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New job interview method being corporatized

By Jan Rose     May 18, 2009 in Business
Job seekers take note: a new interview method developed at McMaster University that is difficult to ace might appear in the corporate world.
Known as MMI for Multiple Mini Interview the evaluation process focuses on “soft skills” such as attitude, integrity, ability to communicate ideas, ability to get along with people, and give and accept critical feedback.
Developed at McMaster University's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, MMI was introduced in 2004 to medical-school applicants and is being adapted to the corporate world.
Jack Rosenfeld, professor emeritus of pathology and molecular medicine and co-creator of the MMI, says answering questions posed by potential future colleagues in the current corporate job interview process is an inadequate way to evaluate how a candidate will perform in the job. The goal of the appraisal process was to go beyond the traditional question-and-answer session.
Some colleagues referred to traditional interviews before the introduction of MMI as nothing better than a crapshoot, he says.
At McMaster, MMI works by having applicants move from one mini-interview to the next. Students pass through 10 to 12 stations, each operated by an assessor who grades the applicant's performance. In addition to teamwork stations applicants are asked to discuss ethical questions or participate in scenarios acted out by current medical students.
In the five years since introduction MMI has radically changed the way most Canadian medical schools evaluate and select students. It is used by 12 of Canada's 17 medical schools, as well as schools of dentistry, nursing and midwifery. The format has spread to England, Australia and New Zealand.
McMaster is helping to incubate a start-up company, ProFitHR, based on the methodology and materials. ProFitHR hopes to attract companies as licensees, and in the process change the corporate job interview forever.
Elizabeth Holland, owner of Career Council, a Toronto interview-coaching firm, believes organizations are open to changing the traditional job interview. However, she cautions that MMI's acceptance within companies could be tempered by the time and expense of setting up multiple stations with multiple assessors.
Currently, she says, MMI would likely work for those rare senior executive roles, where a corporation is willing to invest a significant amount of time and there are a large n Job seekers take note: a new interview method might appear in corporations.
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