer motives. ...
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This study expands upon interview research by developing a tentative model to explain interview question preferences. The Model of Interviewer Question Preferences highlights interviewer factors that occur along two paths: job relevance factors that lead to the identification of questions that accurately differentiate applicants in terms of hireability, and social and past experience factors affecting interview preferences more broadly. We tested this tentative model using a prolific sample of 186 respondents who had prior experience conducting interviews. When combining both the job relevance path and social exposure path, nearly 48% of the variance in preference for interview questions was explained. Factors such as question job relevance and question exposure were highly related to question preference. Most generally, results suggest that people prefer to ask questions they are familiar with and think are job relevant. Individual differences in question preferences are likely to impact the quality of the interview. Individual differences in question preferences are likely to impact the quality of the interview. Recent research has found people differ in their ability to identify good interview questions and that interviewers prefer different types of interview questions. Recent research has found people differ in their ability to identify good interview questions and that interviewers prefer different types of interview questions. We propose that question preference is dictated by two decision routes. The first route accounts for interviewer preferences for job‐related questions that allow interviewers to uncover information about job‐relevant traits (i.e., to evaluate job applicants). The second path is an exposure and social preferences route that considers how exposure to interview content and social preferences influence question selection. We propose that question preference is dictated by two decision routes. The first route accounts for interviewer preferences for job‐related questions that allow interviewers to uncover information about job‐relevant traits (i.e., to evaluate job applicants). The second path is an exposure and social preferences route that considers how exposure to interview content and social preferences influence question selection. We found that people prefer to ask questions they are familiar with and are job relevant. Like past research, people with higher general mental ability were more likely to identify job relevant interview questions. Past interviewer experience was also related to effective interview design. We found that people prefer to ask questions they are familiar with and are job relevant. Like past research, people with higher general mental ability were more likely to identify job relevant interview questions. Past interviewer experience was also related to effective interview design.
... There is typically neither a fixed format nor a set of questions to be answered, and evaluation of the questions has no evaluation criteria outside a global judgment of hirability. The unstructured interview has consistently displayed lower reliability and validity than the structured interview, but is still used and preferred by hiring managers (Dipboye, 1994(Dipboye, , 1997Lievens & de Paepe, 2004). Additionally, unstructured interviews are prone to intuitive "gut" decision making where interviewers will rely on irrelevant criteria such as attractiveness to gauge candidate quality (Dose et al., 2019;Palmer & Peterson, 2021). ...
... For example, the structured interview can provide a question bank for interviewers to select from at their discretion if they wish to examine a jobrelated category more closely. Structured interviews can achieve superior outcomes such as improved decision-making, improved employee performance after the hiring decision, and less turnover than is the case with unstructured interviews Dipboye, 1994;Levashina et al., 2014). ...
... Structured interviews also offer excellent incremental validity, or additional predictive power, to selection procedures that use cognitive ability as a lone predictor of job performance (Campion et al., 1994Cortina et al., 2000;Dipboye, 1994;Schmidt et al., 2016). In a recent meta-analytic review by Schmidt et al. (2016) where they examined 100 years of research in personnel psychology, they found that behind tests of general mental ability and integrity tests (mean validity of .78), ...
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Despite the numerous benefits structured interviews offer, prior research and literature has shown that hiring professionals are inclined to use unstructured interviews over structured interviews. While unstructured interviews are convenient, they pose several severe limitations when compared to structured interviews. Namely, unstructured interviews can result in adverse legal outcomes, significantly worse predictive validity, and difficulty in comparing applicants. Our research examines if three variables: Interviewer conventional personality, interviewer training, and recording improve the acceptance and use of structured interviews. Our study included 171 hiring managers from the SIOP user directory, SIUE alumni from the I/O psychology program, Human Resource managers from the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), and managers recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk). Our survey found that interviewer training helped improve acceptance and content standardization of the interview. Neither interviewer conventional personality nor recording of the interview improved structured interview acceptance or use. However, our results did find that structured interviews are used more often than previously thought and that recording was used by a third of respondents to compare applicants or for legal defense. We found marginal support that interviewers who recorded their interviews reported using lower content standardization. Given our findings, we recommend that interviewer training be used to improve structured interview acceptance and use above and beyond recording.
... Adicionalmente, las entrevistas estructuradas se basan en análisis de puestos de trabajo y pueden ser: (a) conductuales, con un foco en conductas pasadas (Janz, 1982;Salgado y Moscoso, 2001 o (b) situacionales, con un foco en situaciones hipotéticas (Chapman y Zweig, 2005;Latham y Saari, 1984;Latham y Sue-Chan, 1999). Por el contrario, las preguntas en las entrevistas no estructuradas típicamente se basan en las creencias de las personas entrevistadoras, y en ocasiones estas preguntas incluso escapan al ámbito laboral (Dipboye, 1994). Tampoco existe un procedimiento fijo para calificar las respuestas (Chauhan, 2019). ...
... Tercero, ya que son preguntas distintas para distintas personas, es difícil para el entrevistador comparar entre candidatos (van der Zee et al., 2002). Cuarto, las entrevistas no estructuradas hacen que sea más probable que las personas entrevistadoras caigan en sesgos (Dipboye, 1994). Un ejemplo clásico es el sesgo de confirmación, en el que tendemos a percibir estímulos e indagar información que esté de acuerdo a nuestras pre-concepciones. ...
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(Spa) La selección y contratación de personal está dentro de las decisiones más significativas en las organizaciones y la administración de recursos humanos, y la Administración Pública no es la excepción. Uno de los métodos más frecuentes utilizados en los procesos de selección son las entrevistas no estructuradas. En este artículo proponemos que las entrevistas no estructuradas no sólo tienen casi nula validez predictiva del desempeño laboral por encima de otros predictores de selección. Argumentamos que, muchas veces, su uso puede empeorar el proceso de selección de personal. Con esto en mente, en el artículo revisamos la evidencia de las entrevistas no estructuradas, su prevalencia en las organizaciones y las razones de esta prevalencia. También revisamos la evidencia de algunas pruebas psicométricas relevantes, basadas en constructos importantes de la psicología laboral y organizacional. Revisamos los resultados de un estudio empírico en que comparamos cómo las decisiones de directores y profesionales de recursos humanos en organizaciones pueden cambiar en presencia de información de entrevistas no estructuradas. Encontramos que las decisiones basadas en esta información, cuando se presentan en conjunto con información de pruebas psicométricas, son más inexactas y generan al mismo tiempo más confianza, lo que exacerba una ilusión de validez y exceso de confianza. Finalmente, proponemos siete principios fundamentales y prácticos para llevar a cabo entrevistas. En base a esto, concluimos que la entrevista estructurada conductual surge como una alternativa claramente superior para el contexto de la Administración Pública. (Eng) Personnel selection is among the most significant decisions in human resource management and Public Administration is no excepection. One of the most frequent methods used in the selection selection is unstructured interviews. In this article, we propose that unstructured interviews not only have almost zero validity in predicting job performance over psychometric tests. We argue that, many times, their use can worsen the selection process. With this in mind, in this article we first review research regarding unstructured interviews, their prevalence in organizations, and the reasons for this prevalence. We also review research regarding some psychometric tests, based on important constructs from industrial and organizational psychology. We also review the results of a previous empirical study we conducted, in which we compared how the decisions of human resource management directors and professionals in organizations can change in the presence of information from unstructured interviews. We found that decisions based on unstructured interviews, when presented together with information from psychometric tests, are more inaccurate and at the same time generate more confidence, exacerbating an illusion of validity and overconfidence. Finally, we propose seven fundamental and practical principles for conducting interviews. Based on this, we conclude that the structured behavioral interview emerges as a clearly superior alternative in the context of Public Administration.
... Even when a theme is finally picked up, it may still not have an impact in practice. One example of practice becoming so set in its ways that academic evidence arrives too late to change practice is in the area of employee selection, the identification and application of knowledge and skills needed for a job in order to make effective hiring decisions (Dipboye, 1994;Ryan & Tippins, 2004;Schmitt & Chan, 1998;Weyland, 2011). Organizations have used unstructured job interviews to meet their hiring needs for decades, if not centuries, and, for some organizations, this may be the only selection process they use, despite inherent issues such as interviewer bias (Dipboye & Johnson, 2013) or the inability to assess person-organization fit (Cable & Judge, 1997). ...
... As a result, organization members have had little reason to rethink this practice. In the 1970s scholars began to publish large amounts of research pointing to the negative effects of bias and stereotyping on interviewing (refer to Dipboye, 1994 for a summary of this research). Although this and similar research at that time began to show why more behaviorally oriented interviewing techniques, such as structured interviews asking how a candidate acted in prior situations, were necessary to counteract such tendencies (Ployhart et al., 2017), industry has tended to ignore this information in favor of less valid practices (Ryan & Tippins, 2004;. ...
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There is consensus about the existence of an academic–practitioner gap in management studies. However, views diverge about the width of the gap and the possibility to bridge it. By introducing diffusion theory into the debate, this article shows the gap is not static, but widens or closes over time. We reconceptualize the academic–practitioner gap as consisting of two different diffusion cycles, one in practice and one in academia. Depending on the shape and timing of these cycles, the academic–practitioner gap is either large or small. Our conceptual analysis based on diffusion theory reveals an undiscussed yet important cause of the academic–practitioner gap, namely, divergent diffusion cycles for academia and practice. This analysis also helps to resolve the paradoxes of academic–practitioner interaction which have been suggested in the literature. For practice, this suggests that interventions proposed to bridge the gap may only work at specific points in time.
... Structured and mechanical information collection and combination methods may offer less potential to satisfy these needs than their unstructured and holistic counterparts. For example, structured interviews and mechanical combination may violate autonomy needs because practitioners are bound to pre-defined questions and mechanical rules, which restricts their expression of idiosyncratic preferences (Dipboye, 1994). Similarly, competence needs may be violated if practitioners cannot demonstrate their ability to come up with spontaneous candidate-tailored questions or to detect assumed mechanical rule exceptions and complex predictor interactions (Meehl, 1954b, p. 24). ...
... Future research may investigate whether collection and combination methods designed to predict multiple criteria can increase the use of evidencebased assessment of multiple stakeholders who have different aims for selecting candidates (RQ 4). Given that organizations consider fit important (Dipboye, 1994), experiments that focus on use intentions and predictive accuracy of different collection and combination methods may also, in addition to performance, include fit as an outcome variable. ...
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In personnel- and educational selection, a substantial gap exists between research and practice, since evidence-based assessment instruments and decision-making procedures are underutilized. We provide an overview of studies that investigated interventions to encourage the use of evidence-based assessment methods, or factors related to their use. The most promising studies were grounded in self-determination theory. Training and autonomy in the design of evidence-based assessment methods were positively related to their use, while negative stakeholder perceptions decreased practitioners’ intentions to use evidence-based assessment methods. Use of evidence-based decision-making procedures was positively related to access to such procedures, information to use it, and autonomy over the procedure, but negatively related to receiving outcome feedback. A review of the professional selection literature showed that the implementation of evidence-based assessment was hardly discussed. We conclude with an agenda for future research on encouraging evidence-based assessment practice.
... The interviews were also used to identify emphasized on any possible new constructs, items or concepts from the experts that could improve the development of the model. Apart from this, the focus group also strengthened the clarity and relevancy of each construct as well as the control factors that could affect the research model [22]. ...
... and 29.6%, respectively. A similar study made by Soderlund et al. [22] and Pinghui [23] found that these factors contribute to low carbon construction projects and low carbon energy-saving highways. ...
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