When interviewing a prospective employee, the stakes are high. You could hire a good team player or an employee who has a bad attitude. Why take the gamble when you can train your managers on how to interview and lower the risk associated with hiring?
Most people aren’t born with the innate talent to interview. It’s a process that is learned.
“What I do is I teach people to look at the hidden agendas or unsaid words,” said Dianne Durkin, president and founder of Loyalty Factor LLC, a training and management consulting firm. “A lot of times, people are interviewing and they are hiding something — they’ve gotten laid off in their prior job or their facial expressions tell [you] that it wasn’t a great experience. Interviewers just let that go, and I’m saying you cannot let that go. You have to delve in and ask additional questions.”
Managers often don’t know what questions will reveal an individual’s attitude, personality and work ethic. The first step is to define what makes an employee successful at your organization.
“A lot of times, it’s not the skills and knowledge, it’s the fact that they get along with people, they are independent thinkers [and] they go out and research information for themselves,” Durkin said. “Well, how do you interview for that? We go into what you look for in the person, how you detect what the [person’s] attitude is, what questions you are going to ask to understand their expertise and their technical knowledge and then what questions [you will] ask to understand their personal characteristics or their work ethic.”
Training to be an effective interviewer alone is not enough, though. As with most learning, there needs to be an element of practice.
“You just can’t go to a training session, sit there and expect that it’s going to happen, that you’re going to remember everything,” Durkin said. “You’ve got to practice it.”
A number of companies are recognizing the importance of interview training, but some still are not investing in practice of the skills learned.
“When [people] think of leadership management training, they think in terms of how I coach people, how I do performance appraisals, how I build a team, as opposed to interviewing,” Durkin said. “They’re thinking of the daily issues that people deal with as opposed to thinking: Let’s make sure we don’t have to deal with these major issues by bringing in the right people.”
Providing training on interviewing skills doesn’t eliminate the possibility of hiring someone who may not work out, but it does decrease the chance. Additionally, a good hire typically means less turnover and more corporate profitability.
“You get people who are going to be loyal to your company, and [you] reduce the amount of turnover because turnover is extremely expensive,” Durkin said. “As we go into this labor shortage over the next few years where there aren’t going to be enough people to fill jobs, you need to be selective in the types of people that you hire. You need people who are going to do 150 percent, as opposed to just working at 80 percent.”
Having this type of corporate training is no more expensive than any other management training, Durkin concluded.
“My view is it doesn’t cost any more or less; it’s all part of management training,” she said.