On more occasions than you think, we’ve come across hiring managers who say, “I just know a good job candidate when I see one,” or “I feel it in my gut.” They don’t say how they define a good candidate and what they look for in relation to the target job.

We call this hiring on a “gut feeling.” It often leads to another well-known mistake in interviews – the “similar-to-me” effect. Interviewers with this bias are typically attracted to candidates with similar interests and characteristics. Typically, this has nothing to do with their fit for a particular job.

While this may sound discouraging, there are better ways to conduct an employment interview. Many companies have done their homework and found that all they need to do is come to the interview prepared.  Being prepared means that your interview includes all the right pieces.”

A Ready Solution

Readers may be interested in learning about E.A.S.I-Consult’s solution for hiring the best through interviews. Our online self-service interview generator, E.A.S.I-Interviews®, ensures that you address the three key ingredients of successful interviews: Structure, Behavior, and Competencies.

You could say that we have done your homework for you.

Our interviews are based on years of research and can be generated from your desktop or phone using E.A.S.I-Consult’s proprietary Four-Factor Model of competencies. The four factors describe essential attributes needed for success in any job. They include cognitive, emotional, interpersonal, and motivational attributes.

Within the four factors, there are 24 competencies:


  • Problem Solving | Business Acumen | Decision Making | Creativity | Learning Agility | Strategic Thinking |


  • Relationship Building | Interpersonal Sensitivity | Teamwork, and Collaboration | Talent Development | Customer Focus | Organizational Awareness |


  • Results Orientation | Influencing Others | Initiative | Embracing Change | Quality Focus | Communication


  • Adaptability | Risk Taking | Self Confidence | Valuing Diversity | Conflict Management | Professionalism |

Each competency addresses three levels of positions in an organization: Individual Contributor; 2) Manager, and 3) Senior Manager. The labels for the competencies are the same, no matter what level, but the behaviors required to perform at each level are different. For example, an Individual Contributor-level position requiring Results Orientation (motivational factor) would include “Sets challenging, yet achievable, goals for self.” For a Manager-level position, it would include, “Prioritizes responsibilities for others.” And for a Senior Manager-level position, you will find, “Articulates a compelling vision that builds commitment to a common goal.”  These are all examples of Results Orientation, but look different when being demonstrated, depending on your level in the organization.

The interview guide includes a page for each competency, behavioral descriptive questions, what to look for in the candidate’s responses, and a scale on which you can rate the quality of the person’s response.

 We have reduced the time it takes for you to create an exceptional interview from hours to just minutes, utilizing your design and E.A.S.I-Consult’s® method of customization. The cost to you is nominal (the price of dinner) compared to the time it will take to write your own interview of any type.

You can learn more about E.A.S.I-Interview® at https://easiconsult.com/structured-interviews/.

For a sample interview, you can create yourself in just minutes or speak with the author of this article about improving your interview process; contact us at https://easiconsult.com.


Regardless of your approach in the design of the employment interview, remember the importance of good preparation and the three key ingredients to a successful interview: Structure, Behavior, and Competencies, all of which are discussed in further detail in this article.



Why it Works

Years of research have identified three ingredients to a successful employment interview: Structure, Behavior, and Competencies.


Structured interviews have preplanned procedures and sets of questions that are asked of all candidates for the position being filled. The questions are tailored to fit the job (i.e., job-related). This produces a clear, concise interview and enables the interviewer to make better comparisons across candidates. Using a structured interview doubles the accuracy of hiring the right person for the job (validity coefficients rise from .34 to .67).[1] For non-statisticians, this is an exceptional doubling in the accuracy of your hiring decisions.


Focusing on behavior rather than a candidate’s reported opinion is the second ingredient necessary for a successful employment interview.[2] There are slightly different names for the approach. Behavioral Descriptive Interviews (BDI) is one title used in the field.

BDIs are based on the axiom that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. A typical BDI question might be: Describe to me a time when you had to motivate someone to do something they didn’t enjoy doing. Describe the situation, your actions, and the outcome.

BDI questions allow the interviewer to probe into the candidate’s answer, reducing the possibility for the candidate to embellish or fabricate information.


One of the most critical considerations in choosing interview questions is that they must be job relevant. Basing an interview on appropriate competencies aids the interviewer in focusing on job-relevant information. This ensures the usefulness[3] or validity of an interview and satisfies legal requirements around fair selection procedures.

Competencies are essential attributes needed of candidates to be successful on the job. For example, a competency used to hire a mid-level manager might be the capability to influence others. For a senior-level position, demonstrating business acumen would likely be an important competency to include in your interview.


About the Author

David Smith, Ph.D., is the president and CEO of E.A.S.I-Consult®. E.A.S.I-Consult works with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and mid-sized corporations to provide customized Talent Management solutions. E.A.S.I-Consult’s specialties include leadership assessment, online pre-employment testing, survey research, competency modeling, leadership development, executive coaching, 360-degree feedback, online structured interviews, and EEO hiring compliance. The company is a leader in the field of providing accurate information about people through professional assessment.

[1] Conway, J.M., Jako, R.A. & Goodman, D.F. (1996). Journal of Applied Psychology. 80, 565-579.

[2] Janz, T. (1982). Initial comparations of patterned behavioral descriptive interviews versus unstructured interviews. Journal of Applied Psychology, 67, 577-580.

[3]Gordon, R., Strother, M., Rosenau, S. & Cooper, Merri-Ann, (2008). Conducting a robust interview: The behaviorally and competency-based structured interview. HR News magazine, International Public Management Association for Human Resources.