To Train or Not To Train: Hiring Managers and Interviewing

The process of interviewing and selecting the best candidate looks different across organizations. Some processes involve recruiters, hiring managers, team members, and other executives but often the responsibility of interviewing is delegated to a single hiring manager. 

However, hiring managers are usually working managers who eventually become the new hire’s supervisor. This means that they bring invaluable experience and knowledge of the job itself but may need additional support to navigate interviewing and hiring. 

Should hiring managers receiving training on how to hire?

Hiring managers, regardless of their hiring experience, bring value through their knowledge of the job. They know what their teams and the position being hired for need. And so, hiring managers might not need extensive training in what to hire for. Instead, the training should target how to hire what they are looking for in an evidence-based manner.

Interview training encompasses any opportunities for learning and development which target the improvement of interviewing processes. The goal is to improve evaluation and successful performance prediction. Interviewing is a skill that can be taught, developed, and practiced. Hiring managers can access interviewing training materials from internal or external developmental sources. 

As they improve their candidate interviewing skills, hiring managers can more accurately and fairly predict top talent to drive business goals. Training will also improve the efficiency of interviewing making the process less burdensome for hiring managers. New hires and talent are an organization’s biggest asset. Indeed, when asked about the value of new hires, organizations believe bad hires can cost them over $50,000. 

A challenge that organizations might face is encouraging hiring managers to attend interviewing training sessions and then apply changes to their process. From a hiring manager’s perspective, their process has worked well so far, so why should it be changed?

Why change your hiring process?

The key to change is instilling motivation for change within hiring managers. This can be done by emphasizing your organization’s “why” for change: the importance and the attractiveness of the outcomes. Your why will vary across teams and departments but can include elements such as accurately selecting top talent, impressing candidates with a strong interviewing experience, retaining talent and reducing turnover, improving diverse selection efforts, and avoiding bias or legal concerns in hiring. 

Whether your organization facilitates internal interview training, third-party training sources, or implements technology to support your interviewing process, these evidence-based methods will help you as a hiring manager to become a stronger evaluator. Interview training can be extensive and often includes complex structured interview techniques, methods to avoid bias, and applying behavioral science when developing interview questions. 

Tips to strengthen your interview skills

The following four tips can help hiring managers strengthen their interviewing skills for stronger and fairer candidate evaluations:

  1. Document What You’re Hiring For: Writing a detailed job description is crucial when hiring to give you a clear picture of what you want in an ideal candidate. Think of the most important skills, abilities, and knowledge that a candidate would need to perform well on the job. Find more information about writing strong job descriptions here
  2. Structure Your Interview: Research has consistently shown that the best interviews are structured ones. This includes both structured and consistent questions based on job-relevant skills and also answer guides to help you evaluate candidate answers. You can improve structure further by making sure all candidates are asked the same question, and interviewed by the same person or team through a similar process (e.g., all virtual or all in-person). Find more information about how to conduct structured interviews here.
  3. Acknowledge Bias then Address It: Unconscious bias in interviewing can hinder both fair evaluations and also the selection of the best candidate. It is important for hiring managers to acknowledge that we all have different unconscious biases before building systems to manage these biases. Structuring your process and grounding your decisions in job-relevant evidence will ultimately help address bias.  
  4. Keep Candidates in Mind: The job interview is a 2-way experience. You are not just interviewing the candidate – they are also interviewing you! Prepare and practice your questions ahead of time while also anticipating what questions the candidate might ask of you. 

Interested in built-in interviewing best practices?

Hireguide’s evidence-based questions, templates, answer guides and overall interview flow can easily help you fairly assess candidates’ skills. Our blog and Learn materials will help you easily develop your interviewing skills as a hiring manager. Schedule a free demo today to start making better data-driven decisions!

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