It is a manager’s place to be part of the interview process

I have just read the Legal Q&A article ‘The pitfalls of X-Factor-style interview techniques’ (Personnel Today, 18 October). I am writing in response to the answer given to question three: ‘How can we ensure that our assessment centre is legally watertight?’

I was shocked at the suggestion that to avoid litigation, all assessors should be trained HR professionals and not “managers plucked from the shop floor to help out”.

I would suggest that not only are well-briefed business managers often superior assessors to their HR colleagues (on the basis of technical role knowledge and cultural understanding alone), but it is also imperative to the success of the HR function that this is the case.

Managers are highly unlikely to ‘buy into’ candidates chosen solely by HR. Even if they do, it will perpetuate the stereotype of HR as ‘the personnel department’ rather than a true business partner that can add value to an organisation through enabling robust decision-making and developing capability. That should be our role in this process.

Rebecca Martin
Graduate programme manager, people development, The Co-operative Group

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