Re: Something smells wrong
"industry best interview practice"
That doesn't help you. As you are a scientist, you'll know about the halo effect.
"If a person has one salient (available) good trait, his other characteristics are likely to be judged by others as better than they really are. Handsome men and women tend to be rated highly on intelligence, athletic prowess, sense of humour and so on. In fact physical appearance has little to do with such other characteristics: there is a small correlation between being handsome and being intelligent but it is not enough to account for the mistakes people make in their judgements."
"One of the most damaging ways in which the halo effect is ignored is the almost universal prevalence of the interview as a means of selection, whether for hospital staff, university students, army officers, the police, civil servants, or whomsoever. I will demonstrate later that the great majority of selection interviews are useless, and may indeed lower the chances of selecting the right candidate. Part of the reason is the halo effect: the interviewers are too influenced by comparatively trivial but salient aspects of the interviewee, which affect their judgement of his or her other characteristics."
"One of the most prized human faculties is intuition. Many people find it more hurtful to be accused of having poor intuition than of being slovenly, lazy or selfish. As Rochefoucauld said, ‘Everyone complains about the badness of his memory, nobody about his judgement.’ There are only a few dissenting voices – for example, it has been said that intuition is that strange instinct that tells a person he is right, whether he is or not."
If you want to know how to get the best chance of selecting the correct candidate, read chapter 20, 'The failure of intuition.'
Stuart Sutherland. Irrationality. ISBN 978-1-905177-07-3
In fact, read the whole book anyway...