How to make selection interviews ‘effective, efficient and fair’ by using a Professional Chairperson

How to make selection interviews ‘effective, efficient and fair’ by using a Professional Chairperson

When your organisation needs to hire new people there is always a fear that you might make a mistake. You might hire someone who turns out to be not as good as they say they are or they may not be as good with the customers as you hoped.
By the time you find out you have already invested a lot of time and effort in the process. Rectifying the mistake can be expensive and uncomfortable for everyone. The solution is to make sure you get the right person in the first place. One of the best ways to achieve this is to use an experienced, professional Chairperson to lead the interview panel.

Some of the reasons why interviews fail to deliver the best candidate are because of failings with the interviewers.

1) Extroverts enjoy interviews – introverts don’t
Many people find interviews very difficult events – not so the extroverts amongst us who revel in the opportunity to talk about themselves and all the fantastic things they have done. First of all the interviewer is just pleased that the interviewee is talking but then the challenge is to get them to shut up! Introverted, shy people find interviews very uncomfortable and may not perform well in this situation.
Extroverts perform well in the interview but, consider “Do I want a whole company full of extroverts?”

2) Relying on gut feeling
Many interviewers like to rely on their gut feeling. ‘I will know the best candidate when I see them’. Of course if you look at ACAS or any of the modern literature you will know that this approach is a sure fire way of making a bad decision or even getting into trouble with employment law. An unsuccessful candidate can say you were biased. When the tribunal ask you for evidence to show you are not biased, relying on ‘gut feeling’ as your defence may not be a very successful ploy.
Ask yourself, “Is it possible that my gut feeling could be wrong?”

3) Using poor questions
The untrained interviewer is not using the tools for the job very well. And the tools are the questions they wield.
The question for the candidate they like the look of might be a leading question “You sound like a great team worker, is that right?” How would you respond to that leading question?
Or maybe you ask the candidate a hypothetical question “If you were the chief executive of our company what would be your three main priorities for the next year? Of course the problem with a hypothetical is that there is not one answer – so how do you know what the right answer is?
What you need are competency based behavioural questions – but more on that in a future blog!
Using the right type of question is really important. Do you know a leading question from a hypothetical question?

The ACAS code on effective selection suggests that interviews should be: effective, efficient and fair.
Using a Professional Chairperson means that you are more likely to achieve this. With help, you can overcome bias, gut feeling, poor preparation and poor questions to get the best candidate for the job – which means being effective.
Trained Chairs are less likely to make mistakes and will help you make the best use of your interview resources – you can be more efficient.
Fairness, equality and diversity are really important issues and the Professional Chair will have a background and understanding of how to make your process fair. Another benefit of a well-structured process is that unsuccessful candidates can go away feeling they have been treated fairly.

So there are many compelling reasons for using a trained interview chair. They will help you with the process, they can make sure the right topic areas are covered and that the right questions are asked. They help you make the right decision. You can achieve Effective, Efficient and Fair recruitment.

I hope you found this blog useful. John Kempton is an experienced interview skills trainer and an experienced interviewer. For more ideas on how to improve the quality of your interviewing or to talk about using a Professional Chairperson for your recruitment email me on or look at my website

If you want to download my book on Human Resource Management and Development go to

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