Interview as an Assessment Tool

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Interview as an Assessment Tool

For years, interviews were the only assessment tools companies used to find great team members, and for the most part, they worked because a resume could accurately represent someone's competency. Today, as the job market gets far more complex, the part interviews play in the hiring process has been called into question. In this article, we'll uncover why using interviews as an assessment tool is still "king," how solutions like artificial intelligence (AI) and automation can make them even better, and what questions and answers to include in your interviews for maximum assessment effect. So let's dive in!

Using humans to conduct interviews as assessment tools has been scrutinized for years for several reasons- potential biases, time consumption, and costs just to name a few. As the workforce went from local to global, we experienced our first challenge. Interviewer bias. Interviewer bias is where an interviewer allows their personal feelings to greatly affect the assessment interview questions and answers, leading to subjective and inconsistent evaluations. More specifically, these biases, whether conscious or unconscious, show up in relation to someone's gender, ethnicity, age, religion, or educational background and lead to snap judgments and unfair outcomes that have nothing to do with a candidate's qualifications for the role.

Second, conducting interviews can be costly and time-consuming. Both the interviewers and candidates must schedule and prepare for an interview. These interviews can require travel, hotel stays, schedule coordination, and other costs. This can be overwhelming, especially for smaller companies or startups with limited resources. The preparation of interview assessment forms, candidate scorecards, and other materials can also be time-consuming and take away from actual work responsibilities.

Third, assessment interview questions and answers are only as effective as the interviewer conducting them. A great interviewer can ask thought-provoking questions, read body language, and make accurate assessments of a candidate's qualifications without allowing bias into the process. However, not all interviewers have this skill set or training.

But despite the challenges, interviews as assessment tools still hold significant value in today's hiring process. In fact, a recent survey by LinkedIn found that 63% of hiring managers predict that interviews will become more critical to their recruitment process over the next five years. Why? Because interviews provide an opportunity for candidates to showcase not only their qualifications but also their personality, communication skills, and cultural fit within the company. This human aspect of an interview cannot be replicated by AI or any other assessment tool for that matter.

That said, combining the observation skills of humans, the standardization of structured interviews,  and interview tools like interview intelligence software generates more efficient and effective results.

Practical Examples of Interviews as Assessment Tools

There are many forms of assessment tools available. For instance, a DEI assessment tool like Textio can help companies assess their job postings for gender, racial, and other biases. But these aren't the focus of our discussion today.

Interviews as assessment tool examples take on a more hands-on approach in evaluating candidates. In fact, one company that has successfully implemented interviews as an assessment tool is Proctor and Gamble (P&G). The consumer product goods (CPG) giant uses what's called a P.E.A.K. assessment, which stands for Performance, Experience, Ability, and Knowledge. This structured interview process allows P&G to evaluate candidates based on specific skills and competencies required for the job.

Another example comes from the tech industry with Amazon's use of their "Bar Raiser" program. In this program, trained employees who are not part of the hiring team conduct a second round of interviews to ensure that the candidate truly meets the high standards of the company. This helps to eliminate any biases or subjective evaluations from the hiring team and ensures a fair and accurate assessment of candidates.

Even in industries outside of corporate settings, interviews as assessment tools are being implemented. For example, in education, teacher candidates undergo multiple rounds of interviews where they are evaluated on their teaching skills through mock classes. This allows school districts to see a candidate's teaching style and effectiveness before making a hiring decision.

There are also examples from sales, as Account Executives (AE) and other salespeople are tested on their ability to perform outreach, conduct consultative sales calls, and close deals during the interview process. This provides a more accurate assessment of their skills and potential success on the job.

The healthcare industry also utilizes interviews as an assessment tool. Medical residency programs conduct interviews with potential residents to assess their medical knowledge, communication skills, and ability to handle high-stress situations. These interviews play a crucial role in determining which candidates will be the best fit for the program.

These practical examples of interviews as assessment tools showcase the value in actually connecting with candidates and putting them into real-world situations to evaluate their skills and qualifications.

Interview as an Assessment Tool Template

Using structured interviews completely changes your interview assessment process. A structured interview is one that follows a consistent template, making sure that all candidates are asked the same set of predetermined questions. This type of interview allows for consistency and standardization in assessing candidates.

Jumping ahead a step, there are several templates available online that companies can use as a guide for their interviews. These templates provide a framework for structuring an effective interview assessment process. If you'd like to see one, click here and paste your job description into the text field. In a few minutes, we'll send you a comprehensive interview guide with interview assessment questions specific to your role. This will include the criteria for your standardized interview questions.

Example Interview Assessment Questions

To help you get started with your structured interview process, here are several example questions that can be tailored to different roles and industries:

General Questions

  1. Can you tell me about yourself?
  2. Why are you interested in this position?
  3. What do you know about our company?
  4. Describe a challenge or conflict you've faced at work and how you dealt with it.
  5. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Technical Skills

  1. Can you walk me through your experience with [specific technology or skill]?
  2. Describe a project you've worked on that required significant technical expertise. What was the outcome?
  3. Explain a complex technical concept to me as if I were a layperson.
  4. How do you stay updated with the latest trends and advancements in your field?

Communication Abilities

  1. Can you give an example of a time when you had to explain a complicated issue to a client or colleague?
  2. How do you handle constructive criticism?
  3. Describe a situation where you had to convince someone to see things your way.
  4. Have you ever had to handle a difficult team member? How did you manage the situation?

Cultural Fit

  1. Describe the type of work environment in which you are most productive and happy.
  2. How do you handle work-life balance?
  3. What do you value most in a workplace culture?
  4. Can you give an example of how you've contributed to team spirit or company culture in previous roles?


  1. Describe a situation where you identified a major problem in your workplace. How did you resolve it?
  2. How do you prioritize tasks when you have multiple deadlines to meet?
  3. Can you give an example of a time you implemented a new solution to improve a process at work?

Role-Specific Questions

  1. For a marketing role: How do you measure the success of a marketing campaign?
  2. For a sales role: Describe your approach to closing a sale with a challenging client.
  3. For a teaching role: How do you handle students who are consistently disruptive in class?
  4. For a healthcare role: How do you manage patient care when there are understaffed shifts?

These questions can serve as a baseline and should be customized to reflect the specific needs and intricacies of the role you are hiring for. This ensures that candidates are assessed on relevant competencies and skills integral to their potential success in the position.

Now that you have standardized hiring criteria and questions, it's time to create a scorecard to evaluate candidates. These scorecards are also known as interview assessment forms or candidate assessment forms. A sample interview assessment form should include sections for evaluating different competencies, such as technical skills, communication abilities, and cultural fit that are required for success in the role. This helps to ensure that all aspects of a candidate are being evaluated and provides a clear structure for assessing their qualifications.

Once you have completed the interviews and scored each candidate on their performance, it's important to provide feedback in the form of interview assessment comments. These comments should be specific and based on the candidate's performance during the interview, providing constructive criticism or praise where necessary.

Using an interview as an assessment tool template like the ones we've included can simplify the hiring process by providing a standardized structure for interviewing and evaluating candidates. It also allows for consistency in assessments across all candidates, reducing potential biases that may arise from subjective evaluations.

In conclusion, structured interviews and interview assessment templates can significantly improve the hiring process by providing a standardized, fair, and effective way to assess candidates. Companies who use these tools ensure that they are making informed decisions when it comes to selecting the best fit for their organization. So the next time you're conducting interviews, consider implementing a structured approach using an interview as an assessment tool template!

If you'd like to see how interview intelligence can automate many of the assessment steps for you, making interview prep times shorter, gathering better data, and empowering more objective hiring decisions, book a demo of Pillar today!