Anything that increases ambiguity when it comes to hiring only makes your decision more difficult. This is a principle I have taught in my training class for the last 30+ years. Unfortunately, I continue to see advice and recommendation for techniques and questions that put you in a bind.
Let’s start with the single biggest offender when it comes to creating ambiguity .. general questions. How many times have you read or heard about the 10 or 12 magic questions that you should ask every candidate. By definition, if you ask everyone the same questions they must be general generic questions (Tell me about you most recent job). You are only going to get general generic answers to these questions. This creates uncertainty and ambiguity.
The next big offender is not defining your requirements. Try interviewing for attitude. I can promise that 5 different people are going to interview for 5 different things and come up with 5 different conclusions. Requirements need to be clearly defined describing the behavior necessary for success in the position.
Another ambiguity creator is the term “competencies”. I conduct an interesting experiment in my live classes. Each participant is given a 3×5 card and told to define the term competency. No two answers are ever the same. What effect do you think it has to tell people to interview for a whole list of competencies?
Finally, not interviewing in correct chronological order is a huge mistake. The candidate is constantly confused when you skip all around their background. And you get lost as well. It is impossible to to detect trends and patterns (order and consistency) when you bounce all over the place.
Your goal in the interview is to predict whether or not the person will be successful on your job. To do that you need to know what knowledge, skills and behaviors are necessary for success. And you have to determine if the person exhibits those requirements. Any action, process, question or task that introduces ambiguity into the process only makes your job that much harder.
As always, I welcome your comments.