Improving Manager Adoption by Treating Structured Interviewing as Culture Change

By Posted in - Interviewing on March 21st, 2013 0 Comments

In my previous blog, Leveraging Software to Drive Effective Interviewing, I stated the biggest barrier to driving effective interviewing is the resistance of line managers to structure and standardized interviewing practices. In this blog, I want to discuss how to drive higher adoption rates by managers. The secret is recognizing that implementing structured interviewing is culture change and changing a culture is a significant undertaking. There are five key aspects of changing an interviewing culture from unstructured and individually determined to structured and consistent.

1. Senior Leader Support – Demonstrate ROI

A key part of increasing manager adoption of structured interviewing is to have the support and sponsorship of senior leaders. In order to gain their support, you need to demonstrate a significant return on investment. Fortunately this is easy to do. Consider these facts:

  • Research suggests that the difference in value between an employee performing at the 83rd percentile in their role compared to an employee at the 50th percentile is 40% of annual salary
  • Replacement of an employee can range from two to seven times his/her salary
  • Hiring and training costs can vary from 25 to 200% of annual compensation

Given the dollar difference in performance between a high performer and an average performer, incremental improvements in hiring quality equate to huge returns. Putting the right people in the right seats also reduces unwanted turnover which results in savings in replacement and onboarding costs.

2. Communication Strategy – Convince them it will help them be successful

In order to convince line leaders to interview differently, you need to communicate with them in a variety of formats. The focus on the communications should be, “Why do behavioral interviewing?” In addition to a ROI message and clear evidence of the superiority of structured interviewing compared to traditional interviewing, these communications should stress how the line leaders will benefit from the approach in terms of being better prepared and confident in their interviewing effectiveness.

A webinar can be an effective communication vehicle for reaching a variety of people in different locations.  It can also be recorded and placed on an organization’s intranet.  Staff meetings, newsletters and town hall meetings also are potential good communication tools.

3. Skill Building – Provide training to build skills and confidence

Interviewer training is a must. In addition to providing another key opportunity to engage line leaders in a discussion of the value of behavioral interviewing, it also builds their confidence in being able to apply the approach effectively. Topics should include:

  • Understanding and using competencies
  • How to use a structured interview guide
  • Components of a behavioral response
  • How to evaluate responses accurately
  • How to manage the interview process

The training should provide instructional videos that demonstrate the key steps in an effective interview as well as different techniques for ensuring good data are obtained. Finally, the training should provide adequate opportunity for skill practice with observation and feedback to ensure skills are mastered.

4. Involvement – Involve them in designing the process and content

Involvement helps to foster commitment. There are a number of areas where collaboration and involvement would be helpful.

  • Question selection – Line leaders should be involved in the review and selection of interview questions for the interview guides they will be using. Putting their fingerprints on the content helps to ensure they will actually use the structured interview guide.
  • Process design – Line leaders should also be involved in the design of the interview process. Key decisions are how many rounds of interviews to include, how many interviews in each round, who will be the interviewers and what competencies will be covered,
  • Candidate review – Obviously, the line leaders need to be involved in the discussion and review of candidate performance. Participation in data integration discussions helps to build commitment to the process.

5. Automate – Make it easy

Technology overcomes some of the biggest barriers in implementing behavioral interviewing. An interview management application should perform the following key activities.

  • Interview guide creation – The application should have an extensive database of competency models and associated interview questions as well as a defined process for easily and quickly generating professional interview guides.
  • Distribution of guides and capture of ratings – The application should distribute the guides electronically and support the capture of both ratings and comments.
  • Data integration and decision-making – The application should facilitate the integration of ratings across the interview team to generate summary ratings for each included competency. It should also generate decision support reports that facilitate the review of candidate performance and decisions on actions to be taken with each candidate. Finally, it should generate various compliance reports that mitigate legal risks.

These five components, if executed properly, can overcome resistance to interviewing structure and help create a culture that embraces structured behavioral interviewing. The benefits that follow would ensure continuation of the culture and create a competitive advantage in superior talent.

If you are interested in learning how OMNIview can assist you in effectively implementing behavioral interviewing, please  call us at 877.426.6222. Practical and affordable interview management software with efficient interviewer training can quickly convert bad interviewing practices into best practices.

Patrick Hauenstein, Ph.D.

About Patrick Hauenstein, Ph.D.

Patrick Hauenstein is the President and Chief Science Officer for OMNIview. During his free time Pat likes to cook. He is particularly fond of traditional southern cuisine. Pat is also an animal lover ...
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