Are Job Interviews Really a Complete Waste of Time?

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We write a fair amount about job interviews here at TLNT, and for good reason: they are the centerpiece of the hiring process.

You can make a lot of little stumbles during the hiring process, but very, very few people get offered a job unless they perform reasonably well during the interview stage. It is the one place where you get a window into the candidate, and unless something clicks for the interviewer, forget landing that new position.

I’ve been on both sides of the interviewing table during my career, and while I have improved my own skills as an interviewee over the years, I don’t think of myself as all that great when it comes to debriefing candidates.

That’s why the intriguing post by Kevin Wheeler over at sister website ERE jumped out at me. In it, he basically makes the case that job interviews are a waste of time and that there are much better methods to assess whether someone is right for the job.

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It’s well worth reading, even if you decide that Wheeler is all wet. Frankly, I think he makes some VERY interesting points. Here’s part of it:

Recruiters and hiring managers love interviews. I have never been sure why that’s the case, but it seems to satisfy a human need for power and control. An interviewer has power to recommend for a job or not. Sometimes an interviewer has the power to actually make the hiring decision, and by holding a person’s economic future and career success in your hands, you can feel very powerful.

So anyone wielding such a powerful tool should be certain of its validity and of their skill in using it. The EEOC considers the interview to be a selection test, and requires that it be validated before use. Yet, I would guesstimate that few interviews are validated at all, and the ones that are may not be delivered consistently or by a competent, trained interviewer.

Research has consistently shown that the typical unstructured interview is pretty unreliable. It does not consistently ensure that the most qualified person gets a job or that the person will perform any better than another candidate chosen with less care. In all the studies that I have looked at, the validity of choosing candidates by only using an unstructured interview process is about the same as simply picking someone at random.”

For more of this post, click here.

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.