Another thought provoking evening and presentation hosted by Chris Reichhelm of Peloton Leadership Network last night - the theme was the use of Assessment in senior management interviewing.
I know I have been guilty too many times of conducting an unstructured interview - running through a CV and the standard questions, which the candidate is slick at answering. All you are really doing is probing for fit, and this is where huge confirmation biases come into play. Yet we know from countless studies that this kind of interviewing is a consistently poor indicator of job performance.
Far, far better is the use of structured interviews, psychometric testing and ultimately a work based test - getting candidates involved in a real world scenario with your real employees and see how they react. A lot of discussion ensued around cultural acceptance of this level of selection process for senior hires - c-suite upwards. Most agreed they regularly used such tests for junior or technical recruits, but use higher up was rare. Barriers to senior adoption cited were culture, process friction ("it would take too long to organise") and fear of scaring off hot candidates. But really these feel like excuses. Approached in the right way, with expectations set upfront, assessments can be empowering for both parties and can certainly help reduce the failure rate of hiring, which only gets more expensive as the hires get more senior.
Let’s take an example – the X-factor. Imagine if Simon Cowell et al, made his judgments based on interviewing contestants about how well they sing without actually listening to them sing.