business handshake5 Common Mistakes Employers Make Interviewing Job Candidates


Interview mistakes may seem confined to the job hunter. After all, you’re the one hiring, so the pressure is all on them, right?

This assumption couldn’t be further from the truth — many employers unknowingly commit grave errors while screening their potential candidates. The tendency is magnified in small businesses, where owners themselves often act as hiring managers while lacking sufficient HR experience. Here are five common mistakes to avoid when hiring for the next open position within your company.

Failing to Prepare

Candidates are expected to prepare for an interview by dressing appropriately, arriving early, bringing the proper materials and conducting the basic background research needed to carry on a productive conversation. And guess what — you (as the employer) need to do the same! You should go into the meeting with an agenda, and should also have a solid understanding of the interviewee’s background. Failing to do so can result in an underwhelming discussion that may even turn top candidates away.

Not Defining the Job

In order to discuss the job with a candidate, you need to first describe it accurately. This doesn’t mean you have to spend half an hour boring them with bullet points and qualifiers, but you should be able to give them a clear snapshot of a day in the position they’re interviewing for so they can construct their interview answers accordingly.

Relying on Hypothetical Questions

Hypothetical questions such as “how would you respond if a client spoke to you disrespectfully?” place undue stress on candidates. Not only that, they’re also poor indicators of capacity. Are you really going to hire someone based on their answer to a “what if” question? Instead, you can ask them if there was ever a time when they had to deal with a harsh client and how they responded. If they haven’t ever dealt with a harsh client, you can illustrate an example of a time when one of your employees handled a similar situation appropriately and ask them if that aligns with their demeanor.

Talking Too Much

While you should certainly have a pitch to sell your business and culture to top talent, remember that the interview is the candidate’s time to shine. Be concise when outlining the position; ask your questions and listen to their answers. If you find yourself talking more than 50 percent of the time, chances are you’re not achieving the two-way conversation that is critical in a successful interview.

Not Being Clear About Pay and Hours

One of the key factors that candidates want and need to know about but are discouraged from asking during a first interview is how the position will dictate their daily lives — things like pay and hours fall into this category. It’s OK to have a pay range based on experience, and it’s also generally understood that sometimes hours change with busy times. However, you need to be completely transparent and provide the candidate with adequate information in areas like this. Otherwise you are setting yourself up for potential conflicts after hiring them.

Interviewing for a new employee is an exciting process, and it’s one that you need to take seriously. You don’t want to make a bad hire. For more tips, contact me today and I’ll be happy to share my knowledge and resources with you.

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