What to Do When Hiring Managers Aren’t Great Interviewers

Nicholas Long
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Being able to interview someone is a great skill and it is not something that’s naturally in everyone’s wheelhouse. Being able to truly listen to what someone else is saying, ask great questions, and record information all at the same time might sound easy but it requires a lot of effort and concentration. Not every hiring manager is great at this, but that’s okay, all it takes is a few steps to hone in their interviewing skills! The first step hiring managers need to take when interviewing someone is knowing what approach to take and which questions to ask.
1. Build rapport
Before starting the interview, make sure the hiring managers build some rapport with the candidate first so they feel comfortable opening up. Having an interview can be a little nerve wracking for anyone, no matter how much experience they have and how much they have prepared. Establishing a bit of rapport before seriously talking about the job and the qualifications of the job helps everyone. Hiring managers can easily establish some connection between themselves and the candidate by asking about their day, or making small talk. 

2. Make time and write things down
Set aside time for each interview the hiring manager has, so that they can absorb everything the candidate is saying. Having interviews scheduled back-to-back, might be hard for someone who isn’t conducting interviews the way a recruiter is. In addition to setting aside extra time, the hiring managers should be sure to bring something with them to take notes. In addition to following their gut instincts about a candidate, a good hiring manager should also be sure to remember all the other various facts and pieces of information about a candidate before ruling out if they are a good fit for the job or not. These might seem like basic things but it’s something a lot of people often overlook, because it’s not part of their day-to-day tasks.

3. Do not ask inappropriate questions
While there are many questions to ask candidates, hiring managers should refrain from asking inappropriate questions. Do not ask them things related to their marriage, their lifestyle, or how many kids they have. There is no reason to need to know these things, and the questions might seem harmless but they cross an invisible boundary. Although seemingly invisible, there is always a boundary between employers and employees and it must be respected at all times. Asking these kinds of questions prevents the hiring manager from being able to judge whether or not the candidate is a good fit for the job. 

4. Ask interesting questions
Instead of asking basic questions like “What is your biggest weakness?” and “Where do you see yourself in five years?” hiring managers should strive to ask more personalized questions tailored to the candidate. They should start with the basic interview questions and slowly develop them. Ask the candidate a question like “Tell me about a time at work where you felt like a hero” or “Tell me about a time a job felt like a bad fit for your personality.” These questions are much more specific to the candidate and can really draw out the necessary information to determine whether or not they are the right person to hire. 

Being able to interview someone is a skill that takes time to develop, but a skill that all hiring managers must have.

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