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Interview Training for Hiring Managers

Written by

Lauren Barber

Reviewed by

VidCruiter Editorial Team

Last Modified

May 11, 2024
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Interview training lays the foundation for effective and equitable interviews. Organizations can dramatically improve hiring practices by teaching interviewers about topics to avoid, best practices, proven techniques, and how to follow a structured interview process. Don't underestimate the importance of focused interview training for hiring managers — it directly impacts hiring outcomes.

Every organization should have an interview training course to provide interviewers from every department, job level, and demographic with the tools and skills necessary to interview effectively and efficiently.

Why You Should Invest in Interview Training for Hiring Managers

There’s more at stake than you might realize in an interview. It costs up to 40% of an employee’s base salary to hire someone new and provide them with benefits (Zippia). To put this in perspective, if the employee makes $30,000, it will cost approximately $12,000.

In a CareerBuilder survey of 2,100 hiring managers, 1 in 5 admitted to asking an illegal interview question before they knew better. If a poor interview results in a lawsuit, it can cost the company its reputation.

The best way to support legal defensibility and increase your success ratio is interview training.

Success Ratio
Hiring manager training

Consider including DEI training in your training program because it gives hiring managers the necessary skills and knowledge to interview properly. Unfortunately, it often gets skipped.

The benefits of interview training for hiring managers

Well-trained hiring managers…

  • Understand the importance of interviewing
  • Create a positive candidate experience
  • Offer and provide accessibility accommodations
  • Are aware of common hiring biases
  • Follow rating and interview guides
  • Avoid illegal interview questions
  • Select candidates based on job-relevant competencies

How To Prepare for Interview Training

Every interview training program is unique because every organization has unique processes, considerations, and policies. The basic goal of training is to provide interviewers with the information they need to lead or participate in the interview process successfully.

Your answers to these four questions will help you design your interview training:

1. What role does the interviewer play in the interview process, and what are they responsible for?

Creating checklists and explaining relevant policies is hard without knowing what you need them to do.

2. What do you want your interviewers to be able to execute independently, correctly, and consistently after training?

This might include logistical tasks like completing a digital interview scorecard or communicating decisions with candidates.

3. What core topics do you want interviewers to understand the importance of after training?

Topics like candidate experience, hiring bias, or structured interviewing.

4. What interview techniques do you want to teach your interviewers?

Consider teaching them how to:

  • Prepare for an interview
  • Build rapport
  • Offer different types of accessibility accommodations
  • Manage tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language
  • Take proper notes
  • Manage time
  • Listen and rate decisively
  • Answer frequently asked questions

8 interviewing tips every interviewer should know

Regardless of what type of job interview you are conducting, here are eight interviewing tips that apply across the board.

  1. Be on time.
  2. Ask the candidate how to say their name if you need clarification (and put the pronunciation in their file).
  3. Refrain from trying to multi-task during an interview.
  4. Explain at the beginning of the interview what to expect.
  5. Don’t rely on non-verbal cues — focus primarily on what they are saying.
  6. Due to time constraints, sometimes you have to cut someone off. Be polite and blame the clock.
  7. Always thank them for their time.
  8. Leave enough time for them to ask questions.

Considerations When Designing Hiring Manager Training

Part of designing interview training is considering delivery.

Will you offer online interview training for hiring managers, or will it be in person?

How often will you offer or conduct training? Will you do follow-up training, and if so, what will be the format?

Will you provide training for recruiters and hiring managers in the same or separate sessions?

The best interview training uses feedback to improve continuously. Send a survey after training to collect feedback and determine how often you will update the program (quarterly? annually?).

Reviewing hiring managers’ interview performance can be another way to determine if your interview training is good. Performance can be measured using interview intelligence tools, or you can monitor other metrics like candidate feedback scores, pass rates, Glassdoor reviews, and quality of hire.

Considerations when designing hiring manager training

What To Cover in Interview Training

Your interview training program should be unique to your organization and training goals. Here’s a list of things to consider covering in interview training, as well as some ideas on how to deliver this information in the interview training.

Pre and Post-Interview Responsibilities

What is the hiring manager expected to do before and after the interview? Cover tasks in training they may have to complete. Include the directions and details elsewhere (in a training guide) so they can revisit if needed.

For example, a hiring manager may need to be involved in interview scheduling, or a job analysis might need to be done before the interview if it’s a unique position, but after the interview, there’s less work because someone else takes care of notifying the candidates, negotiation, and onboarding. The expectations will differ depending on the role and your organization’s interview process.

How to Conduct Structured Interviews

Since unstructured and semi-structured interviewing is common, most interviewers are used to having a lot of flexibility in interviews, so switching to structured interviewing might be a bigger challenge than they realize.

You’ll have to help interviewers unlearn their habits as they learn how to conduct structured interviews, where they’ll closely follow a pre-determined course of action. Standardization may feel counterintuitive because interviewers can no longer go with the flow and rely on their instincts like they used to, but it will improve hiring outcomes (Forbes).

Whether your organization already conducts structured interviews and you’re providing formal training for the first time, or you’re providing training as part of transitioning from unstructured to structured interviewing, you’ll want to start by emphasizing the ‘why.’ Show participants stats like these to get buy-in:

Structured interviews have the highest standalone predictive validity of all the tested interview tools (American Psychological Association).

A study in the International Journal of Selection and Assessment found that unstructured interviews were more frequently challenged in court than any other type of candidate selection device.

Research shows a structured interview administered by a single interviewer has the same predictive validity as 3 or 4 unstructured interviews (American Psychological Association).

Provide them with a sample rating and interview guide, and describe how they will use each in detail. Once they understand the principles, mock interviews are a great tool to practice this interview format.

Send this in-depth guide to your hiring managers

Download The Modern Guide To Structured Interviewing →

How to Combat Hiring Bias

Organizations need to provide strategies to avoid unintentional discrimination in the hiring process.

One approach is to make DEI training mandatory in addition to interview training or make it part of it. DEI training teaches interviewers about a range of personal biases and how to avoid common pitfalls like making judgments based on intuition or selecting people based on cultural fit (which is a myth, according to TalentRise).

Following a structured interview process closely is also a reliable way for interviewers to treat everyone the same way and assess based on job-relevant competencies.

Combat Hiring Bias

How To Create a Positive Candidate Experience

Explain why candidate experience is so important and share tips interviewers can use to make candidates more comfortable while staying within the bounds of the interview process.

Collect feedback from candidates after the interview

How will you know how candidates feel about your organization’s interviewers and interview process without asking? External feedback is a powerful tool you can use to improve your interview training.

If you don’t collect candidate feedback, start with an anonymous survey that goes out after they finish an interview. Assure candidates that whatever they write will not be considered in the decision process.

Interview Feedback

Illegal Interview Questions and Practices

Illegal interview questions can land your organization in hot water. Often, they are asked innocently to try to put the candidate at ease, but as you just learned, there are other ways to create a positive candidate experience.

Teach interviewers what to avoid asking or talking about or how to conduct structured interviews.

Structured interviewing is less risky than unstructured interviewing because the questions are all approved in advance and based on core competencies identified in the job analysis. The interview should not be discriminatory if the interviewer follows the guide closely.

Below are some illegal interview topics to teach your hiring managers they should avoid and some tactics to support interviewers with legal compliance.



Have a DEI expert and I/O psychologist validate the interview questions and rating guide in advance. This makes the interview more inclusive and prevents illegal interview questions or biased language from making it to the interview.

Teach interviewers what to do with volunteered information. The best practice is to avoid pursuing that line of discussion, documenting the information in the interview notes, or considering it when they rate the candidate and make selection decisions.

Discuss or ask about:

  • Country of origin
  • Citizenship status
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Family structure or children
  • Marital status
  • Mental or physical health
  • Disabilities
  • Appearance, height, or weight
  • Pardoned offenses
  • Financial status

How To Take Notes

Poor interview documentation can create issues, especially if someone files a complaint and there are no notes or records of their interview.

If you don’t already have one, create a policy around interview documentation to outline rules around taking notes, remind interviewers they are discoverable, and prevent people from capturing irrelevant information. Quiz hiring managers on this policy after training them on it.

Taking Notes

How To Use the Interview Platform

Give hiring managers all the training and support they need to effectively use your organization’s chosen hiring platform for interviewing. If necessary, illustrate how it integrates with your organization’s applicant tracking system.

Get them comfortable with the digital version of your interview workflow, and make sure they know how to navigate the digital interview guide and how to fill out and submit the scorecard.

There could be a steep learning curve, especially for interviewers uncomfortable with technology. See if the vendor can support you by offering interview platform training or training guides to your hiring managers.

What Is DEI Training?

According to the Association for Talent Development, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training helps “workplaces become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive, particularly for employees from underrepresented or historically marginalized communities.”

There are subtypes of DEI training that educate employees in different ways and influence how they behave, including a type specifically focused on hiring and interviewing. This type of DEI training benefits all staff involved in hiring.

In DEI training for hiring, participants learn a variety of things, including (but not limited to):

  • All about hiring biases: how we develop them and how they impact hiring decisions
  • Where and how different biases can creep into the hiring process
  • Interview strategies and techniques to disrupt bias and avoid common mistakes
  • How to define success and assess your organization’s hiring practices

DEI training is important for interviewers because it minimizes the impact of hiring biases on ratings, helps prevent unintentional discrimination, and supports greater organizational efforts to prioritize DEI.

Reduce Hiring Biases

Take Harvard’s Implicit Association Test (IAT)

Hiring managers can take an IAT as part of DEI or interview training. These tests detect the strength of subconscious associations between concepts in your memory, and the results help create self-awareness.

Educating people about bias isn’t enough to prevent bias, but it’s a solid first step. Harvard’s IAT (Project Implicit) is a free option to take advantage of.

Harvard Test

How Can a Hiring Platform Benefit Interviewer Training?

Hiring platforms, specifically those equipped with interview intelligence, increase transparency and provide AI insights about interviewer performance in video interviews.

Here are some ways you can leverage this technology to elevate interviewer training and performance.

Interview Software

Interview Intelligence

Remind Interviewers About Implicit Bias

At the beginning of every interview, create a reminder in the platform covering different types of bias to watch out for. Explain why a reminder like this is essential in training, and make interviewers confirm they’ve read it and understood it.

Enable Continuous Learning

With interview intelligence, there’s no end point for interviewer growth. AI can provide ongoing coaching and monitor trends over time, providing insights and allowing you to step in and offer additional support if needed.

Rewatch Interview Recordings

Easy access to all the video or hybrid interview recordings allows you to watch back interviews as if you were in the room, increasing accountability around following the rules and policies set out in training.

On The Spot Feedback

More advanced interview intelligence offers real-time feedback on things like talk-time ratios, so interviewers have the opportunity to correct their behavior immediately.

Track Interviewer Performance

Is interview compliance high or low? Determine if interviewers use what they learned in their initial training to conduct better interviews.

Produce Individualized Training Plans

AI interviewer analysis can send you feedback on interviewer performance, enabling you to produce individualized training plans to address areas of improvement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Interview Training for Recruiters and Hiring Managers the Same?

While DEI sensitivity training can be conducted simultaneously across departments, interview training should be tailored to specific roles if recruiters and hiring managers have distinct responsibilities. As a best practice, all personnel involved in hiring, from recruitment to selection, should at least receive general interview training.

Should You Offer Interview Training for Employees?

Not for all employees. Only those who are related, or will be related to the hiring process in the future, should receive some form of interviewer training.

What Is Behavioral Interview Training for Hiring Managers?

Behavioral interview training for hiring managers focuses specifically on the types of questions asked. Unlike standard training, this method centers on the candidates' past actions to gain an understanding of their professional behavior. It aims to predict a candidate’s future performance by assessing their core competencies through their previous behaviors.