The value of interviewer training goes beyond the recruitment process, contrary to what most people may perceive. The interview activity is used in just about every aspect of a business. While interviewing may seem as simple as an exchange of questions and answers, the real skillful interviewer will be able to derive answers and valuable information that may otherwise go unspoken in normal conversations. This is why interviewer training is critical for any personnel that needs to interact with a client, a potential candidate or another employee of the company.The skills to conduct effective interviews are critical at every level of the office hierarchy. Frontline staff needs some degree of interviewing skills to thresh out and clarify customer concerns. Middle managers must be able to probe their staff members to assess their performance and address any area of needs which may not be obvious in the conduct of day-to-day operations. Higher management needs to interview the rest of the organization to draw out problems, or solutions to problems and is crucial in the pursuit of business development, managerial promotions as well as in maintaining high-key customer relationships.An employee will experience the interview process from getting hired into the organization, to daily interactions with customers and higher-ups, even during performance appraisals, all the way to exit interviewers should the employee resigns or retires from the company. The people who must be proficient in interviewing includes the human resource department, the customer service staff, auditors, supervisors, managers and the top executives. This demonstrates clearly that interviewer training is an indispensable requirement in workforce development.The Role of the InterviewerThe interviewers role is critical in any business environment because their aim is to assess qualifications and competencies as compared against the business objectives of the company. For example, the human resource interviewer may look at the qualifications of a candidate for a job opening. A manager may probe into the performance of staff members and see if they are operating up to expectations. The chief executives will need to interview key employees to determine issues and come up with solutions to fulfill the goals of the business organization.In addition, the interviewer does not simply ask questions to their subjects. The interviewer must be able to elicit a response as well as challenge that response appropriately to test and verify the information provided. During recruitment especially, everybody puts their best foot forward in hopes of landing the job. The interviewer needs to be aware of verbal and non-verbal cues exhibited by the interviewee to properly assess the value of the response.Areas in Interviewer TrainingIn interviewer training, the following areas must be addressed: Enhancement of listening skills Preparation of interview questions Becoming familiar with common answers Developing probing skills or the ability to draw answers Understanding body languageOther matters that require learning concerning the conduct of interviews include pacing of questions, proper phrasing and being conscious of interviewer bias.Interviews are at the core of staffing development from recruitment to post-employment. Interviewer training is therefore vital at every step of the organizational ladder. Through interviewer training, businesses can save precious dollars that would otherwise be siphoned off by high employee turnover rates and failed business objectives that may be attributed to faulty interviews.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sheila Mulrennan is a business author and journalist who regularly
contributes articles on Management, Personal Development and interviewer training to leading business publications. Visit www.professionaldevelopment.ie for more information.