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Mitigating subjectivity and inconsistency in applicant interviews

Classification: Health

Regulatory Body




Interviews can be an effective way to evaluate competency, especially where applicants have diverse practical experience. However, interviews may be vulnerable to subjective and inconsistent decision-making.

The College of Respiratory Therapists of Ontario (CRTO) uses an interview as part of its assessment of internationally educated applicants, many of whom have practical experience that greatly differs from Canadian-educated applicants.

The CRTO mitigates subjectivity and inconsistency in the interview process in a number of ways:

  • The interview format was developed with a psychometrician to ensure validity and promote consistent decision-making.
  • The interview follows the Behaviour Description Interview (BDI) approach, which is well-established as a valid and reliable means of predicting future performance based on past performance.
  • BDI methodology is enhanced by behavioural scoring anchors based on the profession's National Competency Profile.
  • The interview uses two or more questions to assess each competency to obtain multiple samples of behaviour and is administered by a panel. This encourages procedural fairness (e.g., increased rating reliability and decreased potential for bias).
  • Every interview is scored immediately after its administration.
  • Interviewers are trained in substantive and procedural issues related to the scoring process and rating accuracy.

The interview is one of three components of the CRTO's assessment of internationally educated applicants (in addition to educational review and clinical skills assessment). Interview findings alone will not exclude applicants from other steps in the assessment process.

This allows the CRTO to balance its need for flexibility in determining competency while upholding the rigour of its overall assessment process.

Value to Regulator

  • Helps to ensure adherence to published criteria, policies and procedures.
  • Helps to ensure quality of qualifications assessment decisions. Assessment tools and processes measure what they intend to measure and yield consistent results.
  • Helps to accommodate diverse needs of applicants.
  • Helps to prevent potential for unintended or differential impact on non-traditional applicants.

Value for Applicants

  • Helps applicants better understand the registration process and what to expect.
  • Helps applicants better understand assessment of qualifications process and results of assessment.
  • Resources and alternative ways to meet registration requirements are available to applicants.
  • Enables applicants to meet registration requirements in more efficient way; process is streamlined and registration requirements are relevant and fair.
  • Provides applicants with valid and reliable assessments

Duties from Registration Practices Assessment Guides

This practice falls under the following duties from the Registration Practices Assessment Guides:

  • Information for Applicants
  • Objectivity

Profession's Membership Size

Medium (2,000 to 10,000 members)

Date of publication:

Aug 19, 2014