Shadowing an interview: a cooperative way of making the interview process better

Senior Software Engineer
Gregory Cann

We take hiring very seriously at Fonoa. Our goal is to create the best possible experience for our candidates during the interviews. Interviewers are of utmost importance in this process, they determine the atmosphere of the interview and significantly impact candidates' decisions. That is why we introduced shadowing as a part of the interviewer training process to ensure all of us are conducting great interviews. 

Interviewers are the representatives of our brand. They are responsible for the candidate experience, decide who we work with and how we shape our culture through hiring. Our mission is to give people the best possible candidate experience and ensure we help Fonoa and candidates find if we are the best possible match. We introduced interview shadowing as a part of the interviewer training process to ensure all of us are conducting quality interviews and evaluating similarly to each other. 

Shadowing helps new interviewers fully understand the hiring process of Fonoa, learn how to ask questions and develop their interview skills. New interviewers shadow more experienced interviewers. The interviewing team constantly aligns with those shadowing to ensure we give the best experience to those applying. 


Learning by shadowing 

Interview shadowing is a 3-month long process at Fonoa. It starts with understanding what makes a good interviewer. In the first month, we focus on learning the rope, understanding the high-level requirements of what we are hiring for, getting to know the interview team, and gathering feedback on the process with our manager. 

Everyone involved in the hiring process must have the same understanding of the job requirements and who we are looking for. That is why we familiarise ourselves with the open roles and job descriptions, and learn how to assess candidates against behaviours which match our own in the first stage. New members also support the async and behavioural stage in our hiring process. 

In the second month of the shadowing process, we start joining interviews, learning what good looks like and getting to know the format. We check the candidates' profiles in advance to prepare for the interview. In this stage, we listen, learn from others and calibrate to understand how to create valuable experiences during the interview loop. 

Once we have participated in enough interviews, we start reverse shadowing, when the new interviewer leads and the experienced interviewer is there to support. After each reverse shadowing, we take time to gather feedback and discuss how the interview went.

We find shadowing an effective way to train new interviewers.

The process helps them improve their skills in the environment they actively work in. It also helps them understand how to hire better in a more consistent manner. 


We always let candidates know that a shadower is joining the interview: it is always well received. We constantly strive to make this process better. We provide candidates with feedback and allow them to do the same. We are always open to direct, honest communication and take these as learning experiences. We treat all feedback seriously, reflect on it and take corrective action. Our goal is to create an experience in which we all learn from each other regardless of the result of the interview. 

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