What Skills Do I Need to Interview Candidates

Do You Have the Right Skills to Interview Candidates?  Most Managers Don’t

If your company is hoping to weed out counterproductive work behavior (CWB) during the hiring process, the interview phase can prove an effective place to do so. Although background checks and personality assessments go a long way toward revealing applicants’ ethics and motivation, a face-to-face conversation with a candidate, when conducted properly, provides the most vital information. Of course, interviewing with behavior in mind is a skill that takes training and practice, and it matters who is doing the interviewing.

Many companies leave the details in the hands of human resources staff or team managers, but they need to go beyond that if they hope to level up their screening process.

What Qualifications Does Your Interviewer Have?

It’s tempting to believe that anyone with a managerial or human resources background can successfully conduct an interview. However, you’d be surprised how often leaders are trained for their specific job duties but not to assess job candidates. While many hiring managers can navigate introductions and conversations with prospective employees, they are rarely (if ever) trained to properly interview prospective employees.  Furthermore, hiring managers tend to focus on a candidate’s skills while conversations about counterproductive workplace behavior are much more intimidating for them.

Yes, interviewers should absolutely have adequate knowledge of the job they’re seeking applicants for, but they should also have a thorough understanding of what questions to ask. Some managers may have previous experience in this arena, making it more likely they’ll know what to do. Still, companies would benefit from shadowing or briefing these supervisors to make sure they’re abiding by their own specific standards.

This is where training can be beneficial, both for experienced interviewers and those new to the game.

Should You Train Employees for Interviews?

Even if some managers come to the table with interviewing experience, your organization can’t depend on that alone. After all, letting applicants with a penchant for CWB slip through the cracks could have costly consequences down the line. If you’re truly invested tracking down employees with skills and upstanding character, you’ll want to provide interview training to anyone who may find themselves assessing applicants.

There are two main benefits of training your staff to conduct interviews. First, those without prior experience will be better prepared for the task, allowing your organization to have confidence that screenings are being conducted properly.

On top of that, providing training will ensure everyone at your company is on the same page. Requirements may vary from company to company, meaning even those who have overseen interviews before could have different ideas about what they should be doing. If you want interviewers to live up to your organization’s standards, you need to teach them what you’re looking for.

Some things your company should cover when training staff to tackle interviews include:

  • Which questions to ask: Most interviews last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, which means managers can only ask a set number of questions. Using that time wisely means narrowing your focus to the most important topics — those that prove the candidate can both perform the job they’re applying for and do right by your company — is crucial to making an informed judgment. Training can guide managers in the right direction, by providing guidance related to the structure of interview, the types of questions to ask and how to ask them.

If your business is specifically looking to screen candidates for behavior, you can place greater focus on which questions are meant to uncover which negative attitudes or beliefs. Managers may also benefit from learning how to phrase and ask certain behavioral questions; sometimes the delivery makes a huge difference in how the candidate reacts.

Finally, training employees to ask the right questions during interviews isn’t just about screening candidates. It will also help your organization ensure it’s staying within the legal confines of what you’re allowed to ask, something managers may not know offhand. Knowledgeable interviewers can protect you from accusations of discrimination just as much as problem employees.

  • Which red flags to look out for: When it comes to assessing behavior, it’s not enough to know what to ask applicants. Interviewers must also be prepared to evaluate their responses, taking notes and picking up on any potential red flags. Providing training that covers what answers require follow-ups or further inspection could help your staff pick up on things they might otherwise overlook.

Let Verensics Ask Questions for You

If your company is still concerned about conducting interviews the “right” way, there are plenty of resources geared toward improving your screening process. Even with a trained staff, human errors are completely possible during interviews — especially with applicants who present well.

Fortunately, Verensics offers an online assessment platform that asks the questions for you. Our assessment uses questions formulated by corporate investigators and organizational psychologists with years of experience, then guides candidates to reveal things about themselves they normally wouldn’t.

Technology should never replace in-person interviews entirely, but Verensics can help narrow the focus, saving your company time and money. Plus, knowing your final round of interviews is comprised of candidates with good character will definitely help you sleep at night.

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