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Want Happy Employees? Make Hiring Harder

Want Happy Employees? Make Hiring Harder
Credit: PathDoc/Shutterstock

If you want happier employees, you might want to try making your job interviews a little bit tougher, a new study suggests.

New research from Glassdoor revealed that for employers in the United States, a 10 percent more difficult job interview process is associated with 2.5 percent higher employee satisfaction later on.

The study discovered that on a five-point scale — where 1 equals very easy, 3 equals average and 5 equals very difficult —the interview level that leads to the highest employee happiness is 4 out of 5.

The research found that both the easiest and the most difficult interviews were associated with lower employee satisfaction. The researchers said possible reasons for this are that 1-point interviews are too easy to effectively screen incoming candidates, while 5-point interviews may be an indication of deeper dysfunction within companies, such as an aggressive work culture that is harmful to employee satisfaction.

The study's authors said it's critical that employers use job interviews to determine which candidates are the best matches for their open positions. [The 'Imaginary' Question Every Job Interviewer Should Ask ]

"Good matches lead to more productive and satisfied employees, while poor matches lead to low productivity and dissatisfied workers that can lead to higher turnover," the study's authors wrote.

The goal should be to create an interview experience that is difficult, but not overwhelming, for job candidates, according to the study.

"The optimal interview difficulty allows hiring managers to carefully screen candidates for ability and cultural fit, among other skills, without leaving the candidate feeling confused or defeated," the study's authors wrote. "Finding the optimal interview difficulty can help promote higher-quality job matches, encourage more satisfied employees, and ultimately help boost productivity and reduce employee turnover."

The results hold true for employers and employees outside the U.S as well. The study found a similar increase in employee happiness from tougher job interviews across the other five countries examined: Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany and France.

The study was based on a panel of more than 154,000 Glassdoor users who contributed both interview reviews and subsequent company reviews.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.