How To Pick Eagles

Nov 7th, 2002 by Tony in * papers

All available research indicates that the ability of a manger to predict how a future employee will perform, based upon a one hour interview, is very low. Yet most managers have great confidence in their predictive ability based upon impressions formed in a brief interview.

There appear to be two main reasons for this mismatch of effectiveness. First, interviewees tend to give sociably desirable answers to the interviewer. Second, the interviewer’s biases are formed by a poor research methodology. Assume an interviewer interviews five people for a high-scope job. After interviewing each candidate, the interviewer selects the person who was rated the highest. This person joins the company and is an above-average employee for the next two or three years. The interviewer’s impressions about his predictive ability are reinforced because he sees the positive results of his interview. What the interviewer doesn’t know is how the other four would have performed. They may even be superior to the person hired.

— Robert A. Zawacki, “How To Pick Eagles”, Datamation, September 15, 1985.

1 Comment

  • Dr. Robert A. Zawacki

    Dear People, It is very interesting to read a summary of my research. Can I ask what your motivation is by placing this on your web site.

    Sincerely, Old Bob The Cheerful Malcontent