Interview training

Just as candidates prepare for interview, interviewers need to make sure their skills are up to speed: interviews are not additional unavoidable duties, and if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail –with potential expensive costs from picking the wrong employee. “Many people are poor at interviewing, although most think they are good at it,” writes Armstrong in his Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice.

The softer skills required to conduct interviews include:

• ability to establish a rapport with often nervous or stressed candidates: putting them at ease means you’re more likely to discover the person they are and employee they could be

• ability to ask ‘open’ and ‘probing’ questions that elicit information

• demonstrating good listening skills, picking up on key signals or remarks and probing further, evaluating the information received

• objectivity – ability to set aside bias or stereotypical views

• controlling the session, sticking to the brief and the allotted time.

Although questions relating to reasonable adjustments for interviews can be asked (e.g. someone with an audio impairment may need a signer or may prefer to lip read) it is illegal for a prospective employer to ask questions about a person’s disability before a job offer is made. Even afterwards the information should only be used to determine what reasonable adjustments may be required.