Interview Guidelines for Interviewers

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Interview Guidelines for Interviewers

A few years ago interviewers would've moved a candidate from one step in the interview process to the next, based on how they felt the candidate did in the interview. This approach created many problems as humans can easily be biased by their own experiences or a candidate's experience and traits. Recently, the transition from a subjective (feel-based) to a systematic (data-driven) interview approach has changed how we interview—removing much of the subjectively and replacing it with fairness, inclusion, and objectivity.

Much of this change has come from developments in technology that allow you to create inclusive candidate experiences like blind resumes, scorecards that measure vital metrics key role performance, and interview intelligence software that measures tonal changes and micro-expressions. Video interview platforms like Pillar now offer candidate scoring as well as interviewer coaching resources so that hiring managers and recruiters are creating a great CX (candidate experience).

Interview guidelines for interviewers have also changed. The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) now has guidelines that all employers must abide by, and some organizations have created even stricter interviewing rules (like interview scripts for interviewers) to bring in diverse talent.

How To Start An Interview As The Interviewer

From scripts and outlines to semi-structured question formats there's no "one-size fits all" solution to start an interview conversation. How you conduct an interview as an interviewer will depend dramatically upon the role you're hiring for, the amount of time you have available, the environment, and your own personal style. But it should include a few things and be saved to your company cloud for review by every interviewer (Ours is a google doc entitled "How to Interview Someone, Example.").

1. Start with a warm welcome that sets the tone for the rest of your conversation. This might include small talk, icebreakers, and rapport building, and usually takes about 5 minutes.

2. Explain the role, expectations, culture, the company, what you're looking for in a candidate, and why this position is important to your team.

3. Ask questions that are relevant to the job description. Make sure they're semi-structured and open-ended so that you can assess the candidate with measurable performance metrics that give you the chance to learn more about whether they'd be a good fit for your team or not.

4. Make time for them to ask questions. In the early stages of the interview, it's important to understand whether or not they've come prepared. Not asking questions is a huge red flag, and suggests they may not have done the research required for a successful interview.

5. Actively listen and ask follow-up questions that measure their soft skills, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving abilities—this will give you a good glimpse of how this candidate might work with your team!

6. Have them complete any assessments that are relevant to the role (if applicable).

7. Finally, close the interview by thanking them for their time, providing feedback about their performance (if you can), and giving them a realistic perspective of timeframes and next steps.

How you start an interview as the interviewer is less important than how you finish it. If you're not great at cold opens, banter, and warmth upon initially meeting someone make sure to be factual, kind, curious, and helpful throughout the conversation. With a little bit of preparation and pre-planning, you'll get comfortable with creating a great CX that brings in top talent.

Interview Guidelines for Employers

As we mentioned above, the EEOC sets guidelines for employers that ensure diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity in the workplace. But these guidelines are meant to be a basic framework, and it's up to employers to create interview guidelines for interviewers within their company.

Over the last couple of years, we've received thousands of questions from HR teams, hiring managers, and recruiters about how to create interviewer guidelines - especially when it comes to assessing candidate red flags. So we gathered the Pillar team together and created a simple resource to help you navigate this process.

What Not to Ask in an Interview. A Guide to Interview Questions and Candidate Red Flags.

Interview guidelines for employers should include a few key components:

1) A document that outlines the company's policy on discrimination, harassment, and equal opportunity.

2) An outline of what questions are appropriate and which ones are off-limits or considered discriminatory. Examples might include questions regarding age, marital status, religion, race, ethnicity, etc. 

3) A list of candidate red flags to look out for, such as lack of preparedness or failure to ask questions on metrics vital to the role or company.

4) A clear explanation of the scoring system and how it will be used to evaluate candidates. This should include a rubric for each assessment category (e.g., technical skills, soft skills, cultural fit, etc.).

5) A rundown of the steps to follow if a candidate presents any red flags.

6) A rundown of the steps to follow if you feel the candidate is a great fit.

Creating interviewer guidelines is an important step toward building a more equitable and positive interviewing experience for all candidates. These guidelines will not only help your brand by creating a better CX, but they will ensure that you have a clear interview path for everyone you bring into your organization. These guidelines can live in either your company cloud or your interview intelligence software - but it's a must that every employee have access to them.

The primary goal during an interview is to identify great team members, so we need a process that weeds out the applicants who aren't a great fit while giving the same level of consideration and respect to everyone who chooses to go through the process.

Interview Guide for Hiring Managers

When you're hiring, it's important to ensure that the process is fair for all applicants and that each one can showcase their individual skills. A great way to do this is to create an interview guide for your hiring managers. This guide will provide them with clear role expectations, necessary qualifications, and consistent interviewing guidelines so they can properly evaluate each candidate on a level playing field.

You can also incorporate interviewing training for hiring managers and teams that clearly define the company's expectations and interview guidelines for interviewers. This training should include all the basics, such as interview structure, best practices for asking questions, lists of questions to ask, scorecards, and criteria for evaluating candidates. It is also important to provide a clear overview of the team and company culture and how that can be reflected in your hiring process.

If you're already a customer, each of the resources mentioned is available in your dashboard and can be accessed within your instance. If you're not yet a customer and you've noticed gaps in your hiring process that you'd like to fill, schedule a chat with someone on our team - we'd love to show you how we've helped our customers make better hiring decisions.

Guidelines For Interview Questions

The questions we're asked most often by hiring managers and recruiters new to the space is: "What can't I ask in the interview?" Guidelines for interview questions are essential for a fair and equitable hiring process, but there are many factors that can influence the types of questions used in an interview.

First, start by understanding what is legally required under your country's labor laws (the EEOC is the governing body in the United States and therefore sets regulations for companies doing business within the U.S.), but there are also guidelines for conducting an interview at the state and local levels that you must follow to stay compliant. Understanding these regulations will help you create a list of topics that must be avoided. For example, in the U.S., employers cannot ask questions about a candidate's race, gender, religious beliefs, or marital status - but check with your local governing body to ensure compliance.

Second, use this list of illegal interview questions as the basis for creating your own guidelines for conducting an interview.

Third, create a brand profile and questions that quantify cultural fit, personality profiles, and role-based assessments. This will help you get to know your candidates better and make sure they’re a good fit for the role, the team that they're joining, and the company as a whole.

Finally, focus on questions that are job-related, open-ended, and measurable. This will give you a clearer sense of how each candidate is likely to perform in the role you’re hiring for. We like to focus on past performance, tool familiarity, and a combination of hard and soft skills that have proven to be effective for our customers.

Interview Techniques for Employers

Interview techniques for employers are so vast that we won't even be able to scratch the surface in this final section. Some interviewers like the classic, structured approach where they have a list of questions prepared ahead of time and use a set format to ensure all candidates get the same treatment. Others are more open-end and prefer to let the conversation flow naturally so that the interviewer can pick up on verbal cues or nonverbal body language. Some use a full tech stack that automates 90%+ of the interview process, some prefer a printed resume, notebook, and pen.

There are also various types of interview techniques. Some interviewers like to ask qualitative questions such as “tell me about a difficult situation you faced in your last job and how you handled it” or “describe an accomplishment that you are most proud of.” Others prefer to use quantitative techniques such as role-based assessments or coding tests.

Regardless of the approach, interview techniques for recruiters and hiring managers alike should be tailored to the role and have one goal in mind - to facilitate an honest conversation between interviewer and candidate. Here are a few interviewing tips for managers to keep in mind:

1) Curiosity always wins! We like to refer to this as active listening, asking good follow-up questions, and unpacking things that the candidate says with enthusiasm.

2) Use open-ended questions that allow candidates to tell a story and provide more insight into who they are as a person and professional. This tip alone can help candidates self-select or opt out of a role.

3) Provide clarity and feedback throughout the interview process so that candidates can understand their strengths and areas for improvement.

4) Take action immediately. If you're seeing an interview technique that's not working, correct it. Sprint test, try new things, adjust your process, and look for new and creative ways to interview.

If something is broken in your hiring process, the faster you fix it, the faster you'll see results. This is where interview intelligence platforms like Pillar can have a huge impact. Our platform is powered by Ai (artificial intelligence) and provides candidate and interviewer insights that aren't available on any other platform. This allows hiring managers to assess candidates in an objective way and make better hiring decisions faster. It also allows companies to spend less on recruiting and decrease employee turnover. Schedule a demo to see more or check out our savings calculator to see how much you could be saving!