Recruiters still believe that face-to-face interviews are the most effective way to choose the best person for the job. But new research suggests that interview techniques are improving while the level of testing and assessment is also on the increase.
Research carried out by IRS Employment Review among 208 UK employers suggests that recruiters are recognising their shortcomings when it comes to the interview processes and are changing their practices to ensure that interviews are as robust as possible.
As a result, anyone looking for a new job in 2004 may find themselves undergoing more tests and being contacted by potential employer far earlier in the recruitment process, as selection becomes more streamlined and focused.
Although half of the employers surveyed still believe that a face-to-face interview is the best way to recruit whatever the job role being filled, recruiters are beginning to assess the selection requirements of each job function and are moving away from a one-size-fits-all approach.
Unsurprisingly, recruiters are more likely to use skills testing when filling skilled positions in areas such as IT. But even here, only a quarter of recruiters believe that testing for specific skills is the most effective employment predictor.
Assessment centres and competencies are also increasingly being used and gaining in credibility. While assessment centres have always been recognised as a valid selection method, recruiters appear to be using centres across more job roles than before.
Two thirds of recruiters now use structured interviews on a regular basis. This practice is most common among public sector organisations, where more than eight out of ten always use structured interviewing when selecting new employees.
Three-quarters of employers also use competency-based interviews, either always or sometimes, when selecting new employees.
IRS Employment Review’s Noelle Murphy said that these more systematic approaches to recruitment were vital if organisations are to comply with employment legislation:
"Conducting an interview with a prospective employee is the bedrock of the selection process, but is only effective when organisations use it with other, more specifically job-related tests or selection methods,” she said.
"Competencies are proving their worth to organisations when selecting new employees, not only in terms of selecting the most suitable staff, but also ensuring access to a more diverse workforce. With legislative changes well established, employers must recognise that their recruitment processes must be fair and effective, if they are to find the best person for the job."