I think questions like tell me about a time when......... And really most of the other questions they ask in job interviews are in my opinion not helpful in determining whether someone would be a good employee or not. For example for questions like "Do you work well with other people", how do you know with absolute certainty that someone is not just saying yes even though that's not really true.
If you give someone the opportunity to SHOW you what kind of an employee they would be by giving them a trial employment period, you will actually get to SEE them on the job, and that to me is the best way to determine wether they should be hired or not. If I had a business, this is what I would do.
Extroverts with nice personalities are favoured while people who may be more effective at the job but lack social skills are not.
On a practical level this is unlikely to work due to the reasons that the no side have presented, however this would be more fair and result in better candidates being hired as the assessment would be purely on ability in the workplace not ability to interview.
I would rather receive the 100 applications, make a brief review of them and choose the most likely candidates for the position and spend 20-30 minutes each with the top 10 and score the interviews accordingly.
This process would take 2-3 days. I would offer the the best candidate the position and see if they work out and if not I have 9 more of the top candidate to call if they do not show they are getting the hang of the position.
It would be unrealistic to choose the top 10 candidates give each a trial period to work to see which one is the better person for the job.
Say I have them all for a week, well thats 10 weeks of trial working. Whos to say the best wasn't the first person and when I try to call them back after 9 weeks of waiting they don't have a better job?
I may miss the chance to hire someone good, I have to pay for 10 weeks of paid training and nine of those weeks are for nothing as I am only going to hire one person. I also have to waste the pay on another individual for 10 weeks to do all the training of the potential new candidates.
During this time any number of these people may be less than honest and claim some time of workmans comp claim and cost additional money to my company.
While I think this is a great idea, it just could never happen for two reasons. The first is that it would only work for precious few jobs as there would just be too many applicants. What you could do is narrow it down first and then try. The second issue is that employers could just cycle theough applicants and never have to hire everyone.
To enforce this would infringe upon the rights of employers. They have the right to decide how they hire their employees, how many they hire, and what qualifications they look for. If an employer wanted to implement this idea in their own business, then so be it. However this is nothing that should be enforced, interviews should be allowed to act as a means of hiring. Besides, interviews show if an employee is trustworthy, if they have a good background, among other things. This trial employment theory if implemented is inherently risky, it simply isn't worth the liability.
I think interviewing is a very important skill in life. The ability to get a job through an interview is challenging and should be kept. Being a good employee isn't always about doing a good job, but being able to impress the person interviewing you to receive that job. It actually means you accomplish more by being calm personable and talkative in an interview. It also can show your personality.
For example, with actors, you might be amazing on the job, but if you don't give a good audition, you don't get it. It might seem unfair, but it is challenging and you should be able to get the job from an audition or interview. Auditioning is practically an art.
Abolishing it would be just trying to make life easier for the job applicants. I think interviews help challenge you and the ability to receive a job from a good interview is a huge skill that makes you more respected in the workforce.
Employing staff -- even on a trial basis -- is expensive and risky. In many sites, being forced to employ every shortlisted candidate would be impractical because:
1. On-costs (security and reference checks, training, equipment, induction, administration) would be multiplied;
2. It may be impractical to divide the work among multiple candidates;
3. Some candidates may need to relocate -- all for a job they may not keep;
4. It is unfair for candidates to invest hours on a worksite that may not want them;
5. Poor probity: difficulty of keeping each candidate's identity anonymous;
6. Higher risks to reputation, customers and other employees from disgruntled or unsuitable staff; and
7. Long-term fit cannot always be ascertained through short-term workplace performance.
I'm also concerned about the potential stress and inequity in forcing multiple candidates to compete in the workplace for the one job. It sounds like the sort of hostile cruelty one sees on a reality TV show.
An interesting idea, but a strong 'no thanks' from this employer. :)