The Unenviable Role of the Interviewer

David Frost (left) interviewing Donald Rumsfeld
David Frost (left) interviewing Donald Rumsfeld (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, theHRmeister was invited to meet with the leaders of a local non-profit, inter-denominational Christian ministry.  They were looking to improve their hiring process, and, specifically, wanted to incorporate ‘hiring for attitude’ behavioral interviewing questions into their repertoire.

We began by discussing background and reference checking (both the pros and the pitfalls) and how to select candidates for the job interview.  This included telephone pre-screens, reference checks, what to look for in an applicant’s cover letter and resume, sample interview questions, (including illegal ones), and job previews, among others.

It’s interesting to note how many times our conversation brought us back to the organization’s HR policies on these topics.  One purpose which HR policies (if consistently followed) serve is to provide the organization with a defensible position, and to mitigate its risk.  The importance of consistency cannot be overstated – in asking all applicants the same questions, in retaining all interviewer note taking of applicant’s answers for six years, and in consciously working to avoid interviewer bias.

Interviewers are all trying to hire qualified candidates, who can satisfactorily perform in their jobs – and, hopefully, stay a while in them too.  theHRmeister contends that though advancements in interviewing have been made, it’s still more art than science, despite the use of sound behavioral selection interviewing techniques, assessment and other testing, and job previews.  Finally, there remains a high need for organizations to have clear HR policies on these and other related topics, and ones which are consistently and fairly followed.

Interviewers are in an unenviable position in their organizations, don’t you think?

Good luck.

theHRmeister