I have heard hiring managers ask questions and make comments such as why do we have to interview? and interviewing should strictly be a human resources function. Interviewing can seem like a very daunting task. Unfortunately, in many organizations hiring managers who do not actively participate in the interview process are often the first individuals complaining to human resources and initiating some sort of disciplinary action. Those managers are either forced to accept sub-standard performance or issues occur which could have been addressed during the interview process. My point, hiring managers who play a role in the interview process have a unique opportunity to select, engage, and proactively set the course for employee development, career path, and overall day-to-day performance. Interviews are an essential tool to ensure new hires are acclimated to company culture. It offers a chance for the employee to completely understand expectations of the position, their direct supervisor, or hiring manager.
I get it, taking a moment in our busy schedules to sit in a room or on a zoom meeting full of people does not seem like a meaningful way to spend time. Also interviewing requires professionalism and must be taken seriously due to the legal implications. To be direct interviews are not always fun. I sympathize with hiring managers that are more heads down or process focused. We all have responsibilities in our positions that are not enjoyable. We can all say certain tasks should be delegated to another person or department who can complete the process better but hiring managers or direct supervisors must take ownership of team creation and building. Interviews can only help to ensure individuals with the best knowledge, skills, and abilities are selected to meet productivity, department, or company goals.
I can honestly say interviewing is a skill. I will attempt to make the interviewing process easier to comprehend. For most human resources professionals, it is a function developed after conducting thousands of telephone screens and in-person interviews. As human resources professionals, we are educated and practice ways to ask pertinent questions. Over time we learn how to provide relevant information and interact professionally with candidates or potential employees. Some hiring managers lose focus and get caught in the performance of the task rather than understanding the purpose of interviewing. Human resources managers are accountable for the structure, justification, and sometimes the overall fairness of hiring. Literally interviewing has legal consequences beyond meeting company or professional standards. Supervisors or Managers must understand hiring has a cost! Making a poor hiring choice can be financially devastating to a company or department’s productivity. As human resources professionals, we can only suggest solutions and initiate corrective or disciplinary actions. Supervisors or hiring managers will be the recipients and must deal with a poor hiring choice.
The next time you hear a hiring manager say, “why do we need to conduct an interview?”, the best response is to pay for it now with an interview or pay later. Let me explain the meaning of pay later. Specifically, the consequences of poor hires are paid with time conducting performance improvement, disciplinary actions, suffering the consequences of legal actions or financial losses. Most companies recognize losing productivity, and missing department or company goals should be avoided at all times.
I would like to thank Marcia Chambers of Business Interface LLC for the idea regarding the purpose of interviewing from a classroom exercise. Stay tuned for my next article regarding human resources and employment-focused subjects in the series, Staffing 101.