Why one of the most used interview questions is unfair and biased

The main objective of job interviews used in personnel selection processes is to gather as much relevant information as possible about each candidate, but doing it reliably is not as easy as it sounds.

Much of the information that investigators need to extract from the interviewee is not expressed directly by the interviewee, but is indirectly inferred from their behavior and what they say.

In this space of ambiguity that exists between what is expressed and what is inferred, there is a lot of room for interpretation, but also for error, and in fact there are reasons to believe that one of the most popular questions in job interviews is fundamentally unnecessary and biasedAs noted by organizational psychologist Adam Grant.

    The unfair question you shouldn’t ask yourself during job interviews

    There is a point in job interviews, when the basic information of each application has already been collected, in which interviewers decide to take it a step further and find out how the interviewee behaves in specific work situations. that can be problematic.

    Usually logistical limitations make this impossible pose in real time a challenge similar to the one you have in the job you chooseSo we try to access this information by an indirect question.

    It starts like this:

    “Tell me what happened on one occasion where in a previous job …”

    And from this approach, you can go for different variations:

    “… he was especially proud of the way he handled conflict.”

    “… I experienced a tense situation with a client and how he resolved the situation.”

    “… he came to think that he no longer had the strength to achieve all the goals set, and what he did about it.”

    Unlike other types of questions, these refer to real-life situations, and the answers should take the form of a story with an approach, a knot, and an outcome.

    The latter, coupled with the fact that they refer to real work situationsThis can lead to think that they provide really relevant information, because in the head and the important thing in a selection process is to know faithfully how someone behaves in the professional field, how he approaches his goals.

    However, Adam Grant points out that this type of mental exercise does more harm than good during the job interview. Let’s see why.

    1. It is unfair to young applicants

    Grant points out that this type of exercise places young candidates in a clear position of inferiority, because although they may be highly qualified and have the theoretical and practical training necessary to do the job, they failed to accumulate a reasonable number of remarkable experiences which can be explained at this stage of the interview. Ultimately, the habit of confusing the lack of stories with the lack of experience necessary for a place to have an effect on selection processes.

      2. It’s a memory exercise

      Another drawback of this type of approach is that in them the respondent’s mentality switches to a mode of “memory retrieval” and not to a mode of conflict resolution in real time. This makes the information you reveal not so much about what really happened as how you remember it.

      It should be borne in mind that decades of research in psychology have shown that memories are constantly changing, the rare thing would be that they remain unchanged. More precisely, it is very common for memories to be mixed with desires and intentions of one, even if one is not aware. As a result, the image offered by respondents may be much more optimistic than the event that actually happened.

        3. They interfere with verbal skills

        These exercises are used more to select people who are good at telling stories than to identify those who are better at dealing with conflict or dealing with stress. The lack of capacity and resources to explain what happened, for example, says nothing about how someone would behave in the workplace, and also explains an interesting tale of how a professional feat was carried out in the workplace. it doesn’t say much about what would really happen if a similar issue arose in the present.

        4. Differences between the number of jobs

        Another disadvantage is that the work contexts can be very different depending on each job. If candidates are given the opportunity to remember a past work event, they are very likely to speak of a very different type of organization to whomever they choose to enter to work in the present.

        The key is to pose hypothetical situations

        According to Grant, to avoid the aforementioned drawbacks and obtain relevant information about candidates, Breeders should pose imaginary situations and ask interviewees how they would act in the face of such challenges.

        In this way, the range of situations from which each candidate leaves is narrowed down, which makes the situation fairer, and at the same time they are invited to actively participate in solving a problem in real time, Something that will reveal important aspects of their performance at work, their level of creativity, intelligence and willingness to work as a team.

        For example, they may be asked to think about ways to get a brand to create viral content related to their image on the internet, without spending more than $ 10,000, or they may be tasked with leading an imaginary selection process. , with the profiles of several candidates explained and the express need to coordinate the process with the heads of two different departments.

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