What Formal Qualifications Do You Have in Conducting Job Interviews?

Posted on November 14, 2018 by PaulHickey | Recruitment

And I’m not talking about boning up on discrimination laws to check which questions you’re not allowed to ask (FYI – if a candidate says he identifies as 20 years younger than his actual age, just smile politely and change the subject).

I’m talking about qualifications or training in how to conduct job interviews that result in a clear judgment on whether the candidate is the right person for the role.

I’m guessing the answer is either “none” or “very little”, right?

You’re Not Alone

Don’t feel bad. Most people who have the seniority level to conduct job interviews just learn as they go.

And by now, you might even feel as you have enough experience to consider yourself a competent interviewer.

But how confident are you REALLY in your abilities?

For example, when you conduct a round of job interviews and you select the winning candidate, how often do you get it right?

That’s not a subjective question. You can measure it.

What percentage of people that you hire are fired or quit within the first 12 months?

One year is a good benchmark because, after that point, the chances that the employee will stay in the job long-term rise dramatically.

Unless you’re unusually skilled, in my experience you’re probably looking at a success rate of around 70%.

On the face of it, that doesn’t sound terrible. After all, sometimes people leave their job for reasons that are out of your control. But it does mean that, about 30% of the time, you have to repeat the hiring process a second time.

You shouldn’t be okay with that.

It’s Always Been This Way

Good interviewing skills can make or break a business and, if you are in a man-management role, can literally be the catalyst for your own personal success.

And yet, most people in management and leadership roles are put in a position where they are required to take responsibility for hiring people without being given any formal training.

I find this odd.

You wouldn’t take a logistics manager and put them in charge of sales without providing formal training? Or take a TV personality with a history of failed businesses and put him in charge of an entire country?

So why take someone with no formal interviewing training and put them in charge of hiring?

Many people are self-taught and have, over the years, developed their own techniques that can sometimes generate decent results. They invite the candidates to chew the fat about products, markets, contacts and current affairs.

But that’s not really an interview. It’s an informal chat.

That discussion is important, and you still need to cover these elements in one way or another, but that shouldn’t be where the conversation begins and certainly shouldn’t be where it ends.

Job interviews are this way because that’s the way they’ve always been, NOT because this approach is effective.

If you have an employee who failed 30% of the time, you’d be asking serious questions about their ability to perform in that role. And yet, in my experience in the recruitment industry, that’s the kind of figure that employers are settling for when it comes to the success rate of their interviewing process.


If you think this message is the kick up the backside you need, there are a few things you can do improve your interviewing skills and your hiring success rate.

Whatever you do… don’t settle for doing things the way they’ve always been done and expect to see better results.