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Study Shows Hard Interviews Result In Better Jobs
Have you ever been through a job interview that completely drained you? When you left, it felt like you'd just spent an hour on the treadmill while you had the flu and you're not even sure if you made any progress?
Okay, maybe that's an extreme comparison, but interviewing can be tough exercise never the less. In both cases, many of us would be sweating bullets.
A smooth ride isn't always the best route for your career
While many of us are always hoping for a smooth ride where you sail through an interview and walk out thinking:
"Wow! Nailed it. That was easy,"
You may well have nailed the interview, and you may get the job, but is it the job you wanted? It's an unwritten rule that nothing in life that is worthwhile comes easy, and it tends to be the same for job satisfaction, and apparently, studies conclude the same result.
The tougher they are, the more we want it
A new study by research helpers found that a tough interview is highly correlated with a satisfying job. The study found that employees who go through a more difficult job interview were more likely to be satisfied with the resulting position.
The results held in six countries:
- The United States
A 10% increase in job interview difficulty resulted in a 2.6% higher employee satisfaction in the job.
- Why on earth would this be the case?
- Why would a hiring manager who asks the hard questions and maybe has candidates do difficult tasks make an environment that is better for the employee?
- Why would an employee be more satisfied with their job?
Here are some possible reasons why we see this correlation.
Too easy means a poor match
When I interviewed for my first job, at age 16, it was for a fast-food chain. The interview was basically, "Can you breathe? Will you show up when we schedule you?
"You're hired!" Interestingly enough, that job stunk. Lots of people employ this way, even for tasks that are much more complex than operating a cash register in a fast-food restaurant.
Managers who are in a hurry to get someone on board conduct easy interviews, just looking for the bare minimums, are likey to hire someone who is a bad fit.
Skills, for instance, are what we call a "necessary but not sufficient" criteria in hiring.
If your company is straight-laced and traditional, hiring someone who has the skills but prefers to work from home from time to time and wear yoga pants to the office, the fit won't be right.
They may accept the job because they need a paycheck, but they won't be happy.
Too easy means a poor interviewer
Lots of hiring managers ask questions that can be found on Google. The problem with these questions is that they tell you little about the actual candidate, except about their ability to Google interview questions.
If you ask, "what is your greatest weakness?" you're going to get the answer you deserve, but probably not something that helps you determine how good a fit someone is. (Granted, if they answer, "My greatest weakness is that I work too hard!" you can reject them because that's a stupid answer.)
If you want to know if someone is going to be a good fit for your office, you need to ask questions that are unique to this job and this company. Asking generic questions don't bring unique answers.
Asking questions that require the candidate to think can bring out the answers that help the hiring manager see if the person will not only be capable of doing the work but will fit into the office culture.
Too hard, isn't good either
The Glassdoor survey found that the optimal interview difficulty was four on a scale of 1-5. Why were the five interviews not as successful?
My guess is that an interviewer that sets out to do a problematic interview starts asking questions and assigning sample tasks, not to find a great match, but to show the candidate how smart the hiring manager is.
Tricky questions, or requiring candidates to go through numerous hours of gruelling questions and assignments make the candidate suffer but doesn't lead towards a better fit.
How can you get a great fit?
Ask questions that relate to the actual job. Focus on tasks that the employee will have to solve in the position. Don't ask a candidate to do a powerpoint presentation if presenting won't be part of the job.
It adds unnecessary stress and doesn't tell you if the candidate is good at doing the actual job.
While it makes sense to ask some of the standard interview questions, only ask them if the answer will tell you something helpful.
Asking where someone sees themselves in 5 years may or may not help determine the type of person you want to hire, but it can be.
If you're hiring for the summer season only, you may be looking for people who have career goals beyond summer jobs, or you may be looking for people who will stay with you for summer after summer.
If you have a history of hiring people who later turn out to be bad fits, consider asking others to help you conduct interviews.
Interviewing is a talent and skill and you might need some training and help. Being a lousy interviewer doesn't mean you're a terrible manager. They are different skills.
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If you enjoyed this post and have time to spare why not check out these related posts and dive deeper down the rabbit hole that is career advice.
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