Why managers need interview skills training

Businesswoman Getting Interviewed
Neustockimages/iStock
Share this content

It’s not just candidates that need to prepare for interviews, the management staff that conduct them also need to receive training in order to maintain professional standards.

Ensuring a potential employee is interviewed by a well-trained staff member is of the upmost importance in any company’s hiring process. It is vital that the interviewer asks the best questions to properly understand how the candidate would fulfil the role and fit into the company. Failing to do this means companies are open to criticism and can potentially breach employment law.

Is there a problem?

By failing to properly train those staff members whom oversee the hiring of new candidates, there is a potential for the interviews to easily take an unsatisfying, or even illegal focus.

The questions asked by hiring managers could become focused on the candidate and their personal qualities, rather than their professional attitude and previous experience.

The issue has drawn so much scrutiny, that Hyper Recruitment Solutions commissioned research into this subject. Amongst its findings, it revealed the lack of training amongst hiring managers.

As well as this, the survey also proves that there is both a gender bias and an age bias in the interview process. This can be understood from the statistic that almost 20% of employees feel they have been mistreated in some way in the interview process.

The lack of training of interview staff has led to over 90% of hiring managers admitting they have previously asked about ‘protected characteristics’, an area of questioning that could lead to employment laws being violated.

What does it mean?

By not properly training their hiring staff, companies leave themselves open to the possibility of becoming unappealing. By not focusing on professional qualities and work ethic, candidates may feel that the company is not taking them seriously, or delving too deeply into their personal lives.

It is important that both parties feel confident in the interview process, and this means there should be an amount of respect between parties, with each asking the most important questions.

These may include any previous experience the candidate has and where a candidate would fit in the company seeking to fill the position.

However, it is overwhelmingly likely that rather than ask these questions, hiring staff will ask questions relating to the personal life of the candidate.

The lack of training of interview staff has led to over 90% of hiring managers admitting they have previously asked about ‘protected characteristics’, an area of questioning that could lead to employment laws being violated.

What are protected characteristics?

Protected characteristics include marital status, age, whether or not you plan to have children, religious beliefs, ethnicity and sexual orientation. It is important that these characteristics remain protected as it helps to ensure that candidates are not discriminated against during the interview process.

By asking about age, where your accent is from, or what year you graduated, interviewers may unknowingly be disadvantaging interviewees.

This is because decisions made regarding employment can be made on these characteristics, for example, hiring a younger person as they fit more easily into office culture.

By asking about age, where your accent is from, or what year you graduated, interviewers may unknowingly be disadvantaging interviewees.

However, asking questions about protected characteristics may be used to help those who may be more disadvantaged in the interview process.

In some cases, when employers are seeking to help somebody with a protected characteristic, such as a disability, it may benefit the candidate to be asked about their characteristic.

Why is it important?

Stressing the importance of the survey results, Company Founder Ricky Martin stated: “It’s pretty shocking to unearth these practices are happening daily in the hiring process.”

Interviewees on average spend an average of 16 hours preparing for an interview, and can spend upwards of £100 in order to appear as professional as possible, so to be mistreated in the interview process after all of this work is entirely unfair.

By not having the proper training, interview staff could potentially not only damage the candidate’s interview, but the perception of their company as a whole.

Unprofessional interview practices are unlikely to attract a large number of applicants to vacant positions. By not introducing some form of interview practice, companies run the risk of tarnishing their own reputations.

Who is at the biggest disadvantage?

Sixty five percent of business owners revealed that they believe there is gender bias in the interview process in general, with male hiring managers being much more likely to ask a female if they may require maternity leave.

Only 34% of men do not believe there is a gender bias in the interview process, further demonstrating that the issue is something that the majority of people are aware of.

The survey further suggests that by asking certain off-limits questions, candidates may respond by simply leaving the interview situation.

Twenty five percent of those under 35 whom felt they had been mistreated in interviews responded by leaving the interview itself. This identifies that it is becoming more and more common to act on any mistreatment in the interview process.

Recruitment agencies should prepare their candidates for a professional job interview that does not infringe on areas that could possibly be considered illegal.

 

By failing to introduce some form of training into how the hiring process is conducted, there is a very real possibility that candidates will raise complaints regarding the company.

Recruitment for these companies could therefore become a much more difficult task, with candidates preferring to apply for other positions at companies with better reputations.

How do we solve the problem?

The wellbeing of the candidate during the interview should be the main concern of any company. They should not be made to feel uncomfortable or unwelcome to the position they have applied to, and this is why proper training is vital for the staff in charge of conducting these interviews.

A lack of awareness on how to interview candidates may lead to negativity from the candidates themselves.

The interview is a two-way process, and there is a significant chance the candidate would be forming their own views about the type of company they would be working for. Therefore, an unprofessional interview would almost certainly lead to both an unprofessional and overwhelmingly poor company image.

There is currently no professional service with the sole aim of interview training, however, recruitment agencies should prepare their candidates for a professional job interview that does not infringe on areas that could possibly be considered illegal.

By doing this, the agency is helping both the candidate and the client to be comfortable and professional throughout the process. 

About Ricky Martin

Ricky Martin

Ricky graduated as a Biochemist from Cardiff University in 2006 which subsequently fuelled his passion for a career in the Life Sciences sector. He spent over a decade recruiting exclusively for the sciences before setting up Hyper Recruitment Solutions (in 2012) with the mission to help people and change lives through healthcare and / or new technologies. 

He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Chair of the UK Life Sciences committee for the REC, sharing best practice and helping to raise the standards in the industry.

Replies

Please login or register to join the discussion.

There are currently no replies, be the first to post a reply.