The Benefits of Scientific Job Interviews

2 min read
Mar 6, 2017


At some point in our careers, all of us have had interviews we could have sworn we nailed.

After leaving the interview in high spirits, we share the news of how well it went with our families and friends. We expect that a job offer will be sent our way any minute. Eventually, after days turn into weeks, we realize that we’re not going to be offered the job. Even though we were well qualified for the position and thought we did a great job interviewing, it just didn’t work out.


A recent study suggested that — whether or not we like to admit it — we tend to judge other people quickly. In fact, it may take as little as 30 seconds before we decide whether someone is intelligent and whether they have an attractive personality.

Say the wrong thing in an interview — rather, say what the interviewer thinks is the wrong thing — and all of a sudden your good-looking candidacy is shattered to pieces.

While some humans are good judges of character, not all of us are. So, that interview you had that you thought you rocked but never got offered the job? It could have been because the interviewer judged you immediately and made up their mind before you uttered three sentences.

It’s discouraging not to receive a job offer after going through interviews for a gig you really wanted and knew you’d excel at. But flip the situation around: when managers misjudge someone subjectively, their organizations can miss out on hiring top talent.

One writer recently published a piece on Fast Company that encourages organizations to take a more scientific approach to the hiring process to remove as much of the human element from it as possible. For starters, that means testing your candidates more formally instead of relying solely on a series of questions. For example, you might ask a would-be graphic designer to whip up a quick infographic for you to see whether they possess the skills needed to thrive in the role they’re gunning for.

Additionally, a scientific interview process requires multiple interviewers who grade each candidate on a standardized scorecard. To increase effectiveness, interviewers also should:

  • Eliminate small talk: Your subjectivity won’t get in the way of determining who is the best fit for the job.


  • Follow an itinerary: Don’t improvise. Plan your interviews thoroughly and treat every candidate the same. You want each job seeker to have as similar of an experience as possible.
  • Forget Psych 101: You are not a psychologist. Stop trying to figure out what makes a person tick in an informal and awkward brief conversation.


It’s nearly impossible to completely remove the human element from the interview process. You need to figure out whether or not a candidate will fit into your organization’s culture, for example, which is something that is more of a judgment call (but doesn’t have to be if you develop a data-based rubric).

The more subjectivity you can remove from the interview process, the better off you’ll be. Implement a scientific job interview approach, and you’ll increase the chances you hire the best candidates every time.




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