Teaching your managers to interview better is important in getting the best results from your hiring process. Updating the interview training for your hiring managers can give them better skills and knowledge, empowering them to make informed hiring decisions that will lead to a stronger workforce.
Even experienced hiring managers can benefit from ongoing training.
Through training, your company can teach your managers how to interview effectively, better prepare for those interviews, and evaluate candidates without bias. Updating your interview training for hiring managers can improve your employer brand and attract better candidates.
Understanding the effect of manager interview training
Training hiring managers on how to interview has an immediate and enduring impact on your hiring process and the company’s success.
Additional training helps to eliminate bias and improve the overall candidate experience. This will help your company hire better candidates.
A positive interviewing experience for candidates conveys professionalism and respect. This will help build your employer brand.
Developing an effective interviewing skills training program
Each hiring manager should understand how to conduct effective interviews. Effective interviews give your company the best chance to properly assess a candidate’s qualifications, skills, and fit within your team.
Ideally, your talent acquisition leader will be involved in the development of your interviewing skills training program. They will likely be enthusiastic subject matter experts on this.
Take advantage of their experience.
Understanding the hiring process
The hiring process involves several steps, such as defining job requirements and hiring criteria, sourcing candidates, conducting interviews, and making the final decision on which job seekers will get a job offer.
Hiring managers need to clearly understand this process, including the interview stage, to be in the best position to evaluate candidates. Proper training can help you navigate the complex hiring process and ensure your team hires the best candidate for the job.
Preparation before the interview
Candidates expect they will be interviewed by someone familiar with their background and skills. Inexperienced hiring managers will read the candidate’s resumes and assume they are ready to begin the interview.
But more should be done to prepare for the interview properly.
Analyzing the job description
The first step in interview preparation for a hiring manager is carefully reviewing the job description. This will help them to understand the requirements and responsibilities of the role.
Before the interview, hiring managers should make sure to:
- Identify the key skills and qualifications needed for the position.
- Determine which aspects of the job are most important to the company.
- Note any preferred or required experience or education.
Hiring managers can use this information to develop targeted, structured interview questions to evaluate candidates properly.
Researching the candidate
The next step is for hiring managers to take some time to research the candidate. They should begin by thoroughly reviewing the resume and any other resources the candidate may have provided, such as a cover letter or portfolio.
- Relevant work experience that demonstrates a candidate’s skills and qualifications.
- Gaps in employment or other potential red flags that may need further clarification.
- Unique accomplishments or experiences that can help set them apart from other candidates.
By familiarizing themselves and the entire interview team with the candidate’s background, hiring managers will be better equipped to evaluate a candidate’s interview.
Interview location and attendees
A job interview can be conducted in various settings, and the choice depends on factors like the company’s culture, the nature of the role, and the availability of resources. Here are some common options:
- On-Site at the Company’s Office—This traditional approach provides candidates with a firsthand experience of the company’s physical work environment. It allows them to observe the office culture, interact with potential colleagues, and get a sense of the company’s atmosphere.
An on-site interview is particularly suitable for roles that require a strong on-site presence or when the company aims to showcase its workplace.
- Virtual Interviews—The evolution of remote work and technology has popularized virtual interviews via video conferencing. This option offers flexibility for candidates who are not geographically close to the company or when travel is challenging, and they are very convenient for interviewers who may not be available otherwise.
- Co-Working Spaces—Co-working spaces provide a professional and neutral interview setting, especially relevant for smaller companies or those without a permanent office space. These spaces offer amenities like meeting rooms, ensuring a suitable environment for discussions without requiring a long-term lease.
- Coffee Shops or Cafes—Informal roles or initial screenings might be conducted in coffee shops or cafes. This relaxed setting can help candidates feel more at ease and facilitate casual conversation, although it might not be appropriate for all roles.
- Panel or Team Interviews—For positions that involve teamwork or close collaboration, conducting interviews with a panel of potential team members offers a more comprehensive assessment. This setting gives candidates insights into team dynamics and helps interviewers gauge how well the candidate fits into the existing group.
- Off-Site Locations—Certain roles, such as those in construction, manufacturing, or retail, might involve activities that occur outside the office. In such cases, interviews can be conducted at locations relevant to the role, providing a contextual understanding of the job’s demands.
- Remote Interviews: When candidates cannot physically attend an interview, remote interviews via phone or video call offer a solution. They are particularly useful for initial screenings or assessing communication skills. However, they might need a more personal touch of in-person interactions.
- Assessment Centers: In more elaborate evaluations, assessment centers engage candidates in a series of activities that simulate the tasks and challenges they might face in the role. This approach provides a holistic view of a candidate’s abilities and suitability.
When selecting a location, it’s important to consider factors such as the role’s requirements, candidate convenience, the image the company wants to project, and the logistics involved. Regardless of the setting chosen, the interview environment should reflect professionalism, fairness, and a genuine interest in assessing the candidate’s qualifications and fit for the role.
When choosing a location, consider the comfort and accessibility for both the candidate and the interviewers. Regardless of the setting, the interview environment should be professional, comfortable, and conducive to effective communication and assessment.
Incorporating performance-based assessments with your company’s interview preparation allows your company to evaluate a candidate’s real-world problem-solving abilities better.
Consider creating scenario-based questions or tasks that align with skills training and the job requirements. For example:
- If the role requires project management skills, provide a project scenario, and ask the candidate how they would handle it from beginning to end.
- For technical positions, ask the candidate to complete a coding task or solve a technical problem related to their area of expertise.
By including performance-based assessments in your interview preparation, you can effectively gauge a candidate’s ability to perform beyond just evaluating their past experiences.
TrueAbility, one of the leading providers of performance-based assessments, provides customizable, objective assessments that align with specific roles.
Conducting the interview
Conducting an interview is about assessing the candidate and representing the company in a positive light. A well-conducted interview leaves a lasting impression on candidates, regardless of the outcome, and contributes to the overall employer brand.
Structured versus unstructured interviews
When preparing for the interview process, deciding between conducting a structured or unstructured interview is essential.
Structured interviews involve predetermined interview questions designed to gather consistent information across all candidates. This method helps you compare applicants more objectively.
On the other hand, unstructured interviews provide a more casual approach, allowing for open-ended questions and free-form conversation. While this can lead to a better rapport with the candidate, it might lead to less consistent evaluations.
Choosing the technique best suited to your organization’s needs is important.
Developing behavioral questions
Incorporate behavioral questions into the interview to better understand how a candidate might perform in the role.
Behavioral questions focus on job-specific skills and past experiences and situations, prompting the candidate to discuss how they addressed challenges or achieved successes.
To create effective behavioral questions, consider the role’s key responsibilities and identify the qualities necessary for success. For example, you might ask how a candidate handled a conflict with a coworker or managed a difficult deadline.
Conducting insightful interviews requires preparation and active listening. The goal should be to set a professional yet relaxed tone to start a two-way dialogue and to better evaluate the candidate’s skills and potential fit in the company.
Reading nonverbal cues
Interviewers should pay attention to the candidate’s nonverbal cues, such as body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. These signals can provide valuable information about their confidence, interest, and emotional intelligence.
Keep in mind that different cultures may have different interpretations of body language. Remind hiring managers to be conscious of potential biases and not rely solely on nonverbal cues to evaluate candidates.
Remember, while it’s essential to gauge a candidate’s fit for the role through questions and observation, creating a welcoming environment and treating every candidate with respect is crucial.
This ensures a positive candidate experience and reflects your company’s values well.
Preventing bias in the interviewing process
Preventing bias in the interviewing process protects your company from discrimination claims and helps your company get better, more diverse candidates. It will help improve your talent pool and your employee team.
Identifying unconscious bias
Unconscious biases are deeply rooted in our minds and can unknowingly shape decision-making during interviews and hiring. The first step to prevent this is to become aware of your biases.
Reflect on your thoughts and actions, question whether stereotypes or past experiences influence them, and encourage everyone on your interview team to do the same.
Acknowledge that everyone has biases, and strive to recognize them to make more objective interview decisions.
Discrimination can occur when biases influence the selection process. To ensure a fair evaluation, follow these practical steps:
- Use an interview guide—This provides consistency and helps avoid asking questions based on personal biases.
- Ask standardized questions—Tailor questions for each role but keep them consistent across candidates to maintain a fair comparison.
- Take notes—Jot down your thoughts as interviews progress to help you remember critical points and make more objective evaluations.
- Evaluate candidates equally—Assess candidates using predefined criteria, ensuring a fair comparison and mitigating personal biases’ influence.
- Involve multiple interviewers—By including different perspectives, you reduce the chance of any single person’s biases overwhelming the decision-making process.
By following these tips, you can create a less biased interview process for many hiring managers and work towards hiring the best candidates for your organization. Remember to keep an open mind and strive for continuous growth in your quest to prevent biases and discrimination in the interview setting.
Post-interview debriefs ensure you capture valuable candidate insights before they fade and determine any areas needing clarification. Making time for this thoughtful analysis will lead to more informed, strategic hiring decisions.
Creating a scorecard
After conducting interviews, it’s essential to evaluate candidates effectively. One way to do this is by creating a scorecard. This tool allows you and your team to rate candidates based on predefined criteria, leading to more objective hiring decisions.
To create a scorecard, first identify the key skills, qualifications, and traits required for the role. Then, assign a score range for each criterion, with higher values indicating better performance.
Using a scorecard helps make the evaluation process more transparent and consistent across the hiring team. By focusing on specific factors to score candidates, you can ensure that your evaluations are based on relevant qualifications and not influenced by personal biases.
Also, tracking candidates’ scores makes it easy to compare applicants, identify top performers, and decide who moves forward in the selection process.
Communication with candidates
Another crucial element of post-interview evaluation is maintaining effective communication with candidates throughout the hiring journey. Keeping candidates informed about where they stand in the recruitment process also shows respect for their time and efforts, and it can lead to a better candidate experience.
Talent acquisition should have a post-interview communication protocol, so your hiring managers should work with them.
Be sure to set expectations about the hiring timeline and consistently update candidates on any changes. When sharing feedback, whether positive or negative, with other hiring stakeholders, do it promptly and honestly. This will make candidates feel valued and help build your company’s reputation as a fair and transparent employer.
Additionally, pay attention to your communication style during this phase. A casual and friendly tone can help create rapport and make candidates feel more at ease, making it more likely they’ll have a positive impression of your organization.
Remember, a thoughtful post-interview evaluation process, including a well-crafted scorecard and effective communication with candidates, can significantly improve your company’s hiring outcomes and enhance candidate engagement experience.
Training programs for managers
The key to effective interview training is customizing the content to address your hiring managers’ specific development needs and gaps.
Start by surveying managers about pain points and goals to identify areas for improvement. Then tailor workshops, roleplays, and online courses to target priority skills training around questioning, listening, evaluating candidates, etc.
The goal is to engage hiring managers with hands-on development so they gain tangible skills to excel during interviews and make discerning hiring decisions. A targeted program tuned to your managers’ needs will elevate interview practices.
Mock interview sessions
As part of your manager interview training, engaging in mock interview sessions is a valuable way to sharpen your interviewing skills.
These practice sessions help you understand the importance of asking the right questions and evaluating candidates effectively.
You can use various techniques, such as roleplaying and giving feedback to interviewing candidates, to hone your in conducting structured interviews.
During mock interviews, focus on creating a comfortable environment for the candidate. Learn to assess their body language and maintain a neutral demeanor throughout the process.
This approach will help your managers make better hiring decisions, increase candidate satisfaction, build a stronger team, and improve employer branding.
Improving communication skills
Another critical aspect of a successful manager interview training program is enhancing communication skills. Good communication is essential for understanding candidate responses and conveying relevant information about the company and role.
To strengthen your communication abilities, consider the following steps:
- Practice active listening, as it ensures you understand the candidate’s perspective and can respond accordingly.
- Be aware of your body language and tone of voice, as non-verbal cues can impact the candidate’s comfort and willingness to open up.
- Develop your questioning techniques to avoid leading or culturally biased questions that may offend or mislead candidates 3
By incorporating these elements into your manager interview skills training program, you’ll be better equipped to conduct effective interviews and hire top talent for your organization.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I prepare to conduct an interview?
Interview preparation is a cornerstone of a successful interview process. It involves studying the candidate’s resume to understand their background and experiences. Familiarize yourself with the job description and required skills to tailor your questions accordingly. Research the company’s mission, values, and culture to gauge a candidate’s alignment effectively.
How do I create a comfortable interview environment?
Building rapport is key. Start with a warm welcome, introduce yourself and the interview process, and emphasize that the interview is an opportunity for both parties to learn more about each other. Maintain a friendly demeanor, use active listening to show genuine interest, and encourage candidates to ask questions.
How can I assess a candidate’s cultural fit?
Cultural fit is essential for team cohesion. Frame questions that probe into a candidate’s work style, preferred team dynamics, and values. Inquire about their experiences in diverse work environments and their contributions to team success.
You’ve now learned about the importance of manager training in your business. By investing time and resources in this area, you’ll see improvements in your human resources and overall workplace environment. In the end, it’ll be worth it as it can lead to better hiring decisions and a stronger company.
By providing your managers with training on techniques and communication skills, they’ll be able to interview potential candidates effectively. Key elements for your hiring stakeholders to focus on during this training include combating biases, understanding structured interviews, and body language interpretation. As a result of training for hiring managers, you’ll not only attract top talent but also enhance your employer branding.
So, when it’s time to train interviewers and your hiring managers, remember that the effort you put into their interview skills will have a lasting impact on your organization. Keep it casual and let them know their growth is essential to building a successful company. With well-prepared interviewers, you’ll be better equipped to find the perfect fit for your team.
Now that you understand manager interview training’s significance better, it’s time to put this knowledge to work in hiring teams. Help your leaders form a cohesive and successful team, and your business will reap the benefits. Happy training!
Jodi Mai began her career as a recruiter after college. She moved into an HR Generalist role and later, into HR management, working on such topics as employee relations, benefit administration, and payroll. Over the last 15 years, she has worked in the talent acquisition and management industry, and since 2018, Jodi has expanded to HR consulting and writing on HR and recruitment topics.
TrueAbility is a trusted global performance-based technical assessment provider offering a community ecosystem allowing technical professionals and employers to collaborate and measure skill sets through AbilityScreen®. AbilityScreen is the only fully-managed performance-based technical assessment platform operating in a live, cloud environment that automates recruiting and hiring processes to definitively assess and qualify a technical professional’s technology experience.
TrueAbility has executed over 20,000 technical assessments logging more than 18,000 hours of live server practical skill evaluations. Employers have collectively hired hundreds of qualified technical professionals for specific job positions across an array of industries. Founded in 2012, TrueAbility is privately held and headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. For more information, please visit www.trueability.com.
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