It is ironic the large emphasis that is placed on the “personal interview” when arriving at
selection decisions within organizations, despite its low reliability and low accuracy in predicting
future job performance. These interviews are usually relatively unstructured, and many recent
literature reviews suggest that its low validity is often due to judgmental errors made by the
interviewer and also the numerous errors and biases associated with the processing of the
applicant information. Since the workforce is the primary asset in most organizations, one might
assume that the most effective selection strategy would be chosen to maximize productivity.
Personal interviewing continues to be the most widely used method for selecting
employees and is often used in conjunction with other techniques such as reference checking,
weighted application blanks, skill tests, and psychological testing. There are obviously good
reasons for the popularity of the employment interview despite the controversy regarding its
This paper analyzes the validity of the interview - the measure of the degree to which the
test predicts job success. Good selection doesn’t depend only on quality information, but on the
quality of the interpretation. In the interview, the interviewer looks at the background of the
applicant, analyzes the applicant’s responses during the interview and makes judgments about
the behavior of the applicant. There are many factors affecting the validity:
impressions, psychological selective perceptions, stereotypes, halo-effect, trait configurations,
etc. Thus, often the validity of the interview rests on the interviewer. The interviewer needs to
recognize that everyone perceives things in different ways. Furthermore, interview perceptions
are based on the interviewer’s life experiences, goals, needs and values, and thus can affect the
judgment of the applicant.
First of all, we will discuss some of the psychological pitfalls of personal interviewing.
Second, we will look at a company which is experiencing personnel problems, and third, we will
look at how the problems can be resolved.
Pre-interview Impression Effects
Before the interviewer greets the applicant and begins the discussion, judgments are
likely to have already been formed.
Impressions of the applicant’s qualifications and
characteristics by looking solely at the application and resume could bias the conduct of the
interviewer and the eventual results. First impressions of a person from just paper credentials can
exert a disproportionate influence on our continued perception of them. A process model by
Dipboye, 1982, proposes three interview phases: 1. The Pre-interview Phase; 2. The Interview
Phase - the face-to-face interview with the applicant; 3.
The Post-Interview Phase - where
impressions are formed of the applicant’s qualifications and the decision is made to hire or not to
A study at the University Placement Center of 120 interviews by Macan and Dipboye in