Choose a Better Interviewer, Not More Interviewers

October 30th, 2014

When hiring for key positions, it’s commonplace to ask others to participate in candidate interviews. Single candidates may be interviewed by HR, a peer, a level up, a manager from another department, etc.

This is thought to be beneficial, providing better decisions. However, most of the time it just serves to muddy the water. The interviewers may not be skilled or trained in effective interviewing techniques.  Some may just not be comfortable in the interviewer role and may rush the meeting or stick to standard questions without much forethought.

With little to go on but the job description, they may use it as a checklist, but really not understand what is required to either get or do the job.  Unskilled interviewers may be unable to give effective feedback on a candidate, either evaluating candidates by what they assume the hot buttons of the position are or just providing a general sense of liking or not liking a candidate.

Anatomy of an Effective Interviewer

  • Formally trained in interviewing techniques.
  • Know they are responsible for gathering data to validate the candidate or rule them out.
  • Understand the acquired data determines company interest, not gut feeling or whether the candidate sells themselves or not.
  • Educated on the drill-down process to ferret out the most critical information.
  • Has an in-depth knowledge of the vacancy and understands the purpose of the position.

When multiple interviewers are involved, it frequently takes only one “no” vote to veto a viable candidate. Consensus is not always the most effective way of determining the best candidate. Interview results are more accurate when interviews are conducted by teams of interviewers (2-3 interviewers at the same time). And no votes should be vetted by the interviewing leader (hiring manager).

The Importance of Buy-in

The interviewer must understand what business need is being filled by the position and everything the position entails. They are ideally an interviewing expert and can steer the conversation to elicit the information necessary. They know the correct follow up questions to move the candidate beyond “interview mode” and into a real conversation. Once in that mode, real data can be acquired.

Selling the Job

Top candidates may have many opportunities. Your position may be just one of them. An understanding of the role, the challenges, and impact available will allow the interviewer to have a candid discussion about the desirability of the role. Drilling down also helps determine the candidate’s key motivators  and connect them to the opportunity offered.

Leverage our Expertise

At Honer and Associates, we are hiring and interviewing experts. With more than thirty years of effective interviewing, our process can help you to hire more effectively. Contact us today to learn more.