Recruiters always tell job hunters to practice their interview skills, but most companies don't spend much time training hiring managers in the art of interviewing. It's a skill, and like any other skill, most people can learn it. Google has a new tool that will make this easier.

It's called Interview Warmup, and Google targeted it at job seekers--it asks you questions and then gives you feedback on your answers. Pretty helpful for basic interview questions. However, hiring managers should take a look as well. Here's how it can help you out.

Coming up with questions is more complicated than it looks

It's stressful for hiring managers--recruiters may interview all the time, but most hiring managers don't. Google put together some questions on various subjects you may want to add to your repertoire.

Some companies have very structured interview processes with set questions. If that's the case with you, stick to your company's plan, but if not, these can be a helpful start.

Here are some sample questions: 

For data analytics: 

You start working at a new organization, and all of their data is stored in spreadsheets. Why would it be preferable for them to use structured databases?

For UX design:

What is the role and purpose of a mockup?

For project management: 

Tell me about a time you analyzed a complex situation and came up with a successful solution.

There are 40 or so questions for each job option (with overlap, of course). Looking at these questions and practicing your own answers can help you know what you are looking for and what a good answer looks like. How will you evaluate the candidate's answers if you can't answer these questions yourself?

It can help you evaluate candidate answers

As you answer a question (whether spoken or written), Interview Warmup will do a simple analysis and tell you if you're using important keywords or repeating yourself. It can also give you talking points. For instance, take this question: 

Tell me about a time when you had to develop a new skill. How did you approach the learning process?

The tool provides the following talking points to help the candidate:

  • The situation you were in, along with context and background information
  • The task that was required of you
  • The action you took, how you did it, and the tools you used
  • The result of that action

This also helps managers. Just what were you looking for when you asked that question? Well, you're looking for this type of information. If your candidate gives you an unclear answer, you can follow these tips. Like so.

Hiring manager: "Tell me about a time when you had to develop a new skill. How did you approach the learning process?"

Candidate: "I had to learn Excel."

Hiring manager: "Why did you need to learn Excel?"

Candidate: "I needed to provide data for the analytics team."

Hiring manager: "What steps did you take to learn Excel?"

And so on and so forth. Knowing what you're looking for helps you help the candidate. Remember, just because someone doesn't interview well, it doesn't mean they won't do the job well. You can help them get to the answer you need to know if they can do the job.

It's not a replacement for practice and feedback from an expert

This is a fun tool that can help candidates and hiring managers alike prepare for an interview, but it's not enough to hone your skills with some sample questions and talking points. Hiring managers should take the time to practice their interviewing skills, just as candidates should practice theirs. But this is an excellent place to start--especially if you haven't conducted an interview in a while.