Alyssa Evans
ESP Program Manager
Emergenetics International

Interviewing is both an art and a science. It is not something you perfect overnight. Practice, preparation and training are all critical to success.

With this in mind, you may think those who are conducting hiring interviews are experts, right? That’s not necessarily the case.

When a department has an opening, it is important for the department manager to participate in the hiring process. It makes sense that the people responsible for managing the new hire are the ones who should be involved in interviewing and hiring candidates. However, interviewing is rarely their area of expertise.

Experience with hiring often leads managers to assume they have the necessary interviewing skills, but surveys reveal that recruiters may feel differently. When asked if their hiring managers were strong interviewers, 45 percent of HR professionals worldwide said no, outpaced by 53 percent of U.S. participants.

Company size impacted the survey’s results as well. 65 percent of HR professionals at large companies said they lacked faith in their hiring managers. That number was reduced to 49 percent at medium-sized companies and 39 percent at small businesses. It’s clear that there is a gap between hiring managers’ performance and recruiter expectations.

Common Interviewing Challenges

Managers are likely experts in their area of the company, yet that may not equate to strong interviewing skills. Some of the common challenges managers face include:

  • An unstructured approach.
    • To ensure you are conducting fair and unbiased interviews, you should be asking each candidate the same questions in the same way.
  • Breakdown in communication between recruiters and managers.
    • There should be a discussion between these teams before beginning the hiring process to ensure both parties are prepared and aligned.
  • Unaware they should ask open-ended questions.
    • Leading questions should be avoided since candidates may try to respond in a socially desirable way.
  • Lack of formal interview training.

After receiving training, even experienced managers may be surprised to learn that there is a legal way to conduct interviews and that they have been doing it wrong. Many are excited to take a new approach after learning that structured interviews are almost twice as effective as unstructured interviews; further, they discover how much useful information they can obtain from an interviewee after incorporating the recommended changes.

Simple Tips to Improve Interviewing

Even without formal training, there are some simple ways recruiters can help managers become better interviewers.

  1. Standardize the process.
    • A structured interview approach is when each interviewee is presented with the same questions delivered in the same order. Help your managers organize their questions so they are prepared for the interview.
  2. Provide questions.
    • If recruiters and hiring managers collaborate at the beginning of the process, recruiters can put together questions that capture mutual goals.
  3. Have the interview team agree on the correct answer.
    • Go in ahead of time knowing what you do and don’t want to hear from the candidate.
  4. Provide a list of do’s and don’ts including:
    • Do ask questions about past on-the-job behavior.
    • Don’t ask questions that are not job related e.g. around hobbies, commute, politics, etc.

Integrating a Hiring Assessment

Using a hiring assessment, like the Emergenetics Selection Program, can make the interviewing process easier by:

  • Identifying candidates with the best potential.
    • By focusing only on those candidates that have the necessary skills and alignment with the open position, you have better prospects when beginning the interviewing stage.
  • Providing objective information to discuss during the interview.
    • After viewing candidates’ assessment results, you and your hiring manager will have a better understanding of how they will approach work. Use the results to form questions, and ask the same questions of everyone.
  • Giving a baseline for candidate comparisons.
    • By using a hiring assessment, you are able to compare each candidate against the requirements for the job instead of relying on intuition alone.

Conducting interviews that follow a standardized, objective approach will help your company better identify the right fit for your open position, supporting employee retention. Even though hiring managers may not have formal training, recruiters can be a great resource. Working together and incorporating a hiring assessment can help you further streamline your hiring process.


Connect with our team at to learn more.