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Time to Revisit Transparent Interviews?

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Is it time to revisit transparent interviews?

During my HR Manager days, I used to think Transparent Interviews were ‘cheating’; not taken seriously, used by public sector bodies to give internal applicants unfair advantage over external applicants. The list went on and I wasn’t a fan.

In our continued world of candidate scarcity, I and most of my clients are regularly reviewing selection/vetting processes to ensure they are as effective as possible in screening candidates, which led me to revisit the Transparent Interview. Soft substitute for ‘real’ interviews, or fair and reliable way of consistently measuring a candidate’s performance?

Firstly, a quick recap of what a Transparent Interview is:

Essentially, candidates are supplied with some or all of the interview questions in advance of the interview itself. The rationale being that given time to prepare examples of experiences and incidents that illustrate their competence (or otherwise) in criteria essential to success in the job gives both interviewer and candidate a better outcome than struggling to elicit or find the right example on the day. Then, as the candidate recalls the perfect example that would have secured them the job on the way home, the employer decides to continue the search elsewhere.

It's common for employers to provide comprehensive preparation support for psychometric or skills testing, presentations, and other parts of the selection/vetting process, yet the interview preparation is typically at best a competency-based position description that gives pointers and clues as to what the questions might be. 

How many jobs require successful incumbents to pluck perfect examples to illustrate their competence under pressure? Some, but by no means all.

Here’s a short read from someone who implemented Transparent Interviews to their selection/vetting process and the positive impacts the change had on everyone involved:

‘Transparent’ interviewing can bring benefits for both candidates and recruiters

This article was adapted from a piece originally authored by Nyree Grierson and was first published at:




About the Authors

Giles Pearson FCA was a PwC Partner for 18 years before jointly setting up Accountests.  

Steve Evans has a whole career dedicated to enabling employers to attract, recruit, develop and retain talented individuals and teams, with particular expertise in candidate testing and assessment before setting up Accountests.

Accountests deliver the world’s only online suite of annually updated and country-specific technical knowledge tests designed by accountants for accountants and bookkeepers.

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