The Corporate Interview Process like the Chinese Imperial Examination before it is broken. Today, if you seek high office in a company an interview process is mandatory as it was the case of examination for high officialdom from the early Han to the Qing dynasty of China in 1905. Our system of candidate selection is symptomatic of our own demise as an economic power and if it is not arrested will lead to our overshadowing by more agile powers. If as a recruitment agency you are still investing man hours into the interview process you are basically wasting time by tricking yourself into believing that a subjective process is actually objective. 

What’s wrong? 

The interview process needs to be replaced, what with I will tell you; but first let’s take a moment to consider what makes the interview process broken.

1)      The interview is a beauty pageant which diverts attention from substance to forms

2)      The interview relies heavily on the subjective feelings of interviewers at different times rather than on objective measurement in a controlled environment

3)      The interview process uses a short window of testing time, a sprint as it were to test what will be a long distance race of “the career”

4)      The interview process is a job lottery which rewards one candidate at the expense of the time, energy and emotional capacity of all the other candidates

What all of this means is that a lot of man hours are being spent both on the side of the company and on the side of the unemployed work force to fit into a process which doesn’t actually prove worthiness. 

What should we be trying to prove? 

Experience jumps to mind, though in the recruitment world this is mainly a cover for ageism.  A more precise term would be applied cognitive functions; basically, how you have used your brain in the past.

Education jumps to mind, although this is a cover for elitism in many cases. I believe that the function of the university is to measure and hone the cognitive ability of its pupils. In its function of measuring cognitive ability through grades a lot of work has gone into unifying the various systems around the world so that an objective standard can be arrived at.  NARIC does a lot of work in this respect to ensure that grades achieved outside of the UK can be judged on a comparable level to a UK education.

There are other things such as: the ability to produce fresh ideas, ambition, work ethic and social and cultural graces.

We should be trying to prove past present and future cognitive ability based on a holistic and objective measure.  

The solution to the interview 

The alternative to the interview is the use of scientific and technological innovations to identify ideal candidates efficiently. Without giving away our secret, we will be mapping the individual relative to the job in an easy process which only has to be done once. Once that is done the individual will be matched to various jobs which are within their cognitive ability. The candidate will then have the option to accept or decline the job posting.  Competition will be digitized and the physical rat race of attending tens if not hundreds of interviews will be over.  Caribbean East Atlantic Company Limited is in the process of laying to rest the interview process. 

Conclusion (Why is this important.)

My outlook on the interview process is informed by a historic understanding of the Chinese Imperial Examination. In its heyday The Imperial Exam, like The Interview Process, served the purpose of bonding together the elite but its demise was written in its rise because it encouraged uniformity and crushed individualism. Separate from what it was is what it represented. It represented a way of doing things in an economic empire. When that system was no longer fit for purpose it was not replaced quickly enough and it heralded the defeat of the Chinese Empire at the hands of smaller but more agile nations. If the west is to remain a dominant force then it has to reinvent itself quickly enough in its processes at all levels. The Interview [and selection] Process, much like The Imperial Examination, in another place and another time before it, needs to be reinvented.

My name is Peter Campbell, reporting from company headquarters in London. Seek and you shall find. 


Candidate taking Imperial Examination