Training is CRITICAL to interview success

by Michael Haberman on April 24, 2013 · 5 comments


Interviewers must be trained in order to effectively interview.

Interviewers must be trained in order to effectively interview.

When are we going to realize that a “tool” is only as good as the user and users are only as good as the training they have received? The tool I refer to is the interview and training is critical to interview success.

Types of interviewing

I read an article entitled Assess Motivation to Yield Better Hires written by Theresa Minton-Eversole. She was writing about the work of Carol Quinn, CEO of Hire Authority Inc. Quinn is a proponent of a method of interviewing she created called Motivation-based Interviewing. She is not a fan of behavioral interviewing. According to Quinn “MBI enhances the information-gathering process by adding to and improving the interview questions to help reveal candidates who have that positive, can-do attitude.”

The purpose of this post is not to debate the merits of behavioral interviewing versus motivation-based interviewing. In fact I think the best method that will produce the best candidate is a combination of these two methods.

The importance of training

The thing that stood out to me in this article is the statement by Quinn that “to improve the quality of their hires, companies must train interviewers and implement a minimum hiring standard.” My reaction was NO SH*T SHERLOCK! How do we expect interviewers to know how to do either behavioral interviewing or motivation-based interviewing without training them on it?

I have trained behavioral interviewing in the past and I know from personal experience it is not easily learned. I am sure motivation-based is not easy either. Heck without training interviewers generally don’t even do a legal interview. So why do we NOT train interviewers?

Why no training?

I am not sure why business large and small have not understood the importance of interview training. Perhaps it is in the way training is presented, as a COST. It needs to be presented in a cost/benefit format with a projected ROI. Management needs to understand the cost of NOT training, which includes poor selection, lost productivity, turnover costs, lost potential, potential loss of customers, employment based lawsuits and more. If you consider ALL the potential costs associated with a lack of training you should be willing to throw money at training.

So why don’t we train interviewers? Let’s hear some answers.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Russell Thomas April 25, 2013 at 9:15 am

This post raises a broader question — why not more H.R. training in all of its forms.


Michael Haberman April 25, 2013 at 9:20 am

You are correct Russell. Unfortunately training in often the first thing that gets cut when times are tough. And many companies just hope they can get by on a wing and a prayer or they assume supervisors and managers know what they are doing.


Valerie Lesniak April 25, 2013 at 11:50 am

Mike – our company saw a jump in turnover and the CEO mandated interview training for all employees with any input to the hiring process. While the turnover stats may have been generated for other reasons, we jumped on the opportunity and have been conducting sessions around all our US offices. The key is keeping the sessions short (2 hours) and with a lot of meaningful content and take aways. Training gets a bad rep when the sessions spend alot of time with introductions and repetition. Once we had a few cities under our belt the buzz was so good that the managers were looking forward to attending the sessions. I think we may have created a positive vibe that will allow for future training sessions in other areas. This is good – because to your point – getting the training dollar investment was really difficult in the past.


Michael Haberman April 25, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Great information. Thanks for sharing. Time, take-aways, and great content is a great formula for success.


Steve Lovig April 25, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Another great thought-provoking post, Michael; thanks. Since my first experience as an HR professional with GE, more than 15 years ago, I have seen the damage a lack of knowledge from interviewers can have on an organization. It’s also an easy place to show a specific ROI. I was able to show (as you note above) the silly errors and dangerous mistakes being made, and those concerned about money quickly approved my training plan! Steve Lovig


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