Why does effective interviewing matter?
The short and simple answer is that it matters because it is essential that the doctors you select are fit for purpose. But this is not the only reason. It is also important to ensure that the interviewing process doesn’t include questions that are not permitted by any relevant legislation (e.g. the 2010 Equality Act) and that the interview gives a positive impression of the employing organisation).
It also needs to be stated that an anxiety about selecting the wrong person is not unique to medicine but in fact is found across the occupational spectrum. For example, Professor Linda Hill writing an educational resource on Recruitment and Selection published by Harvard Business Press begins as follows:
‘Have you ever hired the wrong person? If so, you remember it well – and you probably recall the cost to both you and your group. Bad hiring decisions are both expensive and painful to correct.’ (Hill, 2008, p.ix).
In medicine there is the additional complication that specialty recruitment and selection is often organised according to a national process, and only small numbers of local faculty may have contributed to any given recruitment round. This means that consultants will frequently be working with registrars whom they didn’t personally select. Indeed the majority of consultants in a given specialty will probably play little or no part in the process of selection into specialty training. In effect, interviewers on a specialty selection panel are not only recruiting trainees whom they may work with in future – but recruiting on behalf of other consultant colleagues as well.
It is also important to emphasise that the stakes are higher in medical recruitment and selection than in many other professions; if a company recruits a poor Sales Director it may impact significantly on the level of sales achieved. But as Patterson et al (2013) point out, poor recruitment and selection in medicine could potentially have a devastating effect on patients.
So that is why effective interviewing matters.