Pros and cons of interview questions in advance
What are the benefits of giving candidates interview questions in advance? There are many but there downsides too.
Hiring teams providing candidates with interview questions in advance is part of a new discussion intended to make the recruitment process more inclusive.
As with any systemic change the idea has met with mixed reactions and there are pros and cons to this approach.
Pros and cons of interview questions in advance
1. Anxiety management
Pros: Many candidates get nervous and experience anxiety before interviews. Providing them with interview questions in advance allows them to prepare and feel more confident, which can lead to better performance and reduce the number of dropouts.
Cons: There is a risk of robotic rehearsed answers resulting in scripted, less genuine responses. This can make it difficult to assess a candidate’s true abilities and personality.
Pros: Giving all candidates the same questions in advance ensures a level playing field. It helps eliminate the potential bias that may arise from differences in candidates’ familiarity with the topics or their ability to think on their feet.
Cons: When candidates have different levels of preparation, it can be challenging to compare them fairly and make informed decisions about who is the best fit for the role. One candidate may only need a short time to prepare, another half a day.
3. Assessment of knowledge and preparation
Pros: When candidates have time to prepare their answers, you can more accurately gauge their knowledge, problem-solving skills, and how well they can articulate their thoughts.
Cons: Not all candidates will take advantage of the opportunity to prepare equally. Some may invest more time and effort into preparing, while others may not, creating an imbalance in the interview process. One candidate may prepare a good response in half an hour. Another may take longer.
4. Candidate experience
Pro: A transparent and considerate approach can improve the overall candidate experience, enhancing your employer brand.
Con: Some candidates may feel even more nervous.
5. Evaluates critical thinking
Pros: Preparing answers in advance often leads candidates to think more critically about the questions and their responses. This can provide deeper insights into their problem-solving abilities and thought processes.
Cons: Rehearsed answers can result in a lack of authenticity in the interview process, making it challenging to gauge a candidate’s true personality and cultural fit within the organization.
6. Time efficiency
Pros: Candidates who have prepared their answers in advance may provide more concise and relevant responses, which can streamline the interview process and save time for both parties.
Cons: The reverse could be true. Extra preparation times could lead to longer interview sessions, as candidates have had the opportunity to prepare more detailed responses. This can be challenging if time is limited.
7. Diversity and Inclusion
Pros: Some candidates may face barriers that make on-the-spot responses challenging, such as language barriers, cognitive disabilities, or neurodiversity. It also helps introverts or those who struggle with performing under pressure. Providing interview questions in advance can help level the playing field for these candidates.
Cons: Other candidates excel at thinking on their feet and may feel that they can’t play to their strengths.
8. Interviewer-candidate interaction
Pros: When candidates are well-prepared, interviews can become more conversational, allowing for a better and more natural exchange of information and assessment of cultural fit.
Cons: Structured interviews can lead to less organic discussion with candidates showing difficulty responding to spontaneous follow-up questions or engaging in a dynamic conversation.
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9. Alignment with job requirements
Pros: By providing interview questions in advance, you can ensure that the interview focuses on topics and skills directly related to the job, improving the alignment between the assessment and the position’s requirements. They can share case studies and success stories;
Cons: Some candidates might be tempted to obtain assistance from others, such as professional interview coaches or friends, or even AI to craft their responses, which can lead to dishonest representations of their abilities.
10. Evaluation of soft skills
Pros: Candidates can prepare anecdotes and succcesss stories that showcase their soft skills, such as teamwork, leadership, and conflict resolution. This can lead to more accurate evaluations of these skills during the interview.
Cons: On-the-spot questioning in interviews can simulate the pressure and stress that may be present in the actual job, helping assess how candidates perform under those conditions. Providing questions in advance may undermine this aspect of assessment.
11. Problem solving skills
Pros: Spontaneous questions can reveal a candidate’s on the spot problem-solving abilities and how they approach unfamiliar challenges.
Cons: Providing questions in advance may not assess these skills as effectively or even at all.
When hiring teams provide questions in advance they are making their process more accessible to those who struggle with the high-pressure interview process. But it’s important to strike a balance. Some roles require the ability to think fast under pressure and to adapt to unexpected situations.
A good approach is to make provision for a mix of both. Some interview questions could be delivered in advance while allocating time for some spontaneous questions to assess a broader range of skills and qualities.
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