Interviewing is the most common form of assessment when identifying new hires for any organization. When a hiring manager is talking to candidates, there are many things that they can do to make sure they use the time productively. Even the best interviewer can make mistakes in the interview process. Often, just being aware of the interview pitfalls can help even the most experienced interviewer perfect his or her skills. Here are some common errors to avoid during the interview process.
1) Not following a structured process
Many organizations have a structured interview process and structured interview guides for evaluating candidates. It’s best to follow a structured guide and ask all candidates applying for a position questions around the same competencies. This will ensure that you are getting a good measurement of the same competencies for all of the candidates that you are interviewing. If you are asking questions around different competencies for each candidate, you will be gathering widely differing information and trying to compare them to the requirements for the job. This will pose more of a challenge and not give you a comparable picture of each candidate.
2) Asking questions that are not job-relevant
Not only can asking questions that are not job-relevant get you into legal “hot water,” it can also derail the interview process. Interview questions should be focused on job-relevant competencies and information that is related to the job responsibilities. Often candidates can go off on tangents and discuss other topics during an interview. It is the interviewer’s job to keep the interview focused on job-relevant information and only record job-relevant information in their notes. Interviewers should be very cognizant of the types of questions they are asking and be sure to keep them focused on competencies that are important and essential for the job at hand.
3) Comparing candidates during the interview process
While conducting an interview, an interviewer’s undivided attention should be placed on that candidate. Often, an interviewer only has a short amount of time with a candidate to gather all of the information they need to make a hiring decision. While interviewing one candidate, an interviewer should not compare them to other candidates that they interviewed. An interviewer should place their focus on that candidate, making sure they are gathering all of the information from them to make an appropriate hiring decision. Once all of the information is gathered about each candidate, the interviewer or interviewers can make a decision on which candidate is best suited for the role by looking at all of the information gathered on each candidate.
4) Not assessing job fit
Job fit or motivational fit is one of the most crucial parts of the interview process. Many times interviewers leave this out and do not assess motivational fit in their interview. When evaluating motivational fit, you should ask questions to ensure that candidates have interests and beliefs about work that are consistent with the organization’s culture, values, and expectations. This is essentially evaluating what a candidate likes and dislikes and comparing it to what the position has to offer.
Often times, candidates can have all of the skills, education, and requirements needed to fulfill the job responsibilities, but if they are not going to be happy with the work schedule, amount of travel, work environment, or the type of leadership style the organization has to offer, they may not be a satisfied employee. You are more likely to hire a productive and satisfied employee if they have the skills and experience you are looking for along with a desire to do the job under the working conditions that you have to offer them.
Following these tips will help you and others in your organization to become better interviewers. Be sure to use a standard, behavioral-based process for all candidates. A last piece of advice – using established interview guides is a good start to helping interviewers stay on track during an interview.