Job Interviewers: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

In the world of recruiting blogs, job search forums, and career blogs, plenty gets said about the best practices for candidates during the all important interview process.  What’s less frequently addressed are proper approach for those on the hiring end of the equation.  Job interviews are the primary method for evaluating your company’s newest employee asset.  Setting yourself up for success by conducting the best interview possible can have a huge impact on ensuring you pick the best quality candidate for the job at hand.  With that in mind, here are five top mistakes to avoid for any prospective job interviewer.

1. Failing to Interview Prep

One of the top pieces of advice for recruits looking to score that next big job role is to prepare, prepare, prepare.  File this one into the practice what you preach category.  Employers looking to hire top talent should also do their research prior to sitting down at the interview table to ensure the short amount of time with your chosen candidates is productive and beneficial to the decision making process.

Be sure to review resumes and cover letters before the scheduled interview time to avid five minutes of awkward silence as you quickly cram in relevant facts with the interviewee in the room.  If your company is working with a recruiter, give the pre-interview questionnaire a once over or ask the hiring professional’s honest opinion of the candidate.  Each of these steps will allow you to ask better interview questions of the prospective employee and will help avoid the need for repetitive call backs or email follow up with the candidate due to forgotten or overlooked questions.

2. Failing to Highlight Company Culture

While overall experience, salary expectations and education are key qualifications for any job opening, hiring partners that fail to also assess whether an interviewee matches up with a company’s core ethics, values and work practices is missing out on a vital piece of data when it comes to individual employability.  If your company has strict standards regarding timeliness or values independence and the ability to work on one’s own, interviewers should ensure their candidates possess these traits in order to avoid employee turnover.

In addition, selling your company’s positive culture characteristics can help land that exceptional candidate.  In today’s job market, top talent often holds the bargaining chips and affirmative and positive qualities such as commitment to employee growth or an open feedback policy can tip the scales in your favor.  Make a list ahead of time or peruse your company website to nail down the fundamental core values of the workplace and then work them into your introductory interview remarks.

3. Leaving Job Expectations Unclear

When it comes to interviewer mistakes, perhaps one of the most costly overlooked pieces of information is the key tasks, duties and requirements of the position.  Broadly categorized as job expectations, failing to convey these critical elements of resposibility can leave potential candidates in the dark as to their daily duties.  This can create confusion in the initial days of employment, a critical time for creating a smooth and seamless onboarding process.

Consider bringing the job listing into the interview room and spend some time reviewing it with the candidate, point by point.  This is also a great opportunity to nail down how the individual feels they’d perform in each of the job roles, as well as address any strengths or shortcomings based on their prior experience.

4. Putting Too Much Stock in Social Media

In today’s increasingly connected and tech savvy society it’s inevitable that your candidates will have some kind of social media presence.  Savvy interviewers know that a few minutes of searching publicly available information on these sites can help identify problem behaviors in candidates and pinpoint potential red flags.  

Social media research of your candidates, however, can also be a double edged sword.  Ruling out an otherwise qualified candidate due to a few pictures of them drinking at a yacht party would be a grave mistake unless supporting evidence during your interview made you believe the individual was less than dedicated and hardworking.  In short, use social media to rule out candidates who would be an obvious poor fit with your company or team culture, but don’t rush to throw the baby out with the bathwater if they have a preference for sharing silly cat memes.

5. Being Overly Aggressive or Intimidating

We all can appreciate a well crafted interview question that asks prospective candidates to describe their work style or preferred communication method.  Attempting to game the system, though, with the use of elaborate problem solving exercises, overly aggressive or direct interviewing styles or otherwise coming on too strong can scare away otherwise qualified potential employees.  

Avoid taking the “why should I give you this job” approach and instead focus on creating a genuine dialog with the candidate.  Talking about ideas and experience in a given field will tell you a lot more than whether the interviewee can make eye contact during a hard line of interrogation, designed to do little more than make candidates squirm.

In Conclusion
The bottom line is that interviewees should show the same amount of respect, preparation and importance to the interview process as the individual candidates.  Leading by example is a great way to start off any working relationship and setting a professional and thoughtful tone during the interview will go a long way towards communicating those expectations to job seekers.  Make the most out of your interviews with productive and well-designed questions and you’ll end up with better potential candidates and potentially saving your company in terms of reduced employee turnover and more talented hires.


Article Updated from the Original on September 18, 2017