First off, let me start out by saying Barbara Walters and I have the same job title, but not the same job… as much as I wish we did. Barbara Walters is one of the best interviewers in the world, bar none. She is prepared, she does her research, and she gets people to continuously tell her things that they wouldn’t tell anyone else. Charlie Rose is also another great example of an amazing interviewer. He asks probing questions, and then has this amazing talent at letting the conversation take its natural course.

I, although am no Barbara or Charlie, am also an interviewer. My job however is vastly different from that of Ms. Walters or Mr. Rose for one reason: the power difference between the interviewer and a candidate is one sided; the power scales of course tipping to the advantage of the interviewer. Barbara Walters is a powerhouse in her own right, and yet, the people that she interviews run countries, declare wars and are all around considered VIPs. There isn’t really a large power difference at play there. They aren’t looking to her to provide them a lively hood, and in all honesty, it is actually her looking to THEM for her lively hood.

When a hiring manager is interviewing someone, they typically don’t understand the enormous power they have over their candidates. Further, when they don’t understand this dynamic, it becomes nearly impossible that they are then able to make an effective hiring decision. Being clear and aware of the roles and power plays at work are a major advantage to the interviewer, and will further aid them in successful hiring decisions.

An interviewer who is fully aware of their role in the situation is only part of the equation however. It’s not surprising then to learn that lots of people are confused about the role of an interviewer. Some people think that an interviewer is a Human Resources professional. Human resources is defined as the function within an organization charged with managing policies related to the management of individuals who already work in the establishment. Therefore, they are not related to bringing new talent in. The responsibility interviewers perform is the formal meetings for the assessment of the qualifications of an applicant. In other words, interviewers identify future staff. While the roles of human resource professionals sometimes require them to also perform the duties of an interviewer, this is not essentially part of their job description. People also often confuse interviewers with recruiters or headhunters. Recruiters solicit people to apply for positions. Interviewers select the candidates and determine the finalists for review by management of the company.

If your human resources department is performing interviews, look into additional training to give them the appropriate tools. Nowhere in their education is this job skill addressed.

No one can, or should, replace the hiring manager in the interview process. Hiring managers are essential for maintaining and creating an effective hiring process within the organization.

Author's Bio: 

Beth Smith graduated from the University of Texas in 1995 with degrees in History and Social Work, a minor in English, and additional course work in psychology, philosophy and child development. She has won awards for Women Who Make a Difference in Boulder, Business Owner of the Year, and Certificates of Service for The Hill Alliance and The Responsible Hospitality Group. Beth developed the Response Analysis System™ that has proven effective with 91% of hires still employed by the company after 12 months. Beth Smith has conducted thousands of interviews using her proprietary Response Analysis System™.