Difficult Interviews Lead to Greater Job Satisfaction

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By Caryn Freeman

Oct. 29 — More difficult job interviews lead to higher employee job satisfaction, but if they are overly arduous they can have the opposite effect, according to a new study from Glassdoor, the Mill Valley, Calif.-based jobs website.

“Do Difficult Job Interviews Lead to More Satisfied Workers?” was released Oct. 29. It found that across six countries—the U.S., the UK, Canada, Australia, Germany and France—a 10 percent more difficult job interview process is associated with 2.6 percent higher employee satisfaction.

The study compiled more than 154,000 pairs of employee job interviews and company reviews submitted to Glassdoor. Interview difficulty ratings were based on a 5-point scale, with 1 equalling “very easy” and 5 being “very difficult.”

Hard, but Not Too Hard

According to the study, the level of interview difficulty that leads to the highest employee satisfaction is a 4. Interviews with a 2-point ranking and the most difficult 5-point interviews were both associated with lower employee satisfaction, the study found.

The study said one possibility that might explain the findings is that interviews ranked 1 are simply “too easy” to provide an effective screen for incoming candidates and can lead to hiring mistakes. By contrast, 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 study said.

Re-evaluate Interview Processes

Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor, told Bloomberg BNA in a Oct. 28 e-mail that simply making the interview process more challenging won't necessarily lead you to the most satisfied workers.

“Does that mean you should just ask harder questions? No. This information sends a signal to organizations that they should re-evaluate their interview processes to ensure they're asking the right questions to better understand a candidate's skill set, whether they will be a cultural fit and if they can do the job,” Chamberlain said.

The Glassdoor report offered tips for employers looking to improve their interviewing process.

• Don't shy away from tough questions, just have a purpose for asking them. Using business problems, coding tests or writing tests during the interview can get at the heart of the skills the candidate needs to perform the job well.
• Have a pre-interview game plan. Meet with recruiters and team members before interviews begin. Review the questions each interviewer should ask and hold a group debriefing after the interview.
• Scan for culture fit. Ask behavioral questions, not just questions about previous work history, past employers and technical skills.

To contact the reporter on this story: Caryn Freeman in Washington at cfreeman@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Nadel at snadel@bna.com

For More Information 
For more information on the study, go to http://src.bna.com/ON.