How to conduct interview training for hiring managers
Hiring managers are as important to the recruitment process as recruiters – if not more so. They're often the ones who open a new position, and ultimately make that final decision on who to hire. But it's crucial that they know how to interview effectively and with minimal bias – so, interview training for hiring managers is a must. This guide will give you everything you need on training hiring managers to be effective, impartial interviewers so they get the best candidate for the role.
Even experienced hiring managers can benefit from interview skills training. Here’s how to build an effective interview training plan for hiring teams:
Persuade managers that they need training
Experienced hiring managers probably know how to build rapport with candidates and discern candidate potential. But, more complex interviewing techniques like combating biases, using structured interviews and avoiding cliche questions don’t always come with hiring experience.
Related: Structured interview questions: Tips and examples for hiring
Schedule a meeting with hiring managers and discuss the status of the hiring process, as well as how they approach interviewing. Give them some pointers on what they can improve. Research can give more weight to your recommendations. For example, if you want to convince a hiring manager to try structured interviews, you can present them with research that shows that structured interviews are better hiring tools.
Give hiring managers an interview preparation checklist
Create different interviewing checklists for hiring managers:
- Can I talk about the company’s strategy, mission and structure?
- Can I answer questions about perks and benefits?
- Do I know what the job description involves?
- Have I coordinated with my team?
- Have I read candidates’ resumes?
- Do I know what interview questions I’ll ask?
- Are my interview questions reviewed by HR for legality?
Train hiring managers to combat biases
The best way to combat biases during interviews is to be aware of them. This can’t be achieved overnight – it takes time and effort. A good start would be to help interviewers discover their hidden biases:
- Encourage them to take Harvard’s Implicit Association Test
- Show them educational videos like this one by the Royal Society, the UK national academy of science:
- Re-enact ‘bias experiments’ during a training session. For example, see how this YouTube video presents a version of an experiment that English psychologist Peter Cathcart Wason used in his study of confirmation bias:
- The New York Times also published that experiment as a puzzle game, giving you a detailed explanation after you’ve played.
Train hiring managers to understand structured interviews
Structured interviews are more objective and legally defensible than unstructured interviews. Interviewers who use this interview format should learn how to prepare behavioral questions, understand rating scales and score candidates consistently.
Here are some ideas to help interviewers understand structured interviews:
- Self-study. This structured interview guide has all the information hiring managers need to structure their interview process.
- Experiments. Advise interviewers to familiarize themselves with the interview scorecard format your company uses. If you use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), encourage interviewers to login and create their own scorecards.
- Practice. Mock interviews can help inexperienced hiring managers familiarize themselves with an interview setting. For example, hiring managers can practice brief note-taking to avoid being distracted by their notes during actual interviews.
Teach hiring managers about body language
Being more aware of candidates’ nonverbal cues can help interviewers refine their interviewing skills. For example, if candidates’ body language suggests they’re anxious, interviewers can make a conscious effort to put candidates at ease. It’s a good idea to train interviewers to control their own body language too. Even if hiring managers think candidates are unqualified, they shouldn’t let their body language negatively affect candidate experience.
Get professional interviewing help
Several companies offer training courses and seminars that can help your interviewers:
- InterviewEdge specializes in behavioral interviewing training
- Recruiting Toolbox offers custom-built interviewing workshops
- Select International helps interviewers improve their structured interview skills
- The Lou Adler Group provides workshops inspired by its performance-based hiring principles
Investing time and effort into interviewing skills training for managers will be worth it. As a result, your team will make better hires, promote your employer brand and improve your candidate experience.
Frequently asked questions
What should be included in interview training?
It's always a good idea to cover the basics of interviewing so that each interviewer has the same foundational knowledge. Each interviewer should know what questions they can’t ask during an interview, how to prevent unconscious bias, and how to identify non-verbal cues from candidates during the interviewing process.
Why is hiring manager training important?
Training your interviewers is a crucial piece of a great hiring system. Well-trained interviewers protect your company from unintentional discrimination and ensure a consistently positive process that results in better hires.
What is an interview training program?
Interviewing Skills Training focuses on the skills required to conduct engaging interviews that include effective questions. This will allow a hiring manager or interviewer to ensure the best practices are followed to hire the right candidates with the applicable skills, behavior, and mindset.