In The Times on Saturday Sathnam Sanghera wrote about having to sit on a panel interview and how he needed to think of a question to ask. He wondered if there was any guidance for interviewers.
Of course there is, and large companies offer in depth training to their managers. in the past, when head of Assessor Training for Royal Mail, I’ve taken managers through a 3 day interviewing skills course or a 5 day assessment centre course to enable them to learn the skills, and more importantly, they had to reach the required standard before they were allowed to interview. Of course not all companies are so rigorous in their standards and I’ve worked as a consultant with companies to find my co assessor has had very limited training so I’ve learnt to prepare questions for them, and then to be ready to follow up myself.
It’s the follow up which is probably even more important than the question. You want to get underneath what someone says to get some specific examples. You want to know what specifically they did not generalities, and the more detail you get the more you find out about whether it’s their example or if they are talking about someone they know.
His article also said that technique doesn’t matter as most decisions are made in the first moments of a job interview. Well, that’s one of the things we train interviewers around, to beware the initial impressions and to set aside both positive and negative feelings.
Competency based interviews help with avoiding the halo and horns effect as you have to be able to discuss the evidence under the different competency headings rather than an overview.
I’ve written quite a lot on the interviewer perspective in my interview eBook – it’s good to understand “the enemy” and some of the techniques they use.
Don’t forget I can offer a lot of practical help with interview practice for candidates and also expert consultancy to companies.
I’ve written a number of short articles on interviews and you can access them here