Are your Hiring Managers Equipped to Conduct a Successful Interview?

Here are 3 important practices to apply when training your hiring managers to conduct a successful interview.

21 Aug 2020 Articles Recruitment Best practices

More often than not, the first significant interaction that a prospective employee has with an organisation is the job interview. This interaction leaves a lasting impression, regardless of whether there is a job offer. It is critical that hiring managers conduct good interviews, in order to provide candidates with a positive experience and identify the best person for the role.  

Here are 3 important practices to apply when training your hiring managers to conduct a successful interview.

1. Focus on merit, not personal qualities

A fair job interview should focus on drawing out the candidate’s job-related skills and experience, to objectively assess their suitability and likelihood of success in the organisation and in the job.

All hiring managers should be trained and familiar with the principles of the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices to ensure that the recruitment and selection process is conducted fairly.

This includes being clear about the job requirements and on the use of effective interviewing techniques for candidate selection. If pre-placement tests are used for selection purposes, to ensure they are calibrated fairly and do not discriminate against any groups of candidates.

2. Communicate clearly and exercise sensitivity

A robust interview process, where candidates are treated fairly and with respect at every step provides an opportunity to establish your organisation as an inclusive employer of choice. 
Train hiring managers to exercise care and sensitivity when communicating with individuals from diverse backgrounds and demographics such as age, marital status or family responsibilities. This is especially important with regard to policies and/or practices which may involve race or religion. 

Each interview question should be formulated with thought and care to avoid the use of words or phrases that could potentially be misconstrued as discriminatory.

For example, 

  • If the nature of the job is physically demanding, such as in the handling of heavy cargo, or if the job requires frequent overseas travel, clearly communicate these requirements to all candidates, and avoid making assumptions about age or gender.
  • If there are dress code or uniform requirements which candidates should adhere to if employed, help potential job candidates understand the rationale behind company policies and guidelines, such as operational, safety and business considerations and why any variations may or may not be accommodated; and handle all questions sensitively.
  • If you are unable to accommodate religious practices due to operational constraints of the job function, bring up these concerns in a respectful and sensitive manner. Job candidates should be treated with dignity and with respect at all times, and provided with clear and effective communication about your organisation’s policies to prevent potential misunderstanding.

3. Understand unconscious bias and its impact on decision making

Unconscious bias training enables hiring managers to be aware of their own implicit assumptions and pre-judgments. It seeks to reduce bias in recruitment and selection by transferring skills for objective hiring practices and developing hiring managers’ ability to monitor and manage their own and others’ biases. Training your hiring managers to be aware of such potential biases is the first step towards overcoming unconscious bias.

Consider diversifying the composition of the interview panel, such as having an age and gender diverse group to ensure the inclusion of diverse viewpoints that will bring unique perspectives to the discussion.

Additionally, having a structured interview, where each candidate for the role is asked the same set of questions helps to standardise the interview process and minimise bias, by allowing the hiring manager to focus on factors that have a direct impact on job performance and ability to perform the role.

A fair and inclusive organisation proactively cultivates a culture of mutual respect and sensitivity to the needs of employees from different backgrounds and ensures that there is no discrimination against any group(s) of employees. This culture should also extend across all its policies and programmes, such as identifying opportunities for training and development and career progression. Training hiring managers to ensure clear communication during the interview plays a crucial role in the effective translation and implementation of the intent of these policies to prospective hires.