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How to avoid common Interviewing mistakes (updates 2023)

Many Hiring Managers believe that they have natural interviewing skills based on their ability to be a ‘good judge’ of character and can be resistant to have some Interviewer Training. Yet despite this we know that many organisations struggle to deliver high quality consistent interviewing across their organisations and as a result have higher than average attrition rates at considerable cost. When a new hire leaves an organisation within 6 months, the average additional cost is 45% of the person’s salary.  In 2023, the KPM and REC report on the job market shows that the economic uncertainty is resulting in a decrease in recruitment for permanent roles and increase in temporary roles. At the same time, the skills shortage continues so it is increasingly important for Hiring Managers to have the skills to identify the best talent for the roles.

It’s common for Hiring Managers to recruit a candidate like themselves and recruit a candidate on the basis of whether they would like to sit next to the candidate on an 8-hour flight or what they like to go to the pub with a person! This might be completely irrelevant to the ability of the candidate to the job. Additionally, it is necessary for recruitment to prioritise the diversity of candidates is essential to fill the gap for specialized skills and knowledge in the workplace.  Training Hiring Managers in Interviewing Skills is essential to stop unconscious bias in recruitment and build a dynamic and flexible skilled workplace for the future.

Here are some common interviewing problems:

  1. Not know what ‘good’looks like in an answer. It is essential that Hiring Managers are given some guidance of what good looks like in an answer to questions. This is relevant for competency, value based and strength questions otherwise it is very difficult to for an Interviewer to carry out fair and consistent interviews and assessments.
  2. Asking poor questions. Let’s take a typical interview question. “How would others describe you?” What is the purpose of this question and what does a good answer look like? Additionally, the candidate is not likely to be authentic here but give an answer that they think the Hiring Manager wants to hear. A better question to try and get to know the candidate might be, “Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn’t know from reading your application which would give me a sense of you as a person? Or when are you not at your best at work?”
  3. Being overly friendly by using positive affirmations at the end of a candidate’s answer. In order to put the candidate at ease it is easy for the Interviewer to mislead the candidate by responding too positively at the end of their answers with comments such as, “That’s great, that’s really good, that’s amazing, absolutely.” This is likely to stop the Hiring Manager asking further questions and discussing the candidate’s answer in more detail.
  4. Halo effect. Hiring Managers are naturally drawn to extravert personalities as they tend to be chattier in the interview making it easier to build rapport in the interview. This can create a ‘halo’ effect around the candidate and make them appear a stronger candidate that they are and underplay their weaknesses. More introverted candidates and candidates where English is not their native language can be at a disadvantage in an interview even though they might be a stronger candidate for the job.
  5. Too many questions asked at a superficial level. There is a tendency for Hiring Managers to ask too many questions, moving from competency questions to another without exploring the candidates’ answers. This means that opportunities are missed to probe candidates for evidence or ask the candidate to expand ton heir answer. Additionally, this approach to interviewing makes it very difficult to develop of a conversation with a candidate and the interview can feel more like oral exam. In many cases, Hiring Manager would benefit from interviewer training and specifically learn how to probe candidates. Additionally, they might benefit from a list of probing questions to draw from in an interview.
  6. Not Knowing when and how to interrupt candidate. Some candidates can waffle and ‘go off track’ from the question or speak too quickly and it’s an essential skills of the Interviewer to know how and when to interrupt the candidate so that candidate can be politely brought back to the question.
  7. Not listening. Active listening is a core skills for the Hiring Manager allowing them to reflect back when the candidate has said and to ask for any clarification on the answers. This encourages the interview to move into a meaningful conversation.
  8. Poor probing skills. It is the Hiring Managers role to question and probe candidates and draw out the evidence of their skills and experience to do the job and cultural fit. Probing a candidate is important to seek clarification to answers, to explore the thinking and even politely challenge candidates.
  9. No process for recording evidence from interviews. It is still the case the many organisations don’t have a process in place to record the outcome of the interview. Too often an interviewer might note, “good” or “no” next to a candidate without any explanation what this means and without providing any evidence for this conclusion. At best, this makes it impossible to filter candidates meaningfully or explore a candidates’ strengths and weaknesses in another interview. At worst, it puts the organisation at risk from an unlawful interview, resulting in potential reputational damage and cost.

A solution is to improve the interviewing skills of Hiring Manager by providing regular Interviewer Training for experienced and first-time Hiring Managers. Additionally, Hiring Managers can be supported with an appropriate recruitment process, interviewing framework and questions.  For more information Book a Free Consultation to discuss your needs.

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