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Job interviews for professionals have lately been getting harder, with employers increasingly asking their candidates with more and more obscure questions.
But even though Google thinks such interview questions are a waste of time, looks like there may be a reason behind putting applicants through painfully tough interviews.
New research from Glassdoor revealed that for employers in the United States, a 10% more difficult job interview process is associated with 2.5% higher employee satisfaction later on.
The survey analysed 154,000 pairs of interview reviews and company reviews shared by individual Glassdoor users located in, or for companies headquartered in, the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, Germany or France.
In all six countries, there was a clear positive relationship between interview difficulty and employee satisfaction, with the effect being the strongest in Australia (3.6%).
“Good hiring processes encourage quality job matches, boosting employee satisfaction and, ultimately, worker productivity,” Glassdoor stated in a blog post.
“By contrast, poorly designed interview processes—either too easy or too difficult—both are associated with less healthy company cultures over time.”
But when are job interviews too difficult? That is, is there an optimal interview difficulty that leads to highest employee satisfaction?
In answering this question, the report found that on a five-point scale — where 1 equals very easy, 3 equals average and 5 equals very difficult —the interview level that leads to the highest employee happiness is 4 out of 5.
The researchers said possible reasons for this are that 1-point interviews are too easy to effectively screen incoming candidates, while 5-point interviews may be an indication of deeper dysfunction within companies, such as an aggressive work culture that is harmful to employee satisfaction.
The goal remains, essentially, to create an interview experience that is difficult, but not overwhelming, for job candidates.
“The optimal interview difficulty allows hiring managers to carefully screen candidates for ability and cultural fit, among other skills, without leaving the candidate feeling confused or defeated,” the report stated.
“Finding the optimal interview difficulty can help promote higher-quality job matches, encourage more satisfied employees, and ultimately help boost productivity and reduce employee turnover.”