5 interview mistakes hiring managers make

When it comes to job interviews, there is a wealth of advice available for candidates on how to make a good impression, but this is harder to find for hiring managers. However, it’s just as important for hiring managers, or whoever is carrying out interviews, to be on top form as well. Workopolis reports that 69% of candidates are less likely to accept a job offer if they have a bad interview experience, which can have a damaging effect on an employer’s brand.   

Hiring managers need to make sure that their technique and etiquette will leave candidates feeling excited, hopeful, and certain that they want the job. With this in mind, here is our list of 5 common interview mistakes that hiring managers make, and how to avoid them in the future to improve your hiring processes. 

1. Not preparing properly

First, you need to have a thorough understanding of the job you’re interviewing for, so you can properly judge whether a candidate is suitable for it.  Hopefully you were involved in writing the job description, but if not, take the time to go over it with your hiring team to make sure everyone is in agreement, both for what the job involves and for the traits or qualifications the successful candidate needs to have. This will also ensure that if an interviewee has any questions, you will be able to answer them correctly and in detail. 

You should then prepare some open-ended but relevant questions to ask candidates. For example, if you’re looking to fill a senior management position, you should ask about team-leading experiences. Monster suggests that you should only spend 25% of the interview time talking, giving the interviewee the rest of this time to lead your conversation. Listen carefully to what candidates are saying and tailor your questions as needed. Generic, irrelevant questions will make you appear unprepared or disinterested, which is sure to turn off any candidate. 

2. Having negative body language 

A statistic you might be familiar with is that up to 93% of communication is non-verbal, with vocal communication (how you deliver your speech) and body language (how you physically present yourself) being huge influences upon how others perceive you. Negative body language, such as crossed arms, lack of eye contact, and speaking in a monotonous voice can make candidates feel intimidated or like you are disinterested in them. Remember that when giving interviews, you’re acting as a representative of your company: if you come across as unwelcoming or unbothered, a candidate might decide to take their job search elsewhere.

Take the time to practise positive body language if you need to, for example by looking in a mirror. Smiling, making eye contact, and sitting upright are examples of just a few ways you can communicate your interest in a candidate. This will have a knock-on effect of helping your interviewee relax and feel more comfortable, which will make your conversations more authentic and give you a better understanding of what their personality is like, which may help influence your hiring decisions.

3. Being influenced by bias

Recruitment bias is an issue that affects every industry. Factors such as a candidate’s age, gender, and other stereotypes can have a subconscious influence upon hiring decisions, which can lead to entire teams or companies lacking much-needed diversity. Another way recruitment bias may show itself is after a particularly strong interview – one candidate could make an incredible impression, which influences your mood when interviewing the next one, which could give this next candidate an unfair disadvantage. This phenomenon is known as ‘the halo effect’.

One way to combat recruitment bias is to go through training, which will help make you aware of when and how this can show itself, and to refamiliarise yourself with this before giving interviews. Another way is to have an interview or hiring panel form of employees from across the company, including those who will be working with the successful candidate on a daily basis. This will give you a variety of opinions to base your hiring decisions on, and helps ensure a fair recruitment process overall.

4. Not using an interview scorecard

Before interviewing your first candidate, you and your hiring team should decide how you will take notes during interviews, for example by using scorecards. TalentLyft explains that you should draw up a list of essential skills and criteria for the role, and score candidates in line with how well they demonstrate that they have these qualities. This will help significantly when the time comes to compare and measure candidates against each other, and you have to decide who you want to consider the recruitment process with. 

Additionally, this can also serve as another way to prevent recruitment bias from influencing your hiring choices. By putting together an objective system of measurement, you and your hiring team can compare individual notes and how each candidate has scored. As mentioned previously, this helps make sure that your hiring decisions are as fair and that all candidates are evaluated equally.

5. Rushing the process

You might feel pressured to fill a vacancy as soon as possible, but a rushed decision may lead to problems down the line. If a candidate isn’t the right fit, it could lead to a disjointed company culture and higher turnover rates, which are difficult to recover from. Save yourself the stress in advance, and make sure you take the time to fully evaluate each candidate’s application and interviews. You may even need to schedule additional interviews or assessment tasks to make sure of their skills and qualifications.

If the recruitment process is going to take longer than expected, make sure to communicate this to your candidates. Some may have additional offers to consider, or may have to make time in their schedules for any additional assessments. They will appreciate the heads up, as it will show a level of consideration for their time and that you are well prepared.

Final thoughts

Your interview skills will naturally develop with practise and experience, but hopefully by following these tips, you will be able to avoid these mistakes and be on your way to improving your recruitment processes. 

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