Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I spent many years on search committees in higher education. I’ve since discovered that one of the most important tools to ask potential candidates is to actually create a syllabus for a course they might teach. Many candidates may not know how to create a syllabus, but they can research it and create one.
By doing this, they show that they would be able to find information for which they did not yet have experience. And, the resultant syllabus will show the quality of their thinking.
This approach, what the author in the article below calls “show, don’t tell,” helps compensate for applicants that are good talkers or any biases of the selection committee. Read the article below about how Thomas Edison utilized a similar aspect when interviewing potential research assistants.
Thomas Edison Made Job Applicants Eat Soup in Front of Him. It Sounds Crazy But Modern Science Suggests He Was on to Something
by Jessica Stillman, Inc. Magazine, 1/12/21.
… First off, it’s important to know that study after study shows that interviews as they’re usually conducted are pretty close to useless. Asking people questions (even expert-recommended behavioral or hypothetical questions) tends to advantage slick talkers over the actually competent (though there are some tricks to minimize this effect). Interviewers are also notoriously swayed by biases and irrelevant details of self presentation.
What does modern science suggest instead? Perhaps not so surprisingly, just testing candidates on the actual skills and competencies required to do the job. A trial assignment, sample work project, or domain specific test far outperform just talking with candidates about their previous work experience, character, and goals.
Show, don’t tell.
… If you want to really understand who candidates are and what they can do, design ways to observe them solving relevant problems. You’ll always get a better sense of a person based on what they do than on what they say.
Read more at … https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/hiring-job-interviews-thomas-edison.html