Discovering the truth about employment interviewing will help you hire better and faster!


Job interviews are clearly the most common hiring technique. Virtually no one is hired without first completing an interview.

Since interviews are such an integral part of hiring, it’s important to get it right. Unfortunately these five interview myths may be keeping you from finding and hiring the best new talent.

Myth #1: Long interviews produce better results.

The average interview length is about 40 minutes. Would it surprise you that most hiring decisions are made within the first 90 seconds? So, should we spend 40 minutes for a 90 second decision? Probably not. On the other hand, should we base important hiring decisions on a 90-second impression? No, again. The key is twofold:   to avoid meandering interviews that waste time, and to withhold judgment until we’ve asked the right questions. Many organizations use interviews with greater structure and specified questions to improve efficiency and objectivity. Structured interviews are also proven to deliver higher accuracy in predicting job success. So, you may have an opportunity to shorten your interviews while boosting your effectiveness in finding the right people.

Myth #2: Interviewers know the right questions to ask and what to look for.

Consider these facts:  1. most interviewers have never been trained, and 2. the majority of interviewers overestimate their ability to effectively interview. Only about one third of all interviewers have been trained. So, the majority of interviewers are untrained and overconfident in their abilities. Interviewers often have favorite or trick questions that they believe will reveal an applicant’s true character. Some companies even resort to off-the-wall or “puzzler” questions. In truth, there are no magic questions. Trick questions often backfire, having no real correlation to job success. Knowing the right questions to ask and what to look for in an applicant is best achieved by using a standard set of job-related questions with specific evaluation criteria.

Myth #3: Interviews increase the accuracy of hiring decisions.

Believe it or not, when combined with a multiple-component selection process, interviews add very little to the prediction of success. Does that mean that you shouldn’t use interviews? Of course not, it simply means that interviews contribute differently to the hiring decision. Like anyone else, interviewers are prone to influences that affect their judgment such as the applicant’s appearance, voice quality, qualifications, grades—and an applicant’s self-promotion. Managing the subjective, human element of individual biases and expectations is the challenge. To increase accuracy and help control for potential bias, it’s important to use objective tools like pre-hire assessments early in the selection process, then use interviews to identify the best-of-the-best among pre-qualified candidates.

Myth #4: Interviews cost less than other screening methods.

Cost is always a consideration. Yet a common misconception is that interviews cost less than other screening tools like employment tests and assessments. While interviews are typically absorbed as an overhead cost, they are certainly not cheap. They still cost the interviewer’s time, and time spent away from other projects. The more significant expense, however, is the high cost of making a mistake. Many employers assume that one screening method is as accurate as another—when in fact, accuracy rates vary widely. Traditional interviews are lower on the accuracy scale when compared with standard assessments, such as job simulations. So, using interviews alone or using them too early in the screening process costs more, not less. Your true and most significant costs are not the price of the components but the costs of a poor hire.

Myth #5 Good interviewers can tell which candidates are telling the truth.

Let’s face it. Applicants are always going to promote their qualifications in the most positive light. In fact, an article in Entrepreneur cites a Jobvite survey of over 2,000 adults in which 31 percent admitted to inflating their skills on Twitter and 27 percent fabricated references on Facebook. So interviewers are left with the job of discerning which applicants have real experience and which ones are embellishing the truth. Ironically, good fakers often sound more convincing than honest applicants with true experience. So rather than relying on interviewer intuition, it’s important to use the right type of interview questions. General open-ended questions like, “Tell me about yourself” or “Describe your qualifications,” are much easier to fake than questions that require applicants to cite specific examples of performance. So, while not failsafe, interviews based on specific situational and behavioral questions give you greater accuracy in spotting fakers and zeroing in on the most qualified applicants.

Finding the right people is a challenge. Luckily, by debunking these 5 interview myths, you will be on your way to discovering the best new talent – while saving valuable time and money!


Get the facts on improving your hiring accuracy. Checking out structured employment interviews and virtual interviewing is a great place to start!