Are you in the process of hiring
employees? The following article gives you an
overview of 5 of the most common interviewing
mistakes that you need to avoid, so that you don't
hire the wrong person...
Interviewing Mistakes Can Lead To Hiring The
Mistake #1: Going with the flow
Inexperienced interviewers sometimes fall into
the trap of letting the interview become "free
form", spending different amounts of time
on different questions, basing follow-up questions
on on how the candidates answer.
This can result in a candidate taking control
of the interview and leading you where he or she
wants to go, rather than where you can get the
information you need.
Solution: Ask everyone the same
Prepare a list in advance, based on the information
you need, and use it as a guide throughout the
interview. Put each question on a separate sheet
of paper and prepare one set for each candidate.
As you move through the questions, use the appropriate
sheets to make notes of the answers and your own
observations and impressions. You can vary the
follow up questions as necessary, but keep your
notes on the main question page.
When you have followed this structure with all
the candidates, you'll be able to compare them
on an "apples to apples" basis.
Mistake #2: Asking predictable questions
Job applicants have many sources of help for interviewing,
and it's easy to learn acceptable answers to the
That means even the wrong candidate for your position
could answer the questions in a way that fools
you into thinking he or she is a fit.
Solution: Ask candidates
questions that force them to expand on their answers,
illustrating their thinking skills as well as
their attitudes and job competencies.
Such questions might include:
- If you could design your own job, what would
it look like?
- What's your favourite part of the work you do
now? Why do you like that?
Ask questions like these and, instead of practiced
responses that tell you virtually nothing, you'll
get insights into who these people really are.
Mistake #3: Whitewashing the job
If you have a candidate in front of you who seems
like a great choice, you obviously want that person
to accept your job offer.
Sometimes, though, you know the job has inherent
challenges or downsides, and you may be afraid
if you talk about these things you will lose a
The trouble is, if you hire them and they discover
the negatives themselves, you may well lose them
in the first week!
Solution: Be candid about
challenges in the job or within the company.
Watch for candidates who embrace and relish the
challenges, and who can see beyond the negatives.
These can become your most valued employees.
Mistake #4: Ignoring the question of "fit"
Every organization has a culture.
It comes from a blend of the industry you are
in, the ages of those who work there, the size
of the company, the number of people, the geographic
location and many other factors.
But that culture creates its own work environment,
and if employees are not comfortable with that
environment or do not work well within it, they
don't "fit". This person will never
be an asset to your company, and may in fact leave
Solution: Ask questions whose
answers will demonstrate the candidate's personality
and character, their attitudes towards the workplace.
An example of that type of question might be:
Do you prefer a structured environment or a more
loose, easy-going one? Why?
Mistake #5: Letting a candidate's one major
positive blind you to the negatives
Sometimes a person might have one outstanding
positive: worked for your major competitor, attended
a university with a track record of successful
graduates, or even just comes from your home town.
If you also instinctively like the individual,
it is tempting to be overly influenced by this
fact, and not pay enough attention to others that
are not so attractive.
Solution: When recording
your notes on each candidate (see solution to
Mistake #1), be sure to record negatives as well
as positives on the appropriate pages.
When you review your notes after the interview
is over, you will be better able to balance the
pros and cons impartially.
Candidates are often sophisticated job seekers,
who are well prepared for the interview. To avoid
costly hiring mistakes, hiring interviewers must
be equally prepared for the process.