Why Small Businesses Should Require Interview Training

April 26, 2016

Interviews are tricky - especially at small businesses, where nearly every current employee, or at least a large percentage, interview potential employees in an effort to build a cohesive team. And, every interviewer needs to be able to ask the right questions, probe deeper into answers and ultimately find out everything they need to know to help them develop an opinion on whether the candidate is right for the job. 

As the business grows, less individuals may be asked to participate in interviews. But, one thing always remains the same - hiring is a team sport. Multiple interviewers play different roles. To reach the goal of hiring the best candidate for the job, they must all play their role correctly. And, asking the wrong questions or probing into information that could be considered discriminatory could set an interview, and the company, up for trouble.

In addition, at a small business, at least one or more of the company's leaders as well as the hiring manager will be asked to interview the candidate. And, interviews should never be one-sided conversations. They should give candidates the information they need trying to make an informed decision about working for the company and branding messaging should be included in every interview with consistent language that speaks to the overall culture and expectations.

It is for all of those reasons that small businesses should require each and every leader, and anyone who could potentially conduct interviews, to attend interview training.

What the interview training should cover

Training gives leaders, and anyone conducting interviews, the tools they need to make the best hiring decision each and every time. This training should cover a couple of different things.

1. Legal aspect

Even if interviewers are confident they know what not to ask, a refresher is always a good idea. New laws and categories of discrimination are being added all the time and it's important to know exactly what should never be covered in an interview, even if a candidate brings it up.

2. Technical fit

Effective interview training covers ways businesses can assess technical aptitude in roles. What questions should be asked to understand if the person's past experience and performance has prepared them for the role at hand.

3. Cultural fit

While a bit harder to get to, interview training should show participants how to assess cultural fit and probe deeper into how a candidate's personality may fit into the structure of the organization. It's one thing to have a technically skilled employee, but if they do not possess the characteristics that will help the team thrive, they are not the best fit.

4. Branding information

Interview training should equip interviewers with consistent branding messaging that will help them make the sell to the candidate. This information would include information on what it is like to work for the company and what the candidate can expect going forward.

5. Assessment

Finally, effective interview training will equip leaders with the ability to properly, fairly and consistently assess a candidate after the interview is over.

Interview training should be revisited often and required for any one new coming into the company or a leadership role. The interview team makes crucial decisions about the players who will be working with them towards achieving business goals. These decisions should not be taken lightly. Training is the best way to ensure that team knows what needs to be assessed and how to do it properly. 

After spending 11 years in corporate roles of progressive experience, Sabrina experienced a layoff in 2010. She decided to focus her efforts on small businesses and started Acacia HR Solutions shortly after. Through her business she helps small businesses develop strategic initiatives that help them think and act like big businesses. Sabrina was named one of the Top 100 HR Influencers to follow on Twitter via the Huffington Post in 2013 and one of the Faces of Recruiting and Staffing by HR Marketer in 2014.

*Image from Death to the Stock Photo

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