Deciding who to hire is the most important decision a business makes.

But so many companies overlook the key to hiring success: training interviewers and recruiters. Without training, they lack the knowledge needed to identify and hire top candidates.

That’s why more leading organizations are turning to interview training programs to help shortcut hours upon hours – or even years – of interview experience.

The 4 Goals of an Interview Training Program:

Hire better employees faster.

Data from Workonic shows the best candidates are off the market in 10 days, proving you have to move fast to hire top talent.

Expand your pool of interviewers.

Help anyone in your company walk into an interview with confidence by training them on how to run an interview, what to cover, and how to spot a great candidate. Putting time and effort into your hiring process pays off: according to Glassdoor, businesses that invest in hiring see a 70% improvement in the quality of talent they recruit.

Counter biases and increase equity.

Undercover Recruiter found 33% of hiring managers know whether they should hire someone in the first 90 seconds of an interview. Interview training teaches interviewers equitable approaches that assess what matters: a candidate’s qualifications.

Achieve faster, more efficient hiring.

Interviews can be make-or-break for candidates: according to LinkedIn, 83% say an unimpressive experience can change their mind about a job. Trained interviewers are more likely to impress candidates by asking the right questions, giving thorough answers, and creating a welcoming space.

Ready to improve your hiring process – and overall business – with an interview training program? We’re here to help.

With this guide, you can build an interview training program that:

  • Teaches recruiters and interviewers how to run effective, insightful interviews
  • Gives every candidate a great experience
  • Increases interviewers’ confidence and lets your company culture shine
  • Reduces time to hire, so you can bring talent on board even faster
  • Creates a structured, consistent hiring process

Let’s begin.

How to Build a Winning Interview Training Program

“The honest truth is, I think interview training is massively neglected industry-wide. At many companies, it’s just a one-off conversation given to interviewers before their first interview.

Establishing an interview training program makes an organization a more attractive place to work. The optimal state for any business is to increase its overall hiring capacity. In other words, everyone becomes a recruiter of sorts and is able to participate in the acquisition of talent and skills. If recruiting and interviewing is everyone’s job, I think that makes a business more inclusive.”

Hung Lee

Curator at Recruiting Brainfood

Well-run interviews result in better outcomes for recruiters, interviewers, and candidates alike. But how do you build a training program that equips interviewers and recruiters with the resources they need to excel at 
hiring talent?

We spoke with top talent leaders to uncover their tips for building a 
training program that wins great candidates and keeps pace with rapid growth goals.

4 Steps to Build a Top-Notch Interview Training Program

Step 1: Set a solid foundation.

Before planning your program, invest time in research. Take it from the team at Unstoppable Domains, the leading provider of NFT domains and user-owned identity, who was tasked with growing the company’s workforce by 5x in just one year. They decided to implement an interview training program to reach this ambitious goal. Then, they began by gathering information across four key areas to inform their program.

Psssst. Don’t have enough time to build a full-scale training program? Find out how to set up an MVP version that can grow with your organization by skipping ahead here.

  1. Candidate experience. Gather candidates’ feedback about their interview experience to find areas for improvement.

    Tip: If you don’t currently collect feedback from candidates, this is the perfect time to start. Begin by creating a simple survey to send to candidates after they complete the hiring process. Ask questions like:

    • How would you rate the interview process on a scale from 1-10?
    • Was there anything that could have improved the process for you?
    • How well prepared do you feel your interviewers were?
    • On a scale from 1-10, how would you rate your overall experience interviewing at [your company]?
  2. Hiring maturity. See where your company lands on the hiring maturity curve, so you know how your hiring process stacks up against four characteristics – chaotic, inconsistent, systematic, and strategic.

    Tip: Want to uncover how your process ranks on the hiring maturity curve? Take Greenhouse’s assessment to find out.

    “When assessing our hiring maturity, we found inconsistencies across our departments, which was a roadblock for us to scale. We wanted to shift our maturity to be more consistent and – ultimately – more strategic.

    To help us become more consistent, we started creating structure in our hiring process and holding strategic training for all interviewers. In the training, we cover delivering a world-class candidate experience, identifying unconscious biases, avoiding illegal subjects, and using our talent technology, like Greenhouse and BrightHire.”

    Boji Lazov

    Talent Operations Lead at Unstoppable Domains

  3. Unconscious biases. Identify common unconscious biases and how interviewers can avoid them. Here are a few examples:

    Bias How it Impacts Interviews How to Overcome the Bias
    Confirmation bias Interviewers may focus on points that support their conclusions and ignore points that counter them. Compare notes with colleagues and examine any discrepancies between opinions.
    Contrast bias If interviewing happens over a short period, interviewers may compare candidates to each other, potentially skewing their perception. Delay your full assessment of the candidate pool until after all interviews are complete.
    Subjective memory biases (like recency bias) How an interviewer feels or the distractions they experience can impact their memory of the interview. Use an interview intelligence platform to record the interview, transcribe, share, and play back key moments.
  4. Hiring process gaps. Meet with recruiters and hiring managers to understand where there are pain points in your hiring process, so you can address those needs in your training program.

    “Talk with your teams to understand where they’re struggling, what questions they have about running interviews, and what they want from a training program.

    By understanding where the gaps are, you can build a program that addresses the greatest needs.”

    Jenna Young

    Manager, Global Talent Acquisition Operations at Tekion

4 Steps to Build a Top-Notch Interview Training Program

Step 2: Use real interview moments to teach critical skills.

Select key moments from interview recordings that help interviewers and recruiters spot good answers prepare for difficult questions, and share a consistent company story. Find examples of great conversations with candidates who turned out to be top performers and conversations full of red flags that ended up in mis-hires.

Not only will watching these moments help interviewers better prepare for interviews. It also equips them with the knowledge they need to improve candidates’ experience – an important but often overlooked part of the interview training process.

Spotlight: Interview Training Topics

Check out the Index of Key Interview Training Topics for a bank of topics that help interviewers and recruiters navigate every part of an interview with confidence – from giving a company pitch to handling objections.

Here’s a preview of the training topics you’ll find:

Probing Beyond Surface-Level Answers

Sharing a Description of the Open Role

Uncovering Candidate Motivations

“If a candidate has one bad experience, it can have a real impact on whether they want to work at that business. By training interviewers, I think we’ll see offer conversion rates go up and dropout rates reduce.”

Hung Lee

Curator at Recruiting Brainfood

4 Steps to Build a Top-Notch Interview Training Program

Step 3: Design a program that works for your company.

When Jenna Young, Manager of Global Talent Acquisition Operations at Tekion, started at the company in 2021, they had 1,000 employees worldwide. In one year, the company doubled in size, with plans to add an additional thousand team members by the next year.

To keep pace with the company’s aggressive growth goals, Jenna and her team began holding weekly interview training sessions for new managers.

Tekion’s weekly interview training covers 3 core topics:

  • Candidate experience: Highlights basic interview etiquette, like the importance of showing up on time or communicating that you’re taking notes during an interview.
  • Logistics: Shares how to use the company’s applicant tracking system (ATS), like Greenhouse or Lever.
  • Interviewer expectations: Sets guidelines with interviewers, including how quickly to complete a scorecard and how to give the best feedback to a recruiter.

“One thing we struggled with was managers not giving detailed feedback. Instead, they’d just say, ‘this candidate isn’t a good fit,’ which isn’t helpful to the recruiter. To help interviewers provide better, more specific feedback, we started incorporating scorecards into our interview training sessions.”

Jenna Young

Manager, Global Talent Acquisition Operations at Tekion

4 Steps to Build a Top-Notch Interview Training Program

Step 4: Create a feedback loop.

The last thing you want is to create a static interview training program that stays the same while your company and candidates evolve. Track the impact of your program and make adjustments by regularly looking at:

  • Candidate happiness. A successful interview program should boost candidate NPS scores and improve Glassdoor reviews about your hiring process.
  • The confidence of interviewers and recruiters. Survey interviewers who go through your training before and after completing the program, and you should see a massive uptick post-training.
  • How supported recruiters feel. Regularly check in with recruiters to understand how prepared interviewers are, what trends they’re seeing, and ways to improve the hiring process even more.

How confident are your interviewers?

Open the lines of communication with interviewers by getting their input via a survey, using these sample questions as a starting point:

  • How well prepared did you feel for this interview?
  • Did you feel going in that you confidently knew the difference between an alright, good, and excellent candidate?
  • Do you feel confident identifying candidates from nonlinear backgrounds or with transferable skills?
  • Were there parts of the conversation you felt unprepared to discuss?
  • How confident did you feel sharing the role details?

6 Key Metrics & Outcomes That Show if Interview Training is Working:

  • Reduced recruiter ramp time
  • Reduced cost per hire
  • Improved close rates
  • Improved total number of qualified interviewers
  • Improved hiring volume
  • Improved pass-through rates
A Checklist to Fast-Track Success

How to Build an MVP Interview Training Program

Don’t have time to build a large-scale program? We’ve got you covered. Here are 3 low-lift things you can do to strengthen your interviewers and recruiters and build consistency across your hiring process.

3 Ways to Quickly Create a Training Program

  1. Determine who gets trained and how often. Many companies start by training new managers and recruiters on a regular basis (e.g., weekly or monthly, depending on your company size) and then scale the program from there.
  2. Create consistency by addressing the 8 Es every interview training program should include:
    • Explanation – Introduce everyone to your team and the purpose of the program.
    • Need help? Check out the 4 goals of an interview training program here.
    • Etiquette – Go through interview etiquette, like showing up on time and letting candidates know you’re taking notes.
    • Equip – Share how to ask the right questions.
    • Empower – Help interviewers understand how to make good judgment calls by sharing examples from actual interviews.
    • Evaluate – Discuss how to gauge a candidate’s fit for the role and calibrate with other team members.
    • Evangelize – Go over how to sell the organization, including how to tell the company story, define your pitch, and share about benefits.
    • Equality – Raise awareness of unconscious biases that happen during interviews and share how to avoid illegal topics.
    • Engage – Open the floor to any questions.
  3. Bring in an interview intelligence platform to help your team learn on-demand, collect great examples, and replicate your best interviewers across your team.

What’s Interview Intelligence?

Interview intelligence transforms how companies hire – from interview training all the way to winning top talent. It unlocks valuable data from every interview conversation and brings that information to the center of important hiring decisions. The result? A faster, more insightful, and less biased hiring process.

Index of Key Interview Training Topics

Here’s a list of the primary topics you should cover with recruiters and interviewers during your interview training program.

For Recruiters

  1. Company pitch
  2. Overview of team & role opportunity
  3. Uncovering candidate motivations
  4. Probing beyond surface-level answers
  5. Providing a clear high-level overview of compensation & benefits
  6. Answering candidate FAQs
  7. Understanding a candidate’s timeline & job search stage
  8. Being conversational
  9. Outlining the interview process / setting expectations
  10. Navigating unconscious bias
Offer Calls
  1. Getting an early signal from candidate / soft closing candidate at beginning of call (or done on a separate pre-close call)
    1. Reconfirming expectations and what’s most important to them
    2. Sharing positive feedback from the interview process
  2. Communicating clearly
  3. Aligning on a call to action
  4. Delivering a clear, compelling overview of a candidate’s offer (compensation & benefits)
  5. Negotiating and handling objections

For Interviewers

  1. Pitching your team
  2. Providing a compelling description of the open role
  3. Sharing personal motivations for joining the company
  4. Understanding a candidate’s level of experience with key role responsibilities
  5. Answering a candidate’s FAQs for hiring teams
  6. Navigating unconscious bias
  7. Understanding key competencies for the role and evaluating candidate answers accordingly

Spotlight: Off-Limit Topics to Avoid

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission protects groups of people from
discrimination under employment, which means there are certain topics that cannot be
brought up during interviews. Make sure interviewers and recruiters are aware of
avoiding any topics about:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion or creed
  • National origin or ancestry
  • Sex (including gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity)

How BrightHire can Transform Your Interview Training Program

Build an effective team of interviewers. Know with confidence that interviewers ask the right questions, sell your company in the right way, and make the right judgment calls.

Watch interview recordings via BrightHire and give interviewers valuable feedback that helps improve their questions, pitches, and decisions

Help interviewers recognize great answers. Build a base of qualified interviewers who understand your ideal candidate profile and can identify a good answer when they hear it.

With BrightHire, you can create a playlist of interview examples that demonstrate what to listen for in conversations, so interviewers can practice spotting a good answer.

Encourage diversity. Expand your talent pool and improve pass-through rates for underrepresented candidates by helping interviewers hone their ability to recognize transferable skills, competencies, and experiences.

Share with interviewers BrightHire recordings of previous candidates from a broad spectrum of backgrounds who turned out to be great hires.

Grow interviewers’ self-awareness. Empower interviewers with critical feedback after interviews, like how much time they spoke versus the candidate, to improve and grow their interviewing skills.

After every interview, BrightHire shares key metrics with interviewers that can spark change and improve hiring decisions.

Help interviewers answer any question with confidence. Keep interviewers on message when candidates ask about the impact of external changes or macro trends on your business. By equipping interviewers with excellent responses to these questions, you can protect your organization from losing top candidates.

Stay responsive to candidates’ concerns with BrightHire by taking snippets of timely interview questions and sharing guidance on how to respond with interviewers.

Empower your team to develop future leaders. Help managers excel at their most important job – hiring – by giving them access to the resources they need to interview effectively.

With BrightHire, leaders can personally invest in developing the most essential skill for their teams: knowing how to interview and hire well.

Make learning a continuous process. Engage interviewers beyond a single training or shadowing session to help them continue strengthening their interviewing skills. By offering ongoing opportunities to expand their knowledge, you can build a team of confident, effective interviewers.

Drive structure, consistency, accountability, and transparency around interview training with BrightHire, so interviewers can learn from the same examples and grow their skills faster.