As you make progress in your career, you will face many challenges. You will expect some of these challenges to come with the territory of your job, but others will be out of your comfort zone. One challenge many will face, even if it wasn’t in your job description, is conducting job interviews.
Being an interviewer is an important responsibility, and a lot of people don’t do it well. There are quite a few ways to mess it up.
Whether you work in human resources or not, here are eight practices interviewers should avoid:
1. Arriving late.
In the job interview process, we always stress to candidates that they should arrive on time. In fact, we suggest they should arrive early to “make a good impression.” Why should interviewers be held to a different standard? Showing up late is rude and will make it seem like you don’t care about the interview.
2. Coming unprepared.
Again, candidates are instructed to do lots of research before showing up for an interview. Prep work is just as important for the interviewer. Read the candidate’s resume and cover letter ahead of time. Take notes. Prepare questions based on what you read. Make use of your interview time by discovering more than what you could have read about the candidate in the materials they already gave you.
3. Not taking notes.
You never know exactly how long it will be between interviews and decision time. It’s essential to take notes during every interview so you can make the best decision possible. Interviewers who don’t take notes will forget key details and mix things up. After a lot of interviews, candidates start to get jumbled. Plus, your interviewee will think you’re less interested. Take good notes and your decision will be so much easier.
4. Asking cliche questions.
Candidates have so many resources available to prepare for job interviews. These resources provide them with the most frequently asked questions, as well as the obscure questions. Interviewers who ask too many cliche questions like the ones on these lists will wind up hearing lots of memorized answers. You’ll likely have to ask a few of these, but focus on tailored interview questions instead. The responses will be more relevant and usable.
5. Not talking enough.
Interviewers should not just leave the talking to the candidates. A good interview involves a back-and-forth dialogue between the interviewer and interviewee. Give candidates something to work with other than your silence. You don’t want to appear disinterested.
6. Talking too much.
On the flip side, you don’t want to dominate the interview either. An interviewer who does this appears inexperienced and can leave candidates confused. It’s your job to keep the conversation moving, but always ask questions to shift the focus back on the candidate. Give them a chance to make their case.
7. Asking irrelevant questions.
Occasionally, interviewers will get side-tracked based on the way the conversation is going. Then the questions become less about the job opening and more about random things they found in common. While it’s good to relate to your candidate, it’s important to steer the conversation back to business. When your interview is finished, you should be able to base your decision off of something real.
8. Allowing interruptions.
Interviewers who don’t give candidates their undivided attention are hurting their hiring process. It’s down right rude to be texting, answering the phone, or accepting other interruptions during an interview. When you sit down for an interview, the candidate should be your only priority for the next hour (give or take).
It’s challenging to know exactly what to ask job candidates in an interview. By avoiding these practices, you’re already off to a good start.
What are some other practices interviewers should avoid?
Good tips! Another: Failing to research the candidate beforehand. Sure, their resume and cover letters can provide you with valuable insight. However, doing an online search or checking out their references can also help you to paint a more fuller picture.
Thanks for reading, Val! And yes, digging deeper into a candidate will likely offer more information than they have presented to you. It will also save you time and money in the long-run if you happen to find a red flag.
A very good guide indeed!
Thanks for reading, Fernando!
Yes, please be prepared and familiar with my resume. I recently had two people call me right after I submitted my resume for two difference jobs because they really liked my experience. This experience included many jobs (many were temporary), and it was a huge concern for one person and I don’t even know why she called because it was all about her concern with the many jobs I had and she didn’t really want to hear me explain. If you like a resume enough to call a person, please schedule an interview and allow them to discuss any concerns you have at the interview.
I agree, Pam. Interviewers should be familiar with a candidate’s resume so, when it’s time for the interview, they are prepared and knowledgeable about the person with whom they are speaking. Thank you for reading and sharing your experience!
I believe the interviewer can be as bumbling,inattentive and ill-prepared as they like since they hold all the cards…especially for those job-seekers not currently employed. The interviwer,and by extension the company, will be the ones to miss out on a great candidate b/c they couldn’t keep them straight. It won’t matter to them as they’ll make a now poorly informed hiring decision and go about their merry way.
Pity more candidates don’t recognize this type of behavior for what it is and run, not walk, away.
Yes, Gary, it is very important for candidates to note how their interviewer is handling the interview. If they notice they are unprepared, it might be a good decision to walk away. Thanks for reading!
Heather, good blog, really found this useful.
I am the author of Interview Genius and audiobook on being the Einstein of Interviews and would like to add a point. It’s really important to never be defensive. Most people get really defensive when the interview gets difficult especially when there are more than one Interviewers, this is the moment that people kill their chances. My advice is “Never be Defensive” even if it hurts. Hope that helps. Regards Gary Gamp https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/interview-genius-guide-to/id630975226