Everything in recruitment is trending to data-driven, but what about job interviews?

Recruitment is at the verge of becoming fully data-driven. But one of the most vital elements within recruitment – the job interview – continues to be a black box. It’s not a stretch to say some type of change is necessary, but when is it finally going to happen? 

Peter Boerman on June 17, 2020 Average reading time: 3 min
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Everything in recruitment is trending to data-driven, but what about job interviews?

Recruiters now have a wide array of statistics to keep up with. Time-to-hire? That’s one. Cost-per-hire? That’s another one. Then it continues by way of the total amount of career website visitors, the total amount who have read the newsletters, and tracking the social media audience. We have reached a point where recruiters may be more data-driven than some have come to realise; collecting data in multiple phases. But where can that data-driven side be better, faster – or even more efficient? 

What can we learn from one interview that would make the next one better?

Weirdly enough those questions aren’t asked when the job interview comes into the picture. While job interviews are imperative in any recruitment process. Can those conversations be shorter? What value do they really add? Are we selecting the best candidates with it? What can we learn from one interview that would make the next one better? These are legitimate questions, but seldom do most companies ask them.

Data driven conversations

‘Why don’t we treat interviews as real data?’, Ted Bauer asks in an ere.net publication. “Data can be searched, sorted, and analysed in ways that make sense to a human brain. Content can be searched and plotted, and results and analyses can be drawn. But interviews? We don’t often think of them that way.”

With the increasing number of job interviews through Skype, Zoom and Teams, that trend seems to be slowly changing. More than ever, conversations are recorded, leading to opportunities for thorough analysis. It’s something that Google has done for years, author Laszlo Bock notes in his book ‘Work Rules!’. Shortly summarised: Bock concluded that most job interviews are useless. Bauer describes it as ‘a jump for our brains’ to finally view ‘regular’ conversations in that light. But why shouldn’t we?

So how then?

Job interviews are now often a black box, and in that sense a barrel full of biases. Candidates think: why are they asking these questions? Hiring managers also often have no idea why they are asking the things they’re asking. “Do good candidates still end up with good companies? Sure”, Bauer says. “But it’s more out of luck than structure.”

As a recruiter, it can also help you learn to ask better questions at a better time, Bauer notes.

But how then? It might help the job interview cause if they had some type of proven learning effect. You could enable this by implementing more structure in job interviews, writing them out, and then analysing them. This allows you to map out which candidates would match at an early stage, which saves a bundle of time with vacancy holders and hiring managers. As a recruiter, it can also help you learn to ask better questions at a better time, Bauer notes.

“If we are truly so data driven, shouldn’t interviews, which are the cornerstone of recruiting, be a form of data too?”

Bauer alludes to another ‘sad truth’ in recruitment: recruiters largely know one interview approach, but never actually have any data to support whether it is successful. “If we are truly so data driven these days, and companies are built by the work of individuals, and recruiting is the process by which talented individuals arrive at companies”, he says. “Shouldn’t interviews, which are the cornerstone of recruiting, be a form of data too?”

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Peter Boerman

Peter Boerman

Blogger at ToTalent

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