How good are we at interviewing people?
Interviewers need opportunities to apply their new skills by participating in real-life interviews soon after training
When it comes to buying a phone or getting a maid, we look out for references, do background checks and document checks. However, the same rule is not applied when it comes to interviews. In many organizations, people tend to perceive interviewing as a chore. It is surprising to see recruiters and hiring managers using their own approach to interviewing without validating whether or not their interview process is effective. Interviews are the most commonly used selection tool, yet many organizations don’t give it the much-needed attention. If the only hiring tool being used is an interview, and one isn’t trained or the process being used is random at best, how can one be sure of making the right hiring decision every single time?
In my experience, I have seen organizations struggle with the following:
The interview questions are not related to the job in question
Some interviewers are structured while others just rely on their gut-feel
While interviewers may be trained in structured interviewing, they go back to their old ways
The job itself is vaguely defined and there is no consistent interview process
While at the organizational level the interview process itself remains ambiguous, at an individual level we each face a huge responsibility of making the right hiring decision. This task of making the right hiring decision can be daunting to many of us. However, interviewing can be a learning journey rather than an event. Here is a four-step journey to implement an interviewing system:
Formal Training: Formal training sets up your recruiters and hiring managers to collect job-relevant data about candidates by developing the skills required to evaluate and integrate the data gathered by teams of interviewers to arrive at the best decisions in a structured format. Formal training will give the recruiters a holistic picture of how to gather candidate data ensuring we have their knowledge, experience, competencies, and personal motivators captured.
Skills Application: Interviewers need opportunities to apply their new skills by participating in real-life interviews soon after training. A study conducted by Brookdale Senior Living Solutions in 2013 of 237 hiring managers examined the impact of interviewer experience on interviewing process outcomes. In this study, interviewers who had conducted 11 or more Targeted Selection® behavioral interviews reported significantly better accuracy, efficiency, and overall comfort with the process than interviewers with less experience. Eleven interviews may seem like a lot, but remember that this is a journey, not a race.
Feedback: Feedback opportunities, above and beyond those normally included in formal training events, are available in well-designed interviewer learning journeys. One of these is the data integration discussion that allows interviewers the chance to share, evaluate, and reach consensus on data collected. An often overlooked value of this process component is that it provides critical feedback to participants about their interview techniques. When participating interviewers share their respective data on candidates, they quickly learn what good data looks like and sounds like, and they can use peers’ data to benchmark their own collection skills.
Skills Refreshment: As time passes after training and between interviews, skills deteriorate and the process gets distorted. According to the Science of Training, in just one year’s time, trainees lost over 90 per cent of what they have learned. Interviewers need to brush up on the process, get some pointers, and practice before conducting subsequent interviews.
Ideally, interviewers will have multiple options from which to choose to refresh their skills: In-person practice, expert coaches, virtual practice labs, and online interactive tips. Well-designed online tools can make supporting interviewers easier. Interviewers can focus on specific areas or they can review the whole process. And with an interactive system, interviewers will receive immediate responses to verify their understanding and further strengthen their skills. A little refresher can go a long way toward getting interviewers back on course.