Talent Acquisition

The 10 Most Common Interviewer Mistakes: How Not to Conduct a Job Interview

By Daniela Ibarra

common interviewer mistakes

Effective interviewer skills are critical to organizational success. However, in many organizations, interviews are poorly conducted and interviewers do not possess the skills to accurately predict employee success.

Hiring the wrong person can cost a company thousands of dollars, not to mention the potential negative impact on the staff’s morale and productivity.

As an HR professional, you have a lot of responsibility on your shoulders, so you need to make sure you are properly prepared.

Here are the most common interviewer mistakes that you should try to avoid:

1. Not knowing what you’re looking for.

Before you even start looking for candidates, you must develop a road map to define the exact qualifications and competencies you are looking for. This will help you define the questions you want to ask, or better yet, the answers you want to hear.

2. Making up questions.

Research has shown that brainteaser interview questions are not useful for testing a candidate’s ability to succeed on the job. On the contrary, these questions can destroy a candidate’s experience and affect your recruiting abilities.

Instead, you should ask powerful questions that give you the most information about a candidate, or try a blended approach to interviewing.

3. Playing amateur psychologist.

This is the typical “I can tell in the first minute whether someone is going to be a good fit or not” interviewer.

Being overly confident of your ability to accurately “size someone up” can lead to meaningless assumptions. Instead, be a strong listener, show your interest in the candidate and be open-minded.

4. Applying your own philosophy.

You do not need to have a specific “interviewing style.” Your job is to find potential candidates and deliver a professional interview. Some organizations set interviewing standards to guide HR managers in this process.

5. Not having a response evaluation strategy.

Let’s say you do have good questions prepared.

A response evaluation strategy is just as important as asking the right questions. Before looking for candidates, you must ask yourself and other team members what constitutes a good response. What are you looking to hear from a candidate? What alternate responses would you still consider good responses?

Download our free infographic to learn the top 10 interview questions that reveal more than just a single answer.

6. Making a biased decision.

Here’s the deal:

If you don’t have a detailed guide for qualifications and competencies to look for, and you don’t have a plan for evaluating responses, then you’re very likely to make a biased decision (even unconsciously). Personal prejudices and stereotypes are encoded deep in our brains and define how we perceive the world around us. Don’t let them affect your judgement.

7. Looking for negatives.

Some interviewers approach the interview as an opportunity to find that one mistake or poor response to eliminate a candidate. Even when candidates make mistakes, you must look at their entire profile before making a decision.

Remember that every candidate will have strengths and weaknesses, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be successful on the job. Besides, making this mistake will significantly slow down your hiring process.

8. Multi-stage interviews.

According to Dr. Hauenstein from OMNIview, multiple stages of interviews do not provide much more information about a candidate than the first one. On the contrary, it can irritate a candidate and leave a negative impression.

No one needs four rounds of interviews to decide if a candidate is right for your organization.

9. One way conversations.

Do not monopolize the interview. Make sure you give the candidate time to fully respond and ask questions. A general guideline is to spend 80 percent of your time listening and 20 percent talking.

10. Lack of structure, content and process.

This is the core problem behind poor interviewing, and the reason so many organizations turn to interviewing training. A structured interview process will help you deliver detailed candidate feedback and make the right decision.

Finding the right person is not easy, it requires time, attention, and a lot of patience! Remember, the most important asset for an organization is its people. This is true for a small start-up with four employees as well as for a Fortune 500 company.

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Interviewing Tips
Daniela Ibarra researches and writes on a variety of business topics, including workplace dynamics, HR strategies, and training trends and technology.