Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology

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Volume 61 Issue 4 (December 1988), Pages 275-353

A meta‐analytic investigation of the impact of interview format and degree of structure on the validity of the employment interview (pages 275-290)

A meta‐analysis of the employment interview was carried out to investigate the impact of interview format (individual vs. board interviews) and interview structure (unstructured vs. structured) on the validity of interviews. A thorough review of the unpublished and published literature worldwide yielded 150 usable validity coefficients for the meta‐analysis. Contrary to the predominantly pessimistic views of previous researchers, the interview was found to be a generally good selection instrument. These findings suggest that the ‘received doctrine’ of interview invalidity is false. However, interview structure moderated predictive validity coefficients to a considerable extent. In fact, structured interviews produced mean validity coefficients twice as high as unstructured interviews. Although considerable variance in structured interviews remained unaccounted for after adjustment for statistical artifacts, all of the variation in observed validity coefficients for unstructured interviews was accounted for. It was concluded that a number of social psychological processes examined in previous interview research would have little effect in moderating the validity coefficients of the unstructured interview. The results also suggest that higher validity coefficients are associated with more reliable interviews and the use of formal job‐analytic information in developing interview questions. Implications for research and practice in personnel psychology are explored.

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