According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)’s benchmarking data, the average cost to hire an individual is $4,700. But this is not a fixed number. An organization might end up spending as much as three to four times the position’s salary to hire the ideal candidate.

Besides the monetary costs, hiring also involves indirect costs, such as monopolizing the time and energy of human resources (HR) leaders and departmental managers.

Since hiring a new team member is a significant business investment, this is a process that can’t be rushed. But the time taken to interview and screen potential candidates gives way to competition costs.

Competition costs, though an indirect cost, have financial ramifications as an organization stands to lose a great candidate midway through the hiring process. So how can HR leaders reduce time and fast-track the overall hiring process? By undergoing interview training to assess candidate potential the right way.

Should HR Leaders Receive Interview Training?

HRs are strategic business leaders. To that end, they juggle a multitude of responsibilities on a day-to-day basis, including:

  • Supporting performance management.
  • Retaining employees.
  • Recruiting talent.
  • At times, handling new hire training and development activities for existing employees (if no learning and development department exists).
  • Managing employee benefits.
  • Taking disciplinary actions.
  • Maintaining employee-employer relations.
  • Cultivating a positive work environment.

HR leaders also serve as an organization’s morale boosters, “unofficial therapists” and cheerleaders. It also falls under their purview to identify vital talent gaps in their organization and maximize the internal talent pool while keeping an eye out for external talent to address any critical talent issues.

But is that enough to bridge the gap between demand for talent and talent availability? Not quite.

Over one-half of chief human resources officers (CHROs) reported that their organization is facing a critical talent shortage. More importantly, only a mere 19% of them are equipped to fill the gap. Given an unprecedented demand for talent, changing employee preferences and evolving ambitions of millennials, there’s a talent shortage. Thus eliciting a war for talent.

In this war for talent, HRs must partner with executives and organizational leaders to salvage and manage present and future talent risks. To be on the winning side, HR leaders need to shorten the recruiting funnel and assess candidate potential right off the bat.

Reducing the time to hire will give businesses a competitive edge, since 65% of organizations lose candidates due to their long recruitment process. But how can they achieve this? They can achieve this and more by undergoing interview training to enhance the efficacy of their interview process and effectively gauge a candidate’s potential.

4 Ways To Train HR Leaders on Effective Interview Techniques

HR leaders seldom undergo interview training, and while recruiting forms a very important part of their role, they usually draw inspiration from their own past job interviews. This leaves little room for fresh and distinct interview tactics, making the process stale, drawn-out and inconclusive.

Since the candidate experience is often a deciding factor for interviewees, creating a positive first impression is vital. This is where interview training comes into the picture.

Here are four best practices for training HR leaders on how to conduct effective interviews:

1. Teach them to find detail-oriented candidates.

Finding a detail-oriented employee is the dream of every HR leader, but it can also feel like finding a needle in a haystack most of the time. So what can they do to find detail-oriented employees?

HR leaders can either develop elaborate challenges for the candidates or design a comprehensive skills assessment and follow it up with an attention-to-detail questionnaire to weed out candidates whose approach is very lackadaisical and doesn’t fit your requirements.

Attention to detail interview questions can help HR leaders choose efficient, resourceful and diligent candidates. For instance, your questionnaire can include questions such as:

  • What is your process to ensure error-free work?
  • Working in a team, you must encounter several distractions. How do you limit them?
  • How would you check a piece of work handed to you by your seniors for errors?
  • If you’re collaborating with team members on a project and come across errors in the work of one of your teammates, how will you address the issue?
  • Do deadlines affect the quality of your work? If yes, how?
  • Describe a project that needed extreme attention to detail and how you executed it.
  • Do you organize your projects based on quality or quantity? Explain your reasoning behind your answer.

Training professionals should encourage HR leaders to pay attention to a candidate’s resume, cover letter or portfolio, assess their behavior during the interview process, dissect and examine their answers from all angles, test their knowledge of the company, and identify if they’re a shade too “perfectionist” for your organization.

Attention to detail is a highly desirable trait, and hiring a detail-oriented candidate can work wonders for an organization, especially if the role is managerial in nature.

2. Train HR leaders to conduct interviews in a way that combats bias.

An interviewer usually forms their judgment regarding a candidate within the first few minutes of the interview. These judgments are often the result of unconscious bias regarding gender, socio-economic status, race and ethnicity, and more. These biases can lead to unequal treatment of candidates and disrupt your organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) goals as a result.

Training leaders should encourage HR leaders to tackle diversity and inclusion-related problems by standardizing interviews. Since unstructured interviews are open to interpretation and can’t be applied across the spectrum to compare all interviewees, across demographics, interviews should be structured. Structured interviews are objective and free from bias, as all candidates are asked the same interview questions, leaving no room for interpretation (or bias).

To take advantage of structured interviews, HR leaders must familiarize themselves with the process of creating behavioral questionnaires, understand the rating system used in the organization, and score each candidate purely based on their answers.

3. Practice with HR leaders through mock interviews.

Practice makes perfect. Mock interviews can help HRs run through their interview process in a simulated environment to avoid getting flustered or forgetting key information while interviewing a potential candidate.

This process can help inexperienced and seasoned HR leaders alike sharpen their skills and add new tools to their arsenal. By incorporate mock interviews into your HR training, HR leaders will be better able to:

  • Recognize and familiarize themselves with the steps involved in an interview.
  • Grasp the resume of potential candidates and prepare points for an engaging conversation.
  • Curate tailored questions for the role to be filled.
  • Determine how to present themselves before, during and after an interview.
  • Examine and assess the candidate’s answers during the interview.
  • Learn how to conduct an interview that is compliant with legal requirements.

Mock interviews form a safe space for HR leaders to identify their strengths and weaknesses as an interviewer.

4. Educate HR leaders to observe and read body language and non-verbal cues.

Candidates drop many non-verbal cues during an interview. While they’re not as easily understandable or recognizable as verbal answers, they’re equally important in learning about a candidate.

Exploring and understanding body language can help HR leaders understand an interviewee’s thoughts and emotions. In other words, it helps them read in-between the lines.

For example, Candidate A might project himself to be confident and sophisticated. But if he taps his foot a lot, constantly wipes sweat off his forehead and is highly uncomfortable with direct eye contact, that can give away their true confidence level. This is important, as Candidate A’s body language could distract clients and customers if he’s interviewing for a customer-facing role.

Similarly, several candidates might anticipate and prepare themselves for the questions they might encounter during an interview. Their well-prepared answers might not present an accurate picture, but their poker face might not be as good as their answer. Reading and interpreting body language can also help HR leaders diffuse certain situations and put their candidates at ease. Bonus benefit? This also helps HR leaders control their body language and project a positive tone throughout the interview.


Interview training is essential for HR leaders to “find their groove” and assess candidates using key metrics rather than relying on age-old systems or half-baked strategies. This training is also essential to remove any unconscious biases and conduct an interview in a standardized manner that ensures an equitable experience for all.