Screening, Assessment, Interviewing

What NOT to Do During the Interview

It’s hard enough hiring new employees without making these common and damaging interview mistakes.

With unemployment figures dipping ever lower, recruiters and hiring managers are finding themselves quite busy these days, just trying to get positions filled while minimizing productivity losses. When there are fewer available and qualified candidates for a given role, it makes the entire recruiting process all the more important. It feels like a waste of time, money, and energy to go through the recruiting process only to have an applicant turn down the offer—which could easily happen if the candidate is unimpressed with the process or the organization along the way.

The interview is a critical moment during the recruiting process. It is a two-way street in which both sides are evaluating the other to determine whether there is a good fit. Just as a job applicant can do a lot of things to make or break this interaction, the interviewers can do the same. There are plenty of things that the hiring team should be wary of if you’re looking to ensure that you don’t scare away the perfect candidate.

What NOT to Do During the Interview

Here are some things the hiring team should be sure NOT to do during the interview. Don’t:

  • Start the meeting late. The interviewee has shown up on time and ready to go, and it can feel disrespectful to leave them waiting too long. Starting on time shows that you are organized and value their time, too.
  • Allow frequent, nonemergency disruptions. The interview should be conducted with privacy and should be done in a space where you will not be disrupted. This again shows the interviewee that his or her time is valued and that the process is taken seriously. Set aside an appropriate amount of time for the interview and hold it in a space where you will not be disturbed.
  • Completely wing it on the interview questions. Not only will this appear as though the organization isn’t serious about the role in question, but it also opens up the employer and/or recruiter for potential claims of discrimination if certain questions were only posed to some applicants and not others. Always be consistent in the interview questions asked of different applicants.
  • Skip telling the candidate all about the job. While it’s obvious that you need to conduct the interview in such a way to gauge whether or not this individual will be a good fit, don’t forget that this person also needs to receive enough information about the job and the organization to ensure he or she remains interested in proceeding. Plan time in the interview process to give more info beyond what was contained in the job description and be sure to allow time for the person to ask questions.
  • Spend the whole time talking. While it’s important to give the candidate information (as we just noted), if you do not give him or her ample time to demonstrate abilities, you’ll be shortchanging the whole process. Not only will this mean you have less information on which to base your decision, the candidate will also leave having been unable to demonstrate abilities and may feel as though he or she was not given a fair chance. It’s important to strike the right balance.
  • Exaggerate or leave out pertinent job info. When you’re explaining the details about the job, be sure to tell the truth—the whole truth—about what the applicant can expect. For example, if overtime is expected more often than not, don’t gloss over it by saying that it happens only rarely. Or, if the working conditions will be strenuous, don’t leave that out. There’s no point in hiring someone only to have him or her quit shortly thereafter when the job didn’t match up with the expectations based on the interview. If you personally don’t know a lot about the role in question, find out more before the interview. You should be able to answer all pertinent questions about it.

This is just the beginning. In tomorrow’s Advisor, we’ll cover even more “don’ts” for the interview process.