Guide: Train your interviewers

Have interviewers practice

One of the best ways to train interviewers is to give them practice so they have a consistent frame of reference for what is a great, mediocre, or poor interview. At Google, this is called calibration. Calibration across interviewers is one of the most important ways to ensure valid ratings.

Some groups calibrate new interviewers by having them shadow more experienced interviewers. After interviewers have shadowed a few interviews, the hiring team may ask them to “reverse shadow” where the new interviewer runs the interview and the experienced interviewer observes to provide feedback.

Here’s how the reverse shadow process looks:

Before the interview:

  • The new interviewer sets up an informal meeting with the experienced interviewer.
  • The new interviewer presents their plan of action on how to conduct the interview, including what questions they plan to ask (including follow-up questions), what they expect the candidate to answer, and how these questions will help make a decision.
  • The experienced interviewer should give feedback at this time.

During the interview:

  • The new interviewer leads the interview.
  • The experienced interviewer sits quietly and observes but should jump in if needed to steer the interview in the right direction. This will ensure that the interview is high-quality.

After the interview:

  • Both the new and the experienced interviewers independently write feedback, including an interview score ranking the candidate. This step is really important! This ensures that the hiring committee gets feedback from all experienced interviewers.
  • After the shadowing and reverse shadowing, the new interviewer can set up an informal meeting with the experienced interviewer to discuss the quality of interview questions, quality of feedback, and any other tips on how to conduct the interview. They compare interview scores to assess any discrepancies.
  • Google's independent hiring committees rely heavily upon interview feedback to make the ultimate hiring decision. Therefore, it’s also important for the hiring committee to give interviewers feedback on the usefulness of their interview assessment. We call this “feedback on feedback” as the committee tells the interviewer how they might improve their interview feedback. Yes, at Google, we love feedback.

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