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Are job interviews obsolete?

Seth Godin is never shy of . His willingness to speak and write his mind is a primary reason that his "Permission Marketing" made its way to the New York Times Best Seller List.


So it's of little surprise that he has prompted another provocative debate in the blogosphere with a recent post that challenges the need for job interviews: "I've been to thousands of job interviews (thankfully as an interviewer mostly) and I have come to the conclusion that the entire effort is a waste of time. At least half the interview finds the interviewer giving an unplanned and not very good overview of what the applicant should expect from this job," Godin writes.

"Unlike most of the marketing communications the organization does, this spiel is unvetted, unnatural and unmeasured. No one has ever sat down and said, "When we say X, is it likely the applicant understands what we mean? Are we putting our best foot forward? Does it make it more likely that the right people will want to work here, for the right reasons?" [tell the truth, do you test your job interview spiel the same way you test your web results or even your direct mail?] The other half is dedicated to figuring out whether the applicant is good at job interviews or not."

Blog community response:

"My philosophy: make them do the job--don't ask them if they can do the job. Like Seth's story, I too have had one disasterous hiring incident. Although in my case, the individual was quite capable of doing the job, but he was otherwise clinically insane. You live and learn."
--Observations from a tech architect

"I agree that the job interview can and is almost always a waste. That said, the labor laws make it difficult for us to do a lot of the suggestions Seth puts out. And we do live in a lawsuit oriented society."
--Management Craft

"This can work well if the organization has to hire senior level professionals who need to understand the organization from a Leader perspective. However this will not work in case of regular entry or middle management level opening since the logistics required and the time available to fill the position may not be available."