Academic journal article Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling

The Decision-Oriented Interview (DOI) as an In-Depth Selection Interview

Academic journal article Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling

The Decision-Oriented Interview (DOI) as an In-Depth Selection Interview

Article excerpt


The Decision-Oriented Interview (DOI) as an in-depth selection interview technique is presented. The core idea of the Decision-Oriented Interview is described. Questions in a DOI are depicted in detail and then the interview guide for the DOI is characterized with its functions and features. A typical part of an interview guide for the description of behavior in a performance-differentiating situation illustrates the decision-oriented approach. In the outlook it is shown that the DOI rules can be very helpful in many fields of applied psychology as well as for collecting the very first information in a field of psychological research or test development.

Key words: in-depth interview, selection interview, Decision-Oriented Interview, interview guide, interview rules, checklists, Decision-Oriented Assessment,

Introduction: The Decision-Oriented Interview (DOI) as a toolkit

A Decision-Oriented Interview is an interview that is planned, executed and evaluated according to scientific psychological criteria to enable decision-makers to reach satisfy-ing decisions (Westhoff & Kluck, 2012, p. 103). We use the term "satisfying" to characterize decisions under uncertainty (i.e. decisions where we don't know the best alternative in advance) when, after implementation of the decision, the decision-maker has no regrets about the way the decision was reached. There are a number of different reasons why decision-makers may regret the way a decision was reached, for example because they failed to take all the possible alternatives into consideration, because they didn't inform themselves adequately about the alternatives, because they weren't clear about their goals or values, or because they didn't have any contingency plans drawn up in case the alternative they actually selected turned out to be a bad choice.

Proficiency assessment is a sequence of inevitable decisions. If decision-makers do not reach each of these decisions with appropriate deliberation, they run the risk of later regretting how they reached their final decision because they made a mistake that could have been avoided. Decision-Oriented Assessment (DOA) (Westhoff & Kluck, 2012, first published 1991) provides a collection of rules for the whole process of psychological assessment which can also be used in the human resources sector. Our aim in this article is to offer an introduction to the Decision-Oriented Interview (DOI) - one component of the DOA process - in a way that is easy to follow. The DOI consists of a set of rules for the 1. planning, 2. execution, and 3. evaluation of proficiency assessment interviews. This article explains with illustrative examples what these rules mean in practice and how they are applied for planning the DOI as an in-depth selection interview. - The personal pronoun "we" is used in the following text because not only the members of the writer's team but a growing number of psychologists in the German-speaking countries and in all fields of applied psychology have been working with good success according to DOA and hence the DOI rules for more than two decades.

So-called "in-depth interviews" are used to develop a qualitative description of a candidate's behavior, i.e. how the candidate behaves, or has behaved in the past, under specific conditions. The assumption is that candidates will behave in the future in a similar way as in the past. There are scattered references to this kind of interview in the literature. The DOI systematizes the in-depth interview in a collection of rules that are compiled into well-structured checklists (Westhoff, 2013a).

The core idea of the Decision-Oriented Interview (DOI)

In the DOI the interviewer always lets the interviewee describe their concrete behavior and experience in a specific situation, such that "I can imagine it as though I were watching a movie". The interviewer describes the critical incident to the interviewee and asks them to describe in detail what then happened in this performance-differentiating situation. …

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