EVERYONE expects job candidates to be nervous and there’s plenty of advice out there for interviewees on what to say, what to wear and how to make a good impression.

But what about the interviewers?

Sometimes those asking the questions are just as nervous as those trying to think of an answer.

Most line managers are thrown into their first interview with no training and very little experience of recruitment, according to new research – and yet they are expected to make crucial decisions affecting their business and the lives of the candidates they meet.

According to a survey of HR professionals by development and recruitment consultancy SHL, only 30 per cent of line managers have ever received interview training, making it unsurprising that 20 per cent feel nervous beforehand, with some saying they actually dread it.

Most, however, want to be involved in the recruitment process to ensure the candidate has the right skills and experience and fits with the team and company culture.

But perhaps because they’re not as effective as they should be, the research found that, staggeringly, almost half of all line managers are not involved in interviewing at all.

“It is crucial that line managers meet and assess prospective members of their team in order to ensure that they have the correct competencies and personal fit for the role,” says Claire Little, from SHL, which advises companies all over the world on the selection, recruitment, promotion and development of their staff.

“However, our research has shown that this isn’t happening enough and when it does, managers have rarely had any training or guidance on interviewing effectively,” she says.

On the topic of psychometric testing, a so-called “objective” tool increasingly used by businesses, the research found that 35 per cent of line managers don’t see the results. Of those who do see assessment results, only half say they fully understand them, with some admitting a complete lack of understanding.

So where can managers turn to for advice and to boost their skills?

HR teams responding to the survey would like to see their companies offering more training but in the meantime, managers may have to help themselves.

Claire suggests: “SHL has a new online portal which provides line managers with e-learning business tools to help them use and understand the outputs of psychometric testing.

“In addition, it provides an automated interview planner, which gives managers access to a competency profiling tool and a databank of interview questions.

“Managers can use these tools to create focused interview plans based on the essential requirements for the job,” she adds.

There are three types of interview technique – the biographical, the competency or behaviour-based interview and the situational (or role-play type) interview.

There are strengths and weaknesses with all types but a good company should have agreed appropriate techniques and questions for different departments or jobs – at least a line manager should be familiar with them and know which methods would suit the role they’re recruiting for.

The biographical interview is the most common, where candidates are asked about themselves and their experience but its limitations have prompted a rise in competency-based interviews, where applicants answer a series of questions designed to reveal patterns of behaviour that would suit a specific role.

Most interviews tend to feature some situational questions, where candidates are asked to imagine themselves in a specific job-situation and outline how they would deal with it.

“Being well prepared for an interview raises the interviewer's confidence and is more likely to result in a successful recruitment process,” concludes Claire.