4 Common Mistakes Interviewers Make

Interviewing 4 Common Mistakes Interviewers Make

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A guy in cowboy boots who just stepped on a big piece of chewing gum and the gum is stuck to the bottom of his boot.

You mean interviewers make mistakes? Whaaaaat?

It’s true. Interviewing is truly a skill that takes practice. Adhering to a plan of how the process will generally go with well-thought-out questions can significantly improve your approach.

Here is a list of 4 of the most common mistakes interviewers make when interviewing candidates:

  1. Talking too much.
  2. Emotionally believing you’ve found the perfect candidate.
  3. Jumping to conclusions.
  4. Telegraphing what you want or the answer you want.

Talking Too Much

The purpose of interviewing is to find out faults.  How can you do that when you’re the one doing the talking? Also, you can be easily manipulated if you’re talking too much.  So talking too much wastes time, and opens the interviewer up to being manipulated.

Another fault with talking is the tendency to turn candidates off from wanting the job as they hear things they don’t like.  On the other hand, when you question, you’re inferring you have a great job to offer without directly saying it. 

If the candidate can get you talking about your favorite ideas, you’re much more likely to be sold on the candidate.  The one doing the talking is the one being sold.  If interviewers are doing the talking then they will tend to be sold on the applicants regardless of how qualified they are.

When the candidates talk they want the job more and more as they talk and talk.  We know this sounds unbelievable but notice how your feelings for candidates change depending on whom was doing the talking. 

Also, rather than giving a long speech on how great your company is, just give a short summary that does not expose your requirements.  The more you question and listen, the more you’ll find out, and the more you’ll know about the appropriateness of the candidate.

Emotionally Believing You’ve Found the Perfect Candidate

If you feel you have the perfect candidate before thoroughly testing, interviewing, and reference checking, you’re making a mistake.

The problem with this interview fault is the difficulty seeing or hearing anything negative after you’re in love with the candidate.  You know the person will be perfect, so why bother checking the person out any more? 

For example, let’s say you are sold on the applicant but the applicant tells you he has problems arriving on time.  Great honesty is seen as a plus even though arriving late is a reason for termination in the company.  Realize that when you fall in love you have been blinded.

When we feel like we have a perfect candidate, we do thorough testing and reference checking before thorough interviewing, or we have another expert interviewer check the person out. 

This fault is far more likely to happen if the candidate is meant to work for you directly.  You should definitely have an objective interview, and/or reference checks the person.  You should think back to all the so-called “perfect people” you’ve hired, and how they turned out in reality.

Jumping to Conclusions

Not only are there challenges from applicants trying to look good, but also from interviewers’ urges to make up their minds too fast and on too little information.  It takes more than one incident or statement to judge anything.

Avoid making generalized judgments of people.  Learn to detect specific flaws, good job qualification fits, or personality traits.  For best results, both legally and effectively, find out the specifics before deciding anything.

Interviewers typically form opinions about the person at first sight.  They also form opinions too quickly after applicants convince them of the success they’ll bring to their company. 

Interviewers would be wise to convince themselves they don’t know how suitable the applicant is until all the interview questions have been answered.  Even then one would be wise to take a two-hour break after the interview to let any sales hype go out of one’s mind and a more objective look to take over.

In this new state of mind look over the test results, reference check results, and interview answers.  Now decide about the candidate.

After a new interviewer has had the experience of being thoroughly impressed by an applicant, who later turns out to be unsuitable, he’ll become less likely to jump to conclusions.  Doing a complete in-depth interview is the best answer.

Telegraphing The Answer You Want

This is a huge subject in the interview process. Skill in this area makes the most difference between the expert and the ineffective interviewer.  

Telegraphing is the act of letting the candidate know what you want them to say or giving them clues of your concerns so they can effectively reduce your concerns and sidestep the truth.

In some ways, it is another form of talking too much.  When you explain to the candidate the type of person you’re looking for, the candidate can’t help but become the ideal. 

If you tell the candidate you’re looking for a high-energy, aggressive person, the candidate will try to convince you he’s energetic and aggressive.  If you ask the candidate if he’s honest, he now knows that’s part of the profile.  He’ll not only say he is but will attempt to convince of that. 

At some level, everyone thinks they are energetic, aggressive, and honest, so it’s easy to say so.  The biggest problem with this common fault is the interviewer’s belief in the candidate’s response without realizing how easy it was for the candidate to know what to say. 

To make matters worse, the interviewers think they are asking great questions and that the candidate’s answers are very meaningful.

The best way to avoid this problem is to ask broad questions about the subject you are concerned about. 

For example, if you think a supervisor candidate may not actually supervise their people, you could ask what they like most and dislike most about supervising.  The candidate doesn’t have a clue what you want them to say. 

So if they say they hate having to listen to employees’ concerns and problems you now have more confirmation of what you wanted to check. 

On the other hand, asking them if they actually supervise their people will be met with, “Of course I do…..”  In this case, the interviewers may think this was a false concern they had until four to twelve months later they find out the truth when the damage and expense have already happened.

4 Hiring Mistakes that Keep Talent Away

Even after you take steps to improve your business’s hiring techniques, you may have trouble finding the talent you need. There are many reasons for this, some of which may be out of your control. It is important to review your approach to hiring in order to discover the reasons for the failure.

Your business may still be making a few hiring mistakes that keep talent away and leave you without the high-quality employees you need.

Consider whether your business might be committing these critical errors:

1. Careless or Unprofessional Mistakes

You wouldn’t think twice before rejecting a resume riddled with spelling errors; talented prospective employees may feel the same way about your company.

Double-check job postings and website content to ensure that your company appears professional.

Similarly, make sure that employees who serve as contact persons for potential candidates are aware that they should display an overall professional manner at these times, even if the work environment is rather casual.

Ensure that you trust any outsider recruiters who handle your hiring to be professional and knowledgeable.

Other major issues involve being late to interviews (the hiring manager that is), being distracted during the interview, not accommodating candidate questions, poor presentation of the workplace, and poor interactions with non-hiring employees.

2. Poor Communication

Poor communication is a surefire way to make candidates hesitate, especially those with the most talent and experience. Make sure that job descriptions and company profiles describe the job well and highlight your company’s main purpose or objective. A muddled or vague advertisement will make candidates wary.

By the time you begin interviews, you should have already established objectives with the rest of the hiring team. Everyone involved in interviewing or evaluating candidates should be able to communicate what the position in question entails.

If a potential employee can’t get a clear answer about the job itself, they are unlikely to view you in a favorable light. This is especially true of employed, experienced candidates who you want to lure away from another company.

3. Lack of Transparency

As with poor communication, a lack of transparency can send negative signals to job seekers.

You may not realize that some behaviors cause your company to appear insincere or even uncomfortably insular. Don’t hesitate to let the candidate know about your company’s background and your expectations for their position. If you include this information amidst your interview questions, you will project a more honest image.

Make sure you are not giving an impression you are not willing to answer questions or communicate with your (prospective and actual) employees. While finer details need to be decided on later, don’t try to avoid basic discussions of benefits and salary. They can be the make-or-break point for talented employees with multiple prospects. Estimates are better than evasion.

Finally, be clear about the hiring process and the steps involved. Move along these steps until you have either disqualified the candidate or decided to hire them. Remember finding several great candidates at once is unlikely so each candidate should move the process independently don’t stall one candidate to wait for more.

4. Overly Narrow Criteria

It’s important to get the right person for the job, but including too many must-haves can deter good candidates. The Harvard Business Review warns companies against the surprisingly common practice of prizing past job titles above skills.

In these cases, companies list having had the exact same position in the past as a “must-have” in their job postings, or only pay attention to applicants who fit this criterion.

Expanding your search may encourage more talented individuals to apply. It may take extra time to review more candidates, but a disappointing hire costs more in the end.

Follow Lou Adler’s advice by highlighting the responsibilities and actual tasks of the job above overly specific experiences.

Throughout your recruiting and selection process, take care to present a professional image and consider how you might be unintentionally deterring the candidates you want.

If you are having trouble attracting the right talent, it may be a case of candidates evaluating you before you have a chance to evaluate them. 

Avoiding these basic hiring mistakes will improve your odds of landing top talent.

If we all just follow these four golden rules we would all make better hiring decisions right away. Want even more interview advice? Get our Free Power Interview Guide!

Hiring Mistakes to Avoid in Your Recruitment Process

Hiring mistakes are incredibly costly, as companies and hiring managers have learned the hard way. We have talked many times before about avoiding them, but beginner recruiters might still need some clarifications.

Today, we will discuss the most common hiring mistakes that all companies, big or small, make sometimes. The good news is that all you need to do to avoid poor hires is to tweak your hiring process and let technology help you where it can.

Yes, it sounds easy enough, but changes are not always comfortable, especially in organizations that used to do things in certain, rigid ways. So let’s see these top hiring mistakes to help you identify them and correct them!

The Costs of Hiring Mistakes

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, poor hires cost companies a lot of money (the expenses related to the actual hiring process plus the ones generated by high turnover rates).

Furthermore, bad hires take a huge toll on the people and the business itself. For instance, poorly chosen employees require more time and energy from their supervisors and mentors to achieve their performance levels. Poor hires also affect the overall morale of the team and interfere with teamwork and productivity.

All these issues cascade into a perfect storm of troubles, where companies need to resume their hiring processes and find other (more suitable) candidates. Such turmoil negatively influences an organization’s bottom line, employer brand, and overall employee engagement.

The Impact of Bad Hires on an Organization

Here are some points to consider, according to experts:

  • The costs of a hiring mistake increase significantly when an organization makes poor hiring for a higher position with a higher salary.
  • If a poor hire spends a lengthier time in the company, the hiring mistakes’ costs increase as well.
  • The cost of a hiring mistake also increases progressively with the time spent by supervisors training those employees or correcting their mistakes.
  • Existing employees’ motivation is also an issue to consider. A bad hire directly impacts the top performers in a company, who will start to disengage with the team and the organization. Things can get much worse if the bad hire is in a management/leadership position. Co-workers will soon start resenting the bad hire and lose their loyalty towards the company.
  • Besides hurting productivity, employee motivation & engagement, and the company’s profits, bad hires also impact your reputation. Who wants to work for a company with high turnover rates and disgruntled employees? In the Internet age, getting poor employer branding reviews on reputable career websites can ruin your reputation among job seekers, potential collaborators, etc.

As you can see, companies cannot simply afford to make continuous hiring mistakes in this day and age with the talent shortage plaguing most hiring efforts.

Top 9 Hiring Mistakes to Know and Avoid

most common hiring mistakes to avoid

One of the most severe consequences of bad hires is that current elite employees can get frustrated and leave the company. It is hard enough to find outstanding candidates, but losing the talented ones you already have can have a damaging impact

So now, it is time to take a good look at them and learn how you can avoid them!

1. You Rush Into Things

Filling vacant positions or hiring candidates for upcoming ones is a hard and lengthy process. To speed things up, companies and agencies rush into chasing available candidates instead of taking their time and consider other options:

  • Recruit from inside the organization and offer some employees the chance to access better job roles, higher salaries, etc., as a cost-efficient solution to speed up the hiring process; you don’t have to base your promotions and career growth on seniority alone, but on specific skills some of your employees have;
  • Streamline and adjust internal procedures to alleviate the workload of some teams so that your current employees could divide the work between them;
  • Try outsourcing some of the work; it may prove to be more efficient and profitable in the long run.  

Before rushing to find new people for your vacant positions, check out the solutions you have at hand first. It can save you a lot of time and money, with the bonus of boosting employee engagement and loyalty in the process.

2. You Post Vague and Fluffy Job Descriptions

Job descriptions containing more fluff than substantiated information will attract a high number of applications and candidates. However, they will waste your time tremendously as you try to sift through them to find talent.

At a minimum, your job descriptions and ads should focus on:

  • Detailed descriptions of the experience and hard skills you are looking for in correlation with the job requirements and KPIs;
  • Offer an accurate description of what the job entails – hard/technical skills, soft skills, interpersonal skills, issues to handle, opportunities to embrace, etc.;
  • Provide candidates with a truthful and honest insight into your workplace culture.
  • Involve the team in writing the job descriptions. Who else knows best what the position requires and offers if not the team already working on those projects?

Candidates are tired of job descriptions asking them to put rockets in space against mediocre rewards. They are also warry of job descriptions pedaling on the same old “young and dynamic teams,” “growth opportunities,” “friendly people.”

Let’s say they look at your company’s reviews and see that they will have to deal with inefficient conflict management styles, low salaries, a toxic working environment, and no employee engagement strategies.

In such cases, no well-written job description will attract the talent you seek.

3. You Fail to Get the Word Out Properly

When you cast your net, you might go overboard or limit yourself with a too narrow pool of candidates to matter. We had talked about this before when we discussed the advantages of having an Applicant Tracking System tailored to your needs.

Instead of limiting your recruiting efforts to your career page and the two-three established career sites, harness the full power of:

  • Social media
  • Word of mouth
  • Employee referral programs
  • Universities and licensed courses providers
  • Specialty magazines/websites experts read
  • Community groups and NGOs that promote workplace diversity, and more

4. You Don’t Waste Time with Reference Checks

Reference checking is a drag, and companies avoid it as much as possible to speed up the hiring process and focus on more important things. However, one of the biggest hiring mistakes is to skip this crucial part of any talent recruitment strategy.

Did it happen to you to pick a candidate, make them the offer, onboard them, and learn three months later that they are not good team players? How do you feel when you learned that some candidates lied a little on their resumes and have only worked briefly with a tool they claimed to master?

What is worse is that some of your “promising” candidates lied a little about their criminal records, work history, education, and so on. You cannot directly ask people in interviews about such sensitive topics because it would be illegal.

It would help if you also went through the motions of following local, state, and federal background check laws, which is time-consuming.

So, reference checks are still your go-to option when you want to select your future talented employees after successful interviews. Will this maneuver take days, if not weeks?

Yes – if you don’t use an automated reference checking system, whose advantages we have discussed on previous occasions.

5. You Reject or Resist Technology

We bet you don’t wash your clothes in the river, nor do you receive handwritten resumes carried by pigeons when you recruit for an open position.

Why shouldn’t you rely on automation and technology in recruiting just as you do in your everyday life and every working hour?

We are not talking about Applicant Tracking Systems, but all tools you can enjoy during the hiring process, from job posting to onboarding.

Consider a complete hiring system packed with automated and standardized evaluation tools, interview scorecards, automated reference checkers, and many more.

6. You Don’t Prepare Enough for the Interview

Most common hiring mistakes occur because or during the interviews. Sometimes, HR representatives and even CEOs hire people based on first impressions and “liking” the candidate without truly understanding how those candidates match the company culture, the team’s dynamic, others’ personalities, and so on.

Another hiring mistake most companies make is to skip some crucial steps:

  • They don’t engage in phone interviews, although they are some of the best screening tools out there to differentiate talented candidates from available ones;
  • They design the interview around the candidate’s resume without even thinking about behavioral interviews or asking candidates some tough questions. The major issue here is that most companies learn way too late that what a candidate says and what one does are quite different. You need to know how your employees will act in real-job situations, in times of crisis, conflict, discomfort, low-motivation levels, etc.;
  • Your hiring representatives talk more than they listen and fail to take the proper notes to make actionable differences between candidates regarding skills, behaviors, and attitudes.

Asking people some softball, predictable, and obsolete questions is a surefire way to chase away the true talent you seek.

7. You Rely on Interviews More than on Testing

Some CEOs and hiring managers feel that two or three interviews are enough to decide whether a candidate is a good option for the job or the organizational culture.

However, time and again, studies and experts proved that the interview alone, no matter how standardized, cannot identify the best candidates.

On the other hand, most companies, eager to find perfection and miracles, test for everything they can think of, thus wasting time and money.

The rule of thumb is to select a small but significant number of pre-employment instruments to test candidates when the job description demands specific skills. Moreover, you should also correlate the skills test results with specific interview questions, personality tests, and so on.

We all desire our employees to show certain skills, interests, behaviors, attitudes, and personality traits, but people are different and great. Find the right combination of tools to test the right people for the right jobs and avoid painful hiring mistakes.

Unless a candidate brings those critical skills/traits to the company, go further with your hiring process.

8. You Rely on Gut Feeling

Allowing personal bias to interfere with recruiting is one of the biggest hiring mistakes anyone can make. More than liking a candidate, personal bias refers to the recruiters’ unreal expectations, the halo and horn effects, overconfidence, confirmation bias, etc.

Just because the candidate seems to “have potential,” “have positive energy,” “wants to work,” or “share our declared company values,” it doesn’t mean you found your perfect fit.

Without background checks, thorough interviews, in-depth skills testing, simulations, etc., you will make bad hires simply because biases crept into your decision-making process.

9. You Avoid Diversity

Finally, one of the most expensive mistakes is avoiding or not considering diversity in the workplace. Paul Wolfe from Indeed once said:

Think of the diversity of age, experience, background, race, and gender, all of which help bring a diversity of thought. It can make organizations more successful and keep organizations growing and progressing.

According to Matt Alder, HR thought leader and curator of the Recruiting Future podcast, quoted by Workable,

If you literally just put it into Google, you find article after article and research piece after research piece that says businesses perform better when they have greater ethnic and gender diversity.

More diverse companies produce more revenue, but we don’t have to make the business case for diversity anymore.

People are finding it very difficult to find talent in the way that they’ve always done, so they need to think more creatively and be more flexible about how they get the right skills in their business.

Finding a diverse talent pool with non-traditional backgrounds in unlikely places via non-traditional recruiting methods is not an easy feat. However, if you want to avoid hiring mistakes and become competitive in the talent market, here is some food for thought for you.

What Hiring Mistakes Are You Making?

Are you making other hiring mistakes in your recruiting process? It is not an issue to recognize you have made some of them, but given the talent pool shortage, continuing this trend affects employee engagement and bottom lines.

So let’s have a meaningful conversation regarding these mistakes and the solutions available to recruiters to correct them! We can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the matter!

If we all just follow these four golden rules we would all make better hiring decisions right away. Want even more interview advice? Get our Free Power Interview Guide!

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