Why Interview Questions are Important with Scott Parish and Alycia Damp

In this interview, Shivani Persad interviews the founder and CEO of Hireguide, Scott Parish, and Alycia Damp, Head of Product Content and Applied Science about Hireguide's new quick-start interview planning flow.

Scott Parish (left), Alycia Damp (right)

Interview Planning

What was the intention behind building this interview planning flow?

SP: When we were building this new flow, our vision was to make it super easy to get incredibly high-quality interview content.

Our customers say trying to improvise interview questions doesn't work. People always end up asking the same generic questions like, what is your greatest weakness? Our customers also said if they weren't improvising, it was taking them hours to find questions they thought were related to their role by Googling it.

Both of these processes have ineffective outcomes. Improvising doesn’t give you quality questions. On the flip side, researching what to ask gives you generic questions and takes too much time.

To solve this we've built our process so that it starts with entering the role that you're hiring for and then, we map out important skills for that role based on a job analysis.

And in just those first two steps the intention is to help you focus the interview, provide you with the skills that you should be assessing for, and allow you to customize them.

Can you describe the three-step interview planning process?

AD: Step one is to type in the role that you're hiring for from our list of 70,000 job titles. In the second step, we provide you with what we call a “skill cloud” that we have mapped from 30,000 skills. This is a curated list of roughly 20 skills for each role, based on a job analysis. We've analyzed 129 million job descriptions to map which skills fit with which roles.

We prompt you to select the ones that are most important to you (we suggest between 6-8). You also have the ability to add a custom skill if the skill you're looking for isn't presented.

Next, you're given a curated list of evidence-based and I/O psych-validated interview questions. These questions assess the skills that you selected in the previous step, and are chosen from our question bank.

We have over 1,000 validated interview questions and explore tips for each question. Explore tips help you learn what you should be looking for in a candidate’s response. Ultimately, what you have is a complete list of interview questions to guide you through your interview.

Interview Questions and Customization

Why does this new flow start with job position, then skills, then questions?

AD: One of the main reasons the flow is designed this way is because it's really important to define what you want to assess. In assessment science, we know that the objective of the interview is to find a match between the candidate and the job. The way to do that properly is to measure the job and measure the person.

What does the job require of the person to perform well, for that job to function as intended? For the organization and achieve the business objectives?

When you define your job in terms of skills what you're doing is measuring your job. Then you can use that exact framework to measure the skills of the people you're interviewing. When you measure your job and your people with the same criteria you’re maximizing the likelihood that you'll find a fit.

We say, can you tell us your skills so that we can suggest tailored questions that actually allow you to assess the skills needed for the job, and maximize the chances that you're going to hire someone who's going to perform well in the role?

Why is it important to have the ability to customize interview questions? 

SP: Two reasons: confidence and ownership. It’s YOUR interview. We’re giving you a great foundation and head start… but no two roles are the same.

One of the emotions around interviewing is interviewing with confidence. It's really hard as an interviewer, (especially without support) to show up and represent yourself and the company well. This is especially hard when you don’t know what to ask. So we're trying to give people the ability to, within a couple of clicks, interview with confidence. We're giving you questions that we know are effective and so as an interviewer you can feel really confident using those questions.

With ownership, it’s about trying to find a balance between your building an interview process for your company’s needs and building an interview process quickly. Both extremes don't work. On the one hand, we know starting from scratch every time you interview is time-consuming. And on the other hand, although it’s fast to use a generic template you found on google, it’s not effective. So we are making it effective but also easy and quick.

In step two we give you a skill cloud that is backed by research. And then in step three, we're giving you questions based on those skills that have been vetted and are also customizable.

So you didn't have to reinvent all of this interview content from scratch, but you were still able to very quickly create something that is science-backed and tailored to your needs.

It’s YOUR interview. So the ability to edit and customize those questions, change the order, all of that is so that you can really own this process while we're giving you this phenomenal foundation to work off of.

Why do the interview questions have explore tips?

AD: You can’t assess something accurately if you don’t know what you’re looking for. You have to have a baseline of what good looks like to evaluate if the responses that you’re getting are good. It ties directly to confidence. If you ask a question but don’t know what you’re looking for… how can you judge a candidate’s answer? We give you a baseline of what good looks like, so you can compare every answer to that baseline.

It also helps to reduce bias in decision-making because you have an archetype of a response. Our explore tips are bite-sized suggestions of what a good response should include, so you’re comparing all candidates to the same baseline which helps you make more fair decisions.

SP: Explore tips can also prompt you on how to deepen the conversation or probe. For example, if a candidate doesn’t touch on an area that’s in our explore tips, you can ask them about it and introduce the area into the conversation. They allow you to explore more about the candidate’s knowledge.

It’s not a rigid answer key, because the context of each job is so different. But it allows you to probe and deepen your conversation with the candidate to determine how sophisticated their understanding is of that particular area or skill. 

High-quality Interview Content

What’s the goal of this three-step flow?

AD: It’s a lightweight structure that helps you enhance the accuracy and fairness of your decision-making in the interview process.

SP: The goal is to be deeply customized to your needs, work very quickly, and provide high-quality thoughtful interview content.

The thought and science behind the quick-start flow was to make it easier than ever for you to get interview questions. But, not just any interview questions. With Hireguide, you ensure that you're asking the right questions to assess the right skills, so you choose the right candidate, every time. 

Make your interview process easier than ever with Hireguide. Start for free today, no credit card required! And don't forget to check out some more of our helpful resources like job descriptions and hiring guides.

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