HR Mistakes: Interviewer Imperfections

HR Mistakes: Interviewer Imperfections

A strong company encompasses stronger staff members, yet building a solid, well-rounded team can often be a difficult obstacle to overcome.  Finding the proper staff is a challenging process that involves multiple steps; beginning with a simple application and ending with new hire onboarding.  There are many tools, such as recruiting software, that make this acquisition easier for employers to find the perfect candidate. However, no matter how far technology has come, there is no greater source of information than an interview.  While those being interviewed often make grave mistakes, they are not alone.  Interviewer imperfections can also cause turbulence during the hiring process. It is the faults of the interviewer that should be of greatest concern.

Effects of an Untrained Interviewer

Organizations may go long periods of time without ever discovering that their interviewers have been doing an inadequate job. It is especially difficult to discover and resolve the problem if the interview process consists of a single one on one interview. Potential candidates may fit the prerequisites appeasing the interviewer, but ultimately cannot perform the job requested by the organization. This corrupts a company’s pool of internal talent and may further corrupt a management system as individuals move throughout an organization.

Common Mistakes and Corrections

  • Inadequate training: Very few professionals receive formal training on how to conduct an interview.  There is no class in college that teaches interviewing, forcing individuals to seek out these skills independently.  Those with no prior knowledge or training may not ask the proper questions to extract vital information and important details from the candidates being interviewed.  Requiring managers to go through role play interviews or seminars can help HR asses their skills and correct bad habits. This can immediately reduce the chances of hiring the wrong candidate.
  • Not being specific: Often times an interviewer is unclear on the duties of a position.  Employees not fully understanding a position when they begin working is a major contributor to the high turnover rate our economy is currently facing. By providing a thorough and clear job description at the time of the interview and detailing all duties, you can simultaneously reduce your applicant pool and advance with more qualified candidates.
  • Asking the wrong question: It is important for interviewers to get as much relevant information from a candidate as possible during the interview process. However, asking irrelevant or unrelated questions can take up precious time and derail the motive of the interview. For example, asking a candidate “aWhat was your favorite course in college?” is not as strong of a question as “Describe a time when you had to overcome obstacles to reach your objective, and how did you handle them?”  More questions and examples can be found here.
  • One way street: An interview is a conversation, not an interrogation.  Always confirm the applicant’s understanding of the position and topics while providing time for questions.  More importantly, remember that an applicant is also judging you.  Highly qualified candidates have the option to reject a position if they feel the interview was unprofessional or improper.
  • Overlooking personal attributes: The average interviewer spends just six seconds looking at a resume.  That time is focused on education and experience and is often the focus of an interview.  Traits such as work ethic and core values that are comparable to the organization shouldn’t be overlooked.  It is vital for an interviewer to determine if the applicant’s personality and demeanor will fit within an organization and how they will work with those already in place.  Judge the individual as a whole and not just on skills and experience.  This can be done by asking questions like “What types of individuals do you work best with?” or “What are the 3 core values that you live by?”  If a candidates responses align with those of an organization you may have succeeded in finding a future employee.

To find and attract top talent, organizations must ensure that the interview and hiring process is without error.  Hiring the right people will allow you to improve retention and develop your top talent, while creating a better business today.

This DATIS Blog was written by Kevin D. Cassidy, DATIS, on March 26, 2014 and may not be re-posted without permission

Green, Alison. “10 Mistakes Job Interviewers Make.” US News RSS. US News, 29 Aug. 2011. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

Melhuish, Robin. “Why the Interview Process Is Flawed.” N.p., 24 Jan. 2014. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

Written by Kevin D. Cassidy