How Good Are Your Hiring Managers Interview Skills?

How Good Are Your Hiring Managers Interview Skills?

by Rudy Bier in career
When talking about skills in an interview situation, it’s common place to assume that it’s only the candidate’s skills that matter. That’s a significant misconception. If your company is to secure a highly qualified employee who fits the company culture, the hiring manager’s interview skills are just as critical as the candidate’s.  

With top healthcare candidates in extreme demand in a competitive market, learning to be a skilled interviewer is an important step to ensuring your company builds a talented workforce for the future. 
Here are some crucial things to bear in mind while interviewing. 

Be very clear on what you are looking for. 

Your chances of making a superb hire skyrocket if you are crystal clear about what you are looking for.  Here is a handy report you can download that will help. 
Before the interviews begin, you must be: 

  • Knowledgeable about the role and what skill gaps need to be filled. 
  • Aware of the supervisor and what kinds of people work well under them.  
  • Clear on which competencies are core requirements and which are negotiable.  
  • Cognisant of company culture and who tends to succeed in it. 
  • Extremely familiar with the candidate’s CV. 

Beware your inner prejudices.  

Be hyperaware of any prejudicial tendencies, such as favouring or discriminating against people of certain ethnicities, skin colour, religions or sexual orientation. Humans are wired tribally, so these preconceptions and stereotypes can sneak in very quickly, even when we think we are unbiased! 
To ensure that you are giving each candidate the fair chance they deserve, hiring managers can test themselves for hidden biases through Implicit Association Tests (IATs) and take clear steps to ensure that they do not colour their hiring decisions. 

Don’t get blinded by your personal feelings. (And beware the elephant in the room.) 

We also urge you to be careful of erring too much towards candidates that you like personally, or who appear to operate in the workplace much as you do. When we take an instant liking to a candidate, we are often blinding ourselves to gaps in their skill sets or possible character flaws.  

And when we read a CV that we are impressed by, or meet a life sciences candidate who makes a fantastic first impression, we are often internally making a hiring decision 90 seconds into the interview, before the candidate has even answered the first question! From this point on in the interview, we’ll often view their answers favourably—even when their answer is poor or displays a real lack of knowledge.  

This is attributed to something called ‘inattentional blindness’, or ‘hiring blindness’, whereby we fail to recognise something right under our nose because our brains are expecting and focussing on something else. The best example of this phenomenon is in a study whereby participants were asked to watch footage of a circle of people all throwing a ball to each other and asked to count the number of times the ball is passed.  

Halfway through, a man in a gorilla suit strolled through the middle of the group, beat on his chest, and walked off. Only half of the study participants noticed the gorilla, as they were still focused on what they were looking for: the number of times the ball was passed. Watch the video here
All this shows that our personal feelings and preconceptions can lead to terrible hiring results if we’re not very, very careful. This is so much the case that researchers concluded that in-person interviews are often worse at producing good hires than if the hiring manager simply hired off a CV. This is particularly the case with unstructured interviews. 
Additionally and no less importantly, hiring people ‘in your own image’ leads to a homogenised workforce of people with similar backgrounds, personalities, and working styles, which ultimately stifles innovation and diversity in the company. In healthcare, stagnation of ideas spells disaster for a company.  

Jump on any interview skills training. 

Interviewing is an art, and no one is born knowing how to do it correctly. It takes practice, learning, and growth. It also takes some mistakes along the way! (When your smooth-talking hire turns out to be underqualified in the job, you certainly learn a thing or two about taking their claims at face value!) So, learn all you can and build your skills.  

Standardize your interview format and questions.  

It’s been shown that if you are the fourth great candidate of the day, you will generally be judged as worse than the first great candidate. Interviewers get tired and face decision fatigue as the process wears on, and if they’ve found a suitable candidate early, they start to switch off. This is, even more, the case when interviewers switch questions for different candidates, as it makes it extremely hard to compare them rationally and fairly. 
This is just one of the reasons why it is vital to ask every candidate the same set of questions, in the same order, and set standardised scoring criteria. When you do this, you circumvent your own biases more; it is hard to not notice when someone gives a far superior response to an earlier candidate did to the same question, making the process fairer.  

When preparing your questions, be sure to base them on the three things that really matter: 
1. Can the person do the job? These questions should get to the heart of experience and skills. 
2. Will the person love the job? This is where motivations, compensation, and culture fit come in. 
3. Will the person be good for the company? What do they bring to the company?  

Schedule interviews for the morning (even if you’re a night-owl) 

Regardless of whether you are naturally a morning person or a night-owl, people are more alert in the morning, making us better decision-makers and able to spot any discrepancies or red flags in a candidate’s work history more easily.  

This is due to the fact that decision fatigue wears our mental energy down throughout the day. You should therefore always schedule interviews for the morning, and don’t schedule too many interviews in one day. Remember to take notes about each candidate, or ask to record the interview so you can refer to the responses later.  

About Kinetic 

Kinetic pride ourselves on being the leading regional experts in the full range of recruitment solutions for the Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices industries. 

Kinetic understands the niche requirements for all specialisms of this ever-increasing regulated industry.  

You can download our complimentary report on creating job descriptions here, or by making a small investment assessing the talent insights of individuals, it completes the selection "decision making" process and the right talent is hired into the right roles.  

To find out more about how we can support you in your recruitment campaign or help you land your next career progression contact us here.
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