Modern interviews are much more than just a screening tool; interviews now present an opportunity for employer branding, conveying the organisation's culture, and promoting and selling the role to the potential employee, all while adhering to the ethical and legal parameters of the process. This can understandably pose a significant challenge for hiring managers, particularly those not performing interviews regularly. There is much information online about how the interviewee should prepare, but what about the interviewers? How can they best prepare?
Consider the interview structure
Structured competency-based interviews have been proven to be among the strongest predictors of future work behaviour and, therefore, a powerful screening tool in the recruitment process. Always include a clear introduction to the organisation and the interviewers, allowing candidates to settle into their surroundings. Save more complex or challenging questions until later in the interview and ensure the interview comes to a positive close.
Develop open-ended questions
In advance of the interview, interviewers should prepare some broad competency-based questions and suggested probes, preferably as an interview panel. This should be based on the job description and person specification, allow the candidate to provide examples of their past behaviour and help the interviewer to make effective hiring decisions.
Managing unconscious bias
It is important to acknowledge that we all have unconscious biases or mental shortcuts that impact our behaviour and how we react to people or situations daily. To minimise bias in the interview process, interviewers should endeavour to provide consistency across all interviews – asking the same questions of all candidates, ensuring the interviews are of a similar duration, making no judgements during the interview and avoiding scoring until the interview is complete.
Provide standardised interviewer training
Providing structured and detailed training to all interviewers at every level of the organisation strengthens the process, avoids legal issues or misunderstandings and provides a more consistent and reliable screening process. Even more experienced interviewers will benefit from hearing new perspectives and approaches.
Prioritise the candidate experience
Overall, how the interview process, questions and interactions impact the candidate should be considered at all times.
Ensuring that the candidate leaves the interview with a positive impression of the organisation and feels they have been respected and treated with dignity and fairness is paramount. While an interviewer always strives to find the best candidate for the current role, from an ethical, legal and employer branding perspective, this approach will ensure that best practice is consistently implemented.
Agree on an interview structure and screening process
Prepare broad competency-based questions
Be consistent and open-minded
Provide interviewer training
Treat all candidates with respect and dignity
Follow the link below if you would like to learn more about interviewer training and how best to prepare a manager to conduct interviews for your next recruitment phase.
Senior Occupational Psychology Consultant