Articles From the Team
Do difficult interviews lead to better job matches? In summary, yes.
According to recent data, hard job interviews have been statistically linked to higher employee satisfaction. In research study titled ‘Do Difficult Job Interviews Lead to More Satisfied Workers? Evidence from Glassdoor Reviews’, it was found that optimal interview difficulty, when measured on a five-point scale, was four out of five. On this scale one is very easy, three is average and five is very difficult.
Analysing results from six counties, the report found that more difficult interviews predict higher employee satisfaction later on, however once the interview surpasses the difficulty of four out of five, subsequent employee satisfaction drops. “The easiest two-point interviews, and the most difficult five-point interviews, are both associated with lower employee satisfaction,” says the study.
Potential reasons for this could be that one-point interviews are too simple, and do not adequately tax the candidate. Whereas five-point interviews “may be an indication of deeper dysfunction within companies, such as an aggressive work culture harmful to employee satisfaction,” says the study.
Speaking to Executive Grapevine, Dr Andrew Chamberlain, a Chief Economist at Glassdoor and Co-Author of the report, confirmed that interviewers should ask better questions, not harder ones: “This information [the study results] sends a signal to organisations that they should re-evaluate their interview processes to ensure they’re asking the right questions to better understand a candidate’s skill set, whether they will be a cultural fit and if they can do the job”.
In summary, “what this research shows is that interview processes themselves can directly affect employee satisfaction, by affecting the quality of matches between job seekers and positions. The key message of our study is that what happens at job interviews today doesn't just affect hiring. It affects broader company culture for years to come by determining the quality of matches between employees and jobs”.
BCL Legal – Opinion
The result of the Glassdoor study makes for very interesting reading. Interviews are a fundamental part of the hiring process and the success (or failure) of your interviews will have lasting ramifications for your team and employer. With this in mind, deciding on an appropriate style, approach and level of difficulty is vitally important.
As the article suggests, very difficult job interviews have become the norm for the likes of Google, Facebook and Apple, allowing them to identify the smartest and most creative candidates and to identify best-fit. These companies employ multiple testing techniques to identify the strongest candidates and in doing so, according to the survey, increase employee fit and employee satisfaction. It should be noted however that these are very desirable companies to work for and they typically have comprehensive pay and benefits packages. Thus, they have the luxury of selecting from a wide selection of potential applicants and they have a range of benefits/traits that help raise satisfaction levels.
In the case of the aforementioned companies, a rigorous recruitment process is now expected, which makes it more palatable for candidates, and for the company it is essential, to ensure these companies identify the best and most suitable people from a very large selection of possible candidates. The same is true of other large blue-chip clients, particularly those with desirable products and services, good pay and benefits and/or recognised career development prospects. Candidates are often willing to put up with more rigorous processes if the company is particularly desirable.
For smaller organisations, or companies without the brand appeal, selecting an appropriate recruitment process is just as important as it is for Google, Facebook or Apple. Cultural and personality fit, work experience, and personal/career expectations needs to be identified and appropriate methods to get to this information must be found. Selecting the correct interview process for your business is therefore an important consideration. You have to ensure you hire the correct people whilst trying not to put those same people off in the process.
Working in the recruitment industry, we work with clients that employ all sorts of interview and selection processes. This includes: straightforward one-to-one meetings; competency interviews; psychometric, verbal, numerical testing; written exercises and presentations; candidate selection days and multiple-interview stages. As per the Glassdoor study, it is our experience that the interview process as a whole reflects a great deal about the company undertaking the search. This isn’t simply the type of interview, but the difficulty, the number of stages, the time taken to provide feedback, the personal interactions during the interviews, the offer process etc. Interviews are very much a two-way process and the companies that put time and effort into making their interview process work for them are readily apparent to both us and the candidates we represent. As the study suggest, candidates use the interview to make some judgements about the potential suitability of any potential employer, if the interview is overly challenging or deliberately difficult, or if the interview process is slow and laborious, then potential candidates can and will be turned off. The same is true if the interviewer is unprepared or carries out an overly-easy interview, or indeed if the information provided before the interview (job spec etc.) doesn’t marry up with the questions asked at interview.
The interviews that tend to work best will involve two or three stages (max), a mix of technical and competency based questions, a written/verbal test or presentation and an opportunity to meet the wider legal/business team. The hiring company and its representatives work with us, providing accurate information and feedback in a timely manner, and the interviewers are welcoming, approachable and interested in the candidates experience. During the interview, the questions should be tough but fair and feedback following the interview is a must.