PUTTING INTERVIEWEES AT EASE OR ON EDGE?« Back to Questions List

When asked to sit on an interview panel I make it a point to try and help candidates relax.  However, on occasion my co-panelists have discouraged that, arguing that they want to observe how a candidate (particularly for high stress jobs) performs under pressure. What is the conventional wisdom here?
Posted by careersingov
Asked on May 14, 2013 8:50 am
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I’m with Paul that unless the job requires the employee to be grilled in front of Congress or the media, this style of interviewing won’t tell me much about a person’s ability to the the work required. So I would be more inclined to put a candidate at ease during an INTERVIEW. However, I have definitely applied pressure to pre-employment assessment TESTS.

For example, I was once filling a job that required ability to meet tight & demanding deadlines. Daily tasks often had to be completed quickly as well as accurately. So I’d set up the test and put a TIMER on the desk to apply psychological pressure – it was also VERY difficult to complete the test in the time allowed, challenging even for the most experienced employee (read: the deck was stacked against success).

While most candidates didn’t meet the deadline, the accuracy of results they did manage to complete & their attitude or response to being unable to complete the entire test were revealing & helpful in assessing how well a person would perform on the job.
By Sylvia Dahlby, purveyor of talent acquisition, staffing management and recruiting business solutions

Posted by careersingov
Answered On July 12, 2013 3:18 pm
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Having never seen a situation where adding contrived pressure produced a more fruitful job interview conversation, I’m in furious agreement with Paul. An interviewer’s best tools are preparation, thoughtful questions, and their ears, not waterboarding.
-Bill Catlette, Business and Workplace Author

Posted by careersingov
Answered On July 6, 2013 10:58 am
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Ditto what Paul said.
-Krista Ogburn Francis, HR Director at Jubilee Association of Maryland

Posted by careersingov
Answered On July 6, 2013 10:57 am
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I would ask my co-panelists, ”how does creating a high stressed interview predict performance under pressure?” If the work requires the person to sit in front of a panel answering questions, perhaps it will. But other than that, where’s the evidence to support this?

My default is to take the artificial environment of an interview and try to get the candidate to relax and be themselves. That is the person that’s going to come to work everyday, not the nervous and scared person, who has never met anyone around the table and is forced to answer a bunch of questions.
-Paul Smith, Director, Human Resources and Operations at Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission

Posted by careersingov
Answered On July 6, 2013 10:56 am
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Sometimes if you relax the candidate, then he/she can not show their ability professionally because he/she take that not serious.
-Faiza Saad, HR Manager

Posted by careersingov
Answered On July 6, 2013 10:54 am