5 Skills Your Managers Need (But Probably Don’t Have) to Effectively Interview Job Applicants

by Jul 3, 2024

Did you know that 76% of hiring managers admit that attracting the right job candidates is their greatest challenge? Why? Because many managers lack key skills needed for effective interviewing. Culture matters to employees, but it’s just as crucial for hiring.

Keep in mind that you’re not alone in searching for the best people, and employees are equally on the lookout for the best workplaces. Keep the application process simple, take interviewing seriously, and focus on building these skills amongst your managers engaged in the interview process:


5 Skills Your Managers Need

1. Active Listening

Active listening goes beyond hearing what the candidate says. It involves paying full attention, understanding the message, responding thoughtfully, using the right body language, and remembering what was discussed. Many managers fall into the trap of formulating their next question or thinking about the candidate’s resume while the candidate is speaking. This not only undermines the interview but also misses valuable insights into the candidate’s qualifications and fit.


2. Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Understanding and managing emotions is crucial during an interview. Managers with high EQ can navigate through nuanced responses, pick up on non-verbal cues, and create a comfortable atmosphere for candidates to open up. This leads to more authentic and revealing conversations.


3. Structured Interviewing Techniques

This ensures that each candidate is evaluated against the same criteria, making the process fairer and more reliable. This includes preparing standardized questions and using a consistent scoring system, while simultaneously coming across as informal and conversational. Many managers lack this skill, resulting in subjective evaluations and potentially overlooking top talent.


4. Cultural Competency

Interviewers need to understand different cultural nuances and avoid unconscious biases that can influence hiring decisions. A culturally competent manager can also better assess how well a candidate will integrate into the team and contribute to a positive workplace culture. They’ll look for culture-add (e.g., differences bring value to the culture and the work), rather than culture-fit (e.g., the same as everyone else).


5. Time Management

Effective time management during interviews ensures that all important topics are covered without rushing or dragging out the conversation. Managers need to balance getting to know the candidate with respecting both parties’ time. They should not be “winging” these interviews, rather they should go in with a structured gameplan to ensure a productive conversation. 


Elevate Your Interviewing Skills with Expert Training

We specialize in training managers to excel in HR functions such as interviewing, onboarding, setting expectations effectively, and all of the skills (and more!) mentioned above. If you’re ready to take your team’s interviewing skills to the next level, contact us today to learn more about our tailored training programs!

Building a positive workplace starts with the right hires, and the right hires start with effective interviewing. Let us help you master these skills to create a thriving, respectful, and productive work environment!

PS: Check out this LinkedIn Learning course that we made free for you: Practicing Fairness as a Manager.

Incivility, bullying, and harassment occur because the culture allows them to. Before starting inclusivity initiatives, you’ve got to stop bad behavior. Take this assessment to determine if your workplace fosters a positive culture.


About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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