Why is it OK For Managers to Suck at Interviewing?
By: Ron Bower
I’m fascinated by the number of conversations that I have where managers openly admit that they are horrible interviewers. I’m equally fascinated by the high percentage of these admissions that include some amount of nervous laughter. I’m further fascinated by the fact that most of these managers just accept the fact that they are not good at the thing that makes the biggest difference in the future success of their department.
It’s not ok to suck at other leadership skills. We would not accept leaders that were not effective at strategic thinking, managing performance, or accountability. There would not be laughter if a manager was not collaborative, resilient, or a highly effective communicator.
I wonder how many organizations include interviewing and selection skills as a measurable competency to be assessed as part of a performance review? How many managers have ever been fired because they sucked at interviewing? I wonder.
And while many organizations will go through the motions to “train” managers how to interview; my experience is that there is minimal to no follow-up to reinforce the skills. Some organizations even take the time to teach managers the importance of asking meaningful behavioral-based interview questions. And then, step back and expect managers to create their own questions. And guess what? Most of the time, managers quickly revert to their old, tired, potentially illegal, and likely sucky interview questions. Managers should not be expected to make up their own interview questions. Provide managers with the great questions and let them focus their efforts on assessing the answers.
Let’s just accept the fact that interviewing is a leadership competency that should be in every job description, every performance review, and every development plan. We should never allow ourselves to joke about the fact that we suck at something so critical to the success of our organizations.
There is hope, though. There are ways to improve the quality of your interviews. Asking interview questions to assess if a manager can ask good interview questions and effectively assess the answers is a great starting point. In fact, it’s the foundation.
Here’s a crazy thought…maybe you could actually ask interview questions to assess if a manager can ask good interview questions and effectively assess the answers. Ponder that.
If you believe I am wrong, prove it. Nothing would make me happier!
If you have cracked the code on interviewing, and all your managers are effectively trained, and you have a solid infrastructure in place to provide strong, consistent use of structured interview guides, and you can proudly brag about your quality of hire and candidate experience data…then good for you. You win!
Bottom line: Your managers shouldn’t suck at interviewing. If you are not sure that you have a solid infrastructure in place to provide strong, consistent use of structured interview guides, take a long look in the mirror. My gut tells me that you probably already know the answer…and it’s time to fix the problem.