The Future of Job Interviews & How To Find World-Class People

We often hear the business adage, “power is knowledge” but what if I told you this is wrong? That in some situations, collecting more info can work against you rather than with you?

Case in point: In a 1974 study, 2 well-known psychologists, Paul Slovic and Daniel Kahneman, devised an experiment to observe the effects information had on decision making.

They gathered 8 pro horse handicappers (i.e. seasoned horse race gamblers) and asked them to predict the winners of 40 horse races over 4 rounds.

The catch was that they would provide the gamblers with a finite number of pieces of relevant info each round (ex. the weight of the jockeys, the fastest speeds of horses in the past, etc.), in increasing amounts and each time measure 1) their accuracy in picking the winner, and 2) their confidence level (i.e. a percentage).

1st round they provided only 5 pieces of info, 2nd round 10 pieces, 3rd round 20 pieces, and 4th round a whopping 40 pieces.

After the 1st round, the horse handicappers results were remarkably precise: 17% accuracy in picking the winner with a 19% confidence rate (average).

Can you guess what happened after round 1?

Regardless of having up to 8x the amount of info by the 4th round, their prediction accuracy never breached 17% while confidence percentages rose to 31% (an 82% increase since the 1st round).

So why am I telling you this?  Because more of the same type of data does not always mean better decisions making.

If we take the world of interviewing, where over a billion resumes were collected to fill 6 million openings in the US alone in 2017, we tend to see some massive opportunities to improve the infamous “interview series.”

Simply put, more chats with the person doesn’t necessarily mean more resolution in “finding the best.” I argue you only have half of the answer and need more real time data.

Enter the audition interview.

Traditional interview series involve 3-5 different interviews jam-packed with “HR safe” qualifying questions, long-winded explanations on past projects, and the stress-inducing behavioral questions; when the truth is these chats tell you very little about how a candidate deals with stress, how well they work with other, if they can problem solve in on the fly, and how they deal with failure.

Hence, the audition interview provides all these missing attributes, giving hiring managers and recruiters a 360° perspective on candidates.

Here’s how it works: after 2 casual interviews with a candidate, you would invite them on-site for a final “audition,” where they would complete a mini-project with the respective team over a 2-5 hour period.

Through this experience, you can understand the candidate on 5 different dimensions:

1) Their listening ability (i.e. processing instructions & actioning feedback)

2) Their adaptability and resilience when obstacles surface

3) How they deal with their AND others mistakes

4) How they manage their time

5) How they behave in high-pressure situations

And of course, culture fit.

To make the audition interview more measurable, you could have one teammate as the designated “listener” who would ask the candidate to think out loud at different moments of the project (for example, at the beginning, middle, and end), in turn providing valuable data into their thought process throughout the audition.

Nevertheless, the benefits of the audition interview makes it a win-win for every stakeholder involved.

For the company, they’re able to get an accurate pulse on the long-term fit of a new teammate; for the recruiter, they have a much greater chance of finding the right people for the right roles; and for the candidate, they get to be involved in an engaging and challenging experience with their potential future teammates.

In short, I challenge companies to try this format and see what happens.

Other industries & cultures have already caught on and seen great success.

Australian hospitality culture has been doing this since the 1970’s with “mock shifts” to test how candidates bus tables, take orders and multi-task during rush hour times.

The military has been implementing it for decades with their ” Battle Stations” simulations as the capstone event for recruits, while the NFL wouldn’t have the most fit humans on the planet if they weren’t able to test physical prowess during the annual Scouting Combine.

And best of all, forward thinking tech companies like Automattic and Loftium have already implemented it and, I imagine, have had significantly greater chances of building world-class teams.

But what do you think? Do you think the audition interview is a positive, new spin on an inefficient process? Please comment below and start the conversation.


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