According to Ron Friedman (Author of 'The Best Place to Work') 81% of people lie in a job interview!
When you think about it, why wouldn't they? If you are asked about a skill in an interview that you don't have, or maybe you embellished something on your CV, admitting to it in an interview could then mean you don't get that job, right?
This brings about the question as to whether the traditional competency interview so many companies favour has a purpose? What are we really measuring for? How do we really know if someone has the traits, experiences, skills and indeed competencies to be hired (often above others) after a 45 minute chat, about standard information, often already detailed in the candidate's CV? (If anyone mentions 'gut feel' here I will scream.)
How can you really tell if someone is the right fit for both the role and the company without actually working with them?
But that's what a probation period is for ... Is it really though? Because surely, if you have done your due diligence in the interview process, a probation period should be nothing more than piece of the paperwork? If you are relying on your probation period to mop up 'wrong hires' then you, my friend, have a flawed recruitment process.
How about this for a crazy idea! Why don't we actually work with people before we hire them? You can have your 45 minute chat with them, but have a human to human chat. Get to know them, understand their motivations for applying to the role, their ambitions, whether you could have a working relationship with them and so on and so forth. After this initial chat (provided it's all still looking positive) invite them back in to do say - half a day - in the role they would actually be working in. Pay them of course! Then have them work with different team members, on the projects you are actually working on (allowing some flexibility for confidential projects). If they are going to be designing web pages or graphics - have them design something! Create a half day work simulation as such.
Sure, this will involve more work in setting up, and paying people for half a day will cause more expense, but according to studies the average cost of hiring an employee currently stands at around £4,500. That's a lot of cash (especially to a smaller or independent business) to not look after.
It will also mean tightening up on your CV screening and telephone 'chats' if you do them - as this will be a crucial part in the candidate funnel to ensuring that your business doesn't get overrun with potential candidates on their half day interview. Be selective, and only bring in candidates who (based on their credentials) on paper could do the job - or candidates who have the potential to do the job, and you have the resources to train them.
I think there is absolutely a place for structure and process within job interviews, but I think how we approach interviews does need to change. Human capital is (for most businesses) our most valuable and expensive asset - so investing more than 45 minutes, the back office and a cup of instant coffee could be worth considering.