5 Tips for Improving Your Interview Process

By Joseph T. Sefcik, President, Employment Technologies

Interviews are the most commonly used component of employee selection and hiring. With 99 percent of all organizations using hiring interviews, it follows that we should all be excellent at interviewing and making the right hiring decisions. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case.

Many interviewers are rendered ineffective by the following issues:

To improve interview results, science can and should be applied to the process. Effective interviewing takes careful planning and effort so that hiring decisions are based on relevant and sound information, not superficial cues or first impressions.

#1 – Create structure for the interview

A random process produces random results. To create structure, start by defining the key requirements of the job. Clearly outline the skills, qualifications, and experience necessary for the role. Once you have identified the job requirements, create standard interview questions based on these requirements. Use the same questions for all applicants for that position. If there is more than one interviewer, all questions should be consistent and target the same job requirements. Individual interviewers sometimes have their own “pet questions.” These should either be eliminated or reviewed for inclusion in the standard interview. This will increase objectivity and improve the accuracy of your ratings.

#2 – Establish a standard rating system

Our judgment is influenced by what we see and hear. Interviewers can ask the same questions yet evaluate responses differently. That’s why it is essential to pair standardized interview questions with standardized evaluation criteria. To avoid personal judgments and biases, provide interviewers with written examples of what constitutes an excellent response versus an average response. This is known as a behaviorally anchored rating scale (BARS). An interview is like a yardstick and it must be calibrated for precision. The more you can improve your rating process, the more accurate and fair your hiring decisions will be.

#3 – Manage interviewer consistency

Interviewers are not all equally effective. Most interviewers have never been trained, yet those same interviewers are proven to be overconfident and overestimate their ability to interview effectively. People naturally default to their comfort zone when conducting and evaluating interviews. During the interview, some may ask questions and acquire information better than others. When evaluating interview responses, some interviewers may be detail oriented and process responses systematically, while others may apply more global judgments. To improve consistency, interviewers should cite specific statements and examples from the interview. Avoid interviewer opinions or impressions. Interviewers should use examples, not hunches, to support ratings.

#4 – Judge applicants on performance, not on promises or prior experience

Applicants want to make the best impression possible. They anticipate what you want to see and what you want to hear. Their goal is to convince you that they are the best person for the job. Applicants want to look good to you and will promise that they can deliver. Recognize that during the interview, applicants are probably the best they will ever be. Promises and past work experience are not a guarantee of future performance. You can reduce the smokescreen by asking questions that target actual performance results. Ask applicants if the results are their own, or team/workgroup results. If the job lends itself to a work sample, ask for one.

#5 – Include pre-hire assessments

Depending on the nature of the role, consider incorporating pre-employment assessments or skills tests. This could involve problem-solving exercises, technical challenges, or a work simulation. Look for assessments that provide an objective way to evaluate a candidate’s abilities and can complement traditional interviews. Interviewers can use assessment results to identify strengths and areas for improvement, and then target these areas in the interview.

By applying these 5 principles, you will not only improve the efficiency and consistency of your interview process — you will dramatically increase your accuracy in selecting the best person for the job.


Joseph T. Sefcik is the founder and president of Employment Technologies. As a thought leader in simulation and virtual interview technology, Mr. Sefcik pioneered some of the earliest employment simulations for organizations such as The Coca Cola Company, Ford Motor Company, and the New York Police Department. For more than 30 years, his passion has been the advancement of simulation technology for personnel selection and development, creating the industry’s widely recognized line of EASy Simulations®. 

Employment Technologies is the pioneer and world’s leading developer of employment simulations for talent prediction. An unprecedented five-time national Top HR Product of the Year award winner, we offer a full suite of interview tools and simulations designed specifically for key jobs and industries including, financial services, contact centers, customer service, sales, insurance, hospitality, retail, and more! 

To test-drive the latest interview technology, contact us here or call 888.332.0648.