Interviewer Training vs. Coaching: What’s the difference and why does each matter?

Camille Hogg

Camille Hogg

21 Jun 2022 • 4 min read

Behind every great organization, there’s a great hiring process. But behind every great hiring process, there’s a team of interviewers who have developed the skills and confidence to run great interviews and identify people that will contribute to your organization’s success.

The best organizations know this — and that’s why they have rigorous processes in place that keep their hiring bar high while creating a great experience for candidates. They also know that interviewer training and coaching are two essential components that help them build their world-class team.

Interviewer training and coaching might sound synonymous, but in reality they’re different, complementary processes that equip your interviewers with the knowledge, skills and individualized feedback to lead great interviews — every time.

You need both to create a hiring process that encourages long-term learning, continually upskills your interviewers, and enables you to identify and hire the best candidates for your organization.

In this post, we’ll outline the difference between training and coaching, and how you can combine them effectively to maximize your return on investment from your interviewer training.

Training equips your team with the core knowledge to run effective and consistent interviews

Training is an effective learning delivery method that introduces us to new concepts, and helps us build connections between a new topic and what we know already. But one place it’s often overlooked is in the hiring process.

Interviewer training is essential to driving a number of positive hiring outcomes that help you hire better, faster, and more equitably. Here’s why:

  • Interviews are more rigorous: Well-trained interviewers are more likely to lead a rigorous interview process, meaning they’re better able to identify a great candidate whose values and skills align best with your organization.
  • Interviewers are less biased: Trained interviewers are more likely to stick to a structured process, meaning there’s less likelihood of bias creeping into your decision-making.
  • Better candidate experience: Structured, consistent interviews create a better candidate experience, increasing your likelihood of closing a key hire and decreasing time-to-hire.

But when your interviewer training is a one-off process or runs in isolation from practical skills development or feedback loops, it will never deliver optimal results.

If each trainee only receives training once, then the knowledge will begin to decay before they even set foot in the interview room. If you don’t provide your trainees with regular opportunities to practice their skills, then anything learned in training sessions won’t translate into long-term skills development.

Over time, this might mean your interviewers lean on old habits, or are more likely to succumb to bias, making it more challenging to maintain your bar for hiring quality and to build a diverse team.

Keeping your hiring bar high and your interviewers calibrated requires a proactive approach — and the best way to accomplish this is with coaching.

Coaching provides personalized and contextual feedback that drives self-improvement and maintains your hiring bar

As interviewers graduate your training process and start putting their skills to the test with real candidates, it’s critically important to make sure that they stay aligned with interview best practices, as well as your organization’s specific hiring requirements.

This is where coaching is a powerful tool. Coaching is a form of learning that enables us to improve our performance and skills with a goals-focused approach to learning and development.

In the workplace, research shows that coaching is immensely effective for helping employees achieve goals and internalize knowledge, because it focuses on timely, specific feedback that targets individual outcomes and behavior change. It’s also led by a hands-on approach, which has a strong correlation with improved learning outcomes.

When organizations implement coaching to complement the interviewer training process, they can encourage long-term knowledge development by delivering personalized, contextual feedback that helps each interviewer know exactly what they need to do to improve or maintain their skills.

Over time, this reinforces good habits, and weeds out the bad ones via consistent feedback loops, and helps organizations extend the impact of their training process long-term.

Straightforward enough in theory — but the reality of overseeing interviews and providing regular, personalized feedback to interviewers will prove challenging for even the most well-resourced teams.

We built Metaview Coach help you overcome this challenge and scale an automated coaching process that keeps your hiring bar high. It can proactively spot patterns of behavior and areas for improvement that might otherwise fly under the radar.

This means your interviewers get personalized insights and feedback based on evidence from real candidate interviews, so they know exactly when:

  • They’ve missed out on key interview components like introducing themselves or closing an interview properly.
  • They could have phrased an interview question better for clarity.
  • They've asked too few questions, signalling that the interview lacks rigor.
  • There was a missed an opportunity to ask a follow-up question.

Over time, coaching proactively equips your interviewers with specific information on exactly how and why they need to change their interview habits, meaning everyone stays calibrated, consistent, and empowered to lead great interviews.

Both training and coaching are vital to every great hiring process

Training and coaching are two essential components of your interviewing process. When combined, they can extend the impact of your interviewers’ knowledge development, leading to better hiring outcomes across your whole organization.

Developing a great hiring process requires time, investment, and commitment to get things up and running. As such, it’s critical to build a system that works for your organization long-term — even if that means implementing coaching and training one at a time.

Building a strong hiring team and optimizing your hiring process hinges on creating the right balance between the two, and enabling long-term continuous knowledge development that puts individual learning goals at its center.

And when organizations get the balance right, this investment pays off. Organizations with complementary training and coaching frameworks in place can decrease their time-to-hire by 14%, reduce their interviews-per-hire by 28%, and improve their candidate acceptance rate by 16%.

Metaview helps ambitious organizations run amazing interviews.

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