Coaches/Behaviourists on Interview Panels

I was recently asked to join an interview panel and assist in the recruiting of a staff member for a local company. It was a full day spent interviewing a number of applicants for a full time role. Of the three members of the panel, I was the only ‘outsider’ and Coach/Behavioural Analysis qualified person.


So how did the day go?


To begin with, I got a real sense from the others on the panel that they were happy to have an ‘expert’ in their company. One even commented how it was great to have someone who knew how to talk to people on the panel.


I knew nothing about the company apart from what I researched before the interview day. However, this freed me up to focus on the interviewee. I was able to use my skills to build rapport, tune into the non-verbal communication from each candidate and ask questions that allowed the others on the panel to see a different side of the candidate. That’s not to say that I tried to ‘catch’ the interviewee out, but my non-involvement in the organisation allowed me to focus on the person beinging interviewed rather than the more traditional focus of interviewers on what they know; the job and the company.


I believe that such ‘freedom’ allowed us as an interview panel to access additional information about the candidate. I noticed that after each interview, during our discussion, the others on the panel sought my views on the interviewee as a person from a behavioural perspective before discussing their views in relation to the candidate’s ‘fit’ for the job. In many cases, I believe I was able to highlight things I had noticed from a Coach/Behaviourist perspective. I was able to better pick up on specific things that were said (or not said) during the interview. I was able to challenge the interviewee on these things in order to get a better picture of the person and how they might be a fit (or not) for the role.


Some companies outsource their recruitment process so that there is little or no involvement in the selection process (particularly at the early stages of the interview process). However, in general, when a candidate gets to the final rounds of interview for a position they very often find themselves in a ‘trial’ situation where the interviewers are all company people, often with little or no interview skills (or questioning skills). I believe that this can result in a poor interview and the wrong person being selected.


Having an outsider (and specificaly a person who has qualifications in working closely with people) provides additional valuable information to aid in the recruitment of the right person.


Here are some reasons why I believe a suitably qualified external coach/behavioural analyst should be on an interview panel:


  1. Impartiality/independant (ensures fairness in the process)
  2. Ability to ask more challenging general questions
  3. Ability to pick up on specific issues within the interviewee’s answers
  4. Ability to monitor Non-verbals accurately
  5. Frees up in-house resources
  6. Advisors to the others on the panel on aspects of Human Behaviour
  7. Coach to the others on the panel in terms of approach or questionning
  8. Valued support to managers of small businesses who may not be able to form an Interview panel
  9. Ability to put interviewees at ease through effective rapport building
  10. More cost effective than many other recruitment formats.


I believe that many of the techniques used in the Coaching session environment are just as easily used in an interview environment. In the Coaching session the Coach should:


  • Build rapport
  • Be present for the client
  • Listen to what is being said (and not being said)
  • Ask searching questions
  • Allow the client the space to express his/herself
  • Mirror and reframe what has been said
  • etc. etc


For an interview to be effective, I believe that the exact same techniques should be used:


  • Building rapport with the interviewee will put the person at ease and enable clearer communication
  • Being present for the client will ensure that the interviewer will pick up on any issues, nerves, hesitancy, etc. and be able to take the necessary action to deal effectively with it (rather than have the situation become emotionally charged)
  • Listening to what is being said (and not being said) will enable the interviewer to challenge effectively in order to elicit a fuller picture of the candidate.
  • Asking searching questions is always a goal in interviews because (let’s face it) there is a limited time to capture as much information as possible. However, very often interviewers don’t know what questions to ask and consequently can miss out on a valuable opportunity with the interviewee.
  • Allow the client the space to express his/herself. Coaches understand the value of silence. Allowing the candidate the opportunity to express themselves rather than face a barrage of questions as the panel focuses on getting through their list in the alloted time frame can very often bring forth skills and abilities that would otherwise have been missed.
  • Mirror and reframe what has been said. This is the ‘sanity’ check tool for any interviewer. If you don’t reframe what you have heard, you cannot be sure you heard it correctly. Some may argue that it is up to the interviewee to express themselves clearly and make sure that they are understood, which is true. However, communication is a two way system and I cannot be sure that you fully understood me if you haven’t communicated your understanding to me. This simple practice would allow me to clarify/correct any misunderstanding as well as improve my chances for employment.


Having gone through the process (and using my experience to reflect on occasions where I was interviewed in the past) I firmly believe that having a suitably qualified behaviourist on any interview panel has enormous benefits to the interview and recruitment process for both the interviewee and the company.


The next time you are thinking of interviewing for a role within your organisation, why not give it a try. The results might surprise you.


If you would like InnoChan Solutions to bring its expertise to one of your interview panels, please contact us on to arrange a no obligation conversation where we can discuss your requirements.