How to Train Your Hiring Managers to Interview Candidates

Your Guide To Ensuring That HR and Your Hiring Managers Partner To Make Successful Hires.
Nov 29, 2018
Bill Gates
Bill Gates
How to Train Your Hiring Managers to Interview Candidates

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Picture the following scenario: it’s time to make a new hire and HR is relying on the hiring manager to help them make the right choice. But can HR count on the hiring manager to do so? Has the hiring manager received the best interview training possible? Or any? If not, is HR even prepared to provide this training? Or have a framework in place to discuss what needs to happen when there is a job opening that needs to be filled? We’ll explore our thoughts to these questions, while focusing on the following key points:

  • Structuring the interview process itself
  • Writing proper job descriptions
  • Ensuring that the correct staff is hooked into the interview process

And maybe most important, recognizing that if you want to make the best hire, HR and the hiring managers have to be partners in the hiring process

Define the Business Need

  1. Your first challenge is defining what you need from this position and so begin by asking yourself:
  2. Who is doing the job now?
  3. Can this job done by one person? 
  4. What is the budget? 
  5. How does that align with the market?
  6. What are the must have skills and what are the skills that are nice to have, but can be learned?
  7. With this last point, we strongly encourage you to not get stuck on hiring the perfect candidate. That candidate may not exist and you may waste months trying to fill a position that can be filled with someone who is not only smart, curious and eager to learn, but who you can train to be the hire you want and need.

Building on this point, you need to write a compelling job description that outlines the role. We highly recommend revisiting  the business need and challenging yourself to define the must have skills versus those that are nice to have so as not to  pack two to three  jobs into one description. This also helps ensure that the candidate you do find will not fall short of expectations once they’re on the job.

Define the Interview Process

Your second challenge is to clearly outline the interview process. Questions to start with include:

  • Who should be involved in the process?
  • What will the interview process look like?
  • How will we gather information?

Who Needs to be Involved

This calls for identifying who the hire will actually be working with, and not just including the big guns. This also involves getting everyone on the same page, focusing on the competencies that are important to this position, and working with the team to define roles in the interview process. All of which leads us to...

What the Process Needs to Look Like

First, make sure key aspects of the interview are not skipped or overlooked, while also being sure to not be too redundant with your questions. For example, determine in advance who will  interview for the technical portion of the position and who will interview for cultural fit. As you make this determination, also ensure that the interviews don’t go on too long or have too many parts. Two the three  interviews are more than enough. More than that, and especially with Technology positions, the candidates are going to move-on to the next thing.

How to Gather Information

Start by making sure the team knows what they should ask and what they shouldn’t ask. A guideline for making these determinations is using the 80/20 rule: 80 percent  of the interview involves digging into the candidate’s background, while 20 percent is about selling the company/opportunity. This also means making sure that your team can sell the vision of the company, clearly articulate where the company is going, and then illustrate how this role enhances all of that.

Also, ensure that hiring managers and those assigned to the interview process understand how to conduct a behavioral interview. Behavioral interviews focus on past performance in relation to specific competencies and experiences, and not hypothetical situations.

Finally, ensure that feedback from all staff involved is gathered quickly, and in an unbiased manner.

Then when all of these steps have been taken, ask yourself if you’ve been able to identify the candidates you want. If you haven’t, revisit, and refine the process.

Define the Interview Training

Up to this point, we’ve defined the steps and thinking needed to interview candidates, now we will take a moment to outline what HR needs to  think about when identifying the training necessary to make it fly:

  1. Do the Hiring Managers understand the organization’s vision?
  2. Can they speak articulately about the job description and business need?
  3. Do they know how to build an interview team,and how to direct them?
  4. Can they explain their vision for the interview process and why they have outlined it as I have?
  5. Do they know the questions they want to ask and can they define behavioral interviewing?
  6. Do they know what’s required to gather information from the interviews in a timely and unbiased manner?
  7. And as needed, do they understand when it’s necessary to refine the interview process and how to do so?

It’s important for HR to note, that even when hiring managers have been leading interviews for years, it doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing. It’s also important to recognize that HR and hiring managers are partners, and neither partner, much less, the organization they work for, can be successful without the other.

How to train your hiring managers to interview candidates begins with this simple premise: HR and hiring managers are partners. Once this is established however, HR has to ensure that not only are hiring managers prepared to interview candidates, but that they are prepared to train the hiring managers to do so. And so:

HR must have a framework for such trainings in place...

And following the training, hiring managers must be ready to define the... Business Need and Interview Process, as well as write a strong job description, build and direct the interview team, and engage in behavioral interviewing.

If you’re concerned that any part of your organization isn’t prepared for any part of this process, no problem, we’re here to help.

Bill Gates
Bill Gates

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