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Gary Franklin

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Blog: Are your hiring managers trained in how to interview?


When you interview people for a job you are asked to make a judgment call on whether the people you interview are good enough and suitable for your company.

But what makes you think you are good enough to do the interview and represent your company? Are you suitably trained to conduct a proper interview and make that decision yourself? I suspect not.
The vast majority of hiring managers whether they work in HR or not have never been trained how to interview people; the psychology, the questions to ask, what not to ask, how to decide who is good enough or what good enough looks like. 
Many will have the information needed to sell the company and the job to each candidate, but fail disastrously by simply asking the wrong questions, focusing on the wrong competencies in a person’s background appropriate to the role, not listening to the answers given and not exploring each answer or further.
I know some companies train and certify every manager before they are able to open a Requisition, before they are able to hold an interview. Why don’t more do it?
What is often forgotten in the recruitment process is the candidate. There are plenty of articles and blogs written about how poor the candidate experience is in the majority of companies, yet little attention is given to the quality of interviews.
Do you realise you could be missing out on very good talent for your organisation because your interview processes or the people doing the interviewing is substandard, boring and in some cases illegal. In an interview a good candidate will be interviewing you and your company. Or they would be if given the chance to.  They too have to make a very important choice.
Appropriate discussion
To a greater extent the decision the candidate has to make is far more important and crucial than the decision you have to make. If they get the decision wrong it could screw up their life; if you get it wrong you rectify and move on.  
Candidates therefore must be given the opportunity to represent themselves and as most interviews follow a typical Q&A format the right questions need to be asked to elicit the appropriate answers or at least stimulate the appropriate level of discussion.
I will give you an example from recent personal experience. I was being interviewed for Director, Global Recruitment by an HRD. The role was very senior and of a strategic leadership nature, yet a ridiculous amount of time was spent going into the detail of a project I worked on in early 2008 that was purely transactional and not at all relevant to the role I was being interviewed for.
Where were the questions about leadership, management, the ATS they are about to acquire and deploy? My thoughts related to the announcements from LinkedIn made just that week, to the use of social media, candidate experience, employer brand, the impact of the AWR or many others more relevant to the most senior resourcing role in the organisation. I think you get the point.
This is not a rant nor is it a specific observation on that one incident – there have been others in the last 7 weeks – this post is purely an observation about the lack of attention and lack of priority given to one of the most important jobs/functions in a company; that of an interviewer. 
It won’t surprise you therefore to know that I have since found out that this HRD has interviewed nearly 20 people for the role – it is clear that he does not actually know what he needs to achieve as part of the organisational structure, what he is looking for i.e what it takes to be the leader of the Resourcing function and how to interview for said people.
So before you judge a candidate be sure you judge your interviewers’ ability, otherwise you will be failing your candidates and losing out on the good people you set out to acquire. How many companies train and certify their managers before they let them near an interview room? Do you?
Gary Franklin is an expert in resourcing issues.

2 Responses

  1. Priority & Investment is needed

     Hi Pam 


    I completely agree, but then it is a symptom of how Rescouring, its mechanics and its importance has generally been marginalised by HR Departments over the years.  It is also an indication that whilst Execs may list resourcing of top talent as a #1 priority they give very little thought to how they will achieve this and tend to rely on people that don’t know either for advice.  Therefore the investment in resources, training and tools is overlooked and the function never evolves above and administrative function in the majority of companies.   From my own experiences and from discussions I have on a daily basis, it is clear to me that resourcing; including sourcing, attracting, interviewing, assessing, selecting the right person for the right reasons, closing, on-boarding…… is considered by HRDs and Hiring Managers alike to be easy.  It can be straight forward but it certainly is not easy.  If it was easy why would so many keep screwing it up?


    You do know that if I am sitting in an interview now with a bad interviewer I am going to be making comparisons not appropriate to the situation, don’t you?  I am going to use the phrase though in talks I have just to highlight the issue. Thanks for taking the time to comment


  2. Recruiters who can’t interview

    Someone once said to me that there are only two things people will never admit to – being bad at interviewing and being bad at s** (the one that involves night time activity).

    Outstanding individuals can typically deliver 40 – 60% more than average employees. It makes alot of sense to invest in assessment and selection skills to (a) make sure you’re getting the best person for the job and (b) you’re not making costly mistakes.

    It sounds like your HRD didn’t have any criteria to assess your suitability or otherwise when you were interviewed but, sadly, after more than 20 years in consulting and nearly 30 years in the workplace, this doesn’t surprise me one bit.

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Gary Franklin

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