When it comes to job interviews, it often seems that almost all the pressure and responsibility is on the interviewee. Much of the time there might be good reason for this – a candidate might have to stand out against literally hundreds of others, whereas a company might be under few time constraints to find the right person.
However, job interviews are a two-way street and it’s just as important for the interviewer to get it right as it is for the interviewee. Otherwise, they could miss out on a potentially perfect candidate, or on the other hand employ someone who’s a complete disaster for the company.
Here are some mistakes it’s important not to make when interviewing for new staff…
Not doing your research
It’s expected that a candidate should do research about the company before the interview, and the reverse should also apply. A casual scan through their CV might give you a quick overview, but if you really want to get a handle on what they’re like then you’re going to have to dig a little deeper.
As CV-Library explain in this interview,* there’s “nothing worse for candidates than an interviewer who hasn’t taken the time to read over their CV beforehand. It can come across as you being uninterested and rude.”
Also, one in four admit to lying on their CV,** so a bit of extra research may unearth some of those fibs.
A candidate’s social media profiles are a perfect place to learn more about them, and get more of an idea about their temperament, their likes, dislikes, attitude to work, and plenty more besides. You do have to take some of the things on social media with a pinch of salt, but it might red flag potential problems before you hire.
Not taking an interest in the person
Obviously you want someone who knows their way around a job, or shows plenty of potential to do so, but don’t underestimate the importance of getting to know the person behind the interviewee.
You might have someone who clearly knows the job but doesn’t fit in with your company’s culture, which won’t be good in the long term for either of you. You may also put a candidate off your company by not taking an interest in them – you may come across as impersonal and difficult to approach.
Include some questions about what the candidate likes to do in their free time, or just have a general chat with them on the way in and out of the interview. Simple things like this can really help you learn more about them.
Not giving your full attention
The interviewee is more than likely going to be incredibly nervous, and has taken time out of their day to come and see you, possibly having to duck out of work, so it’s important to afford them your full attention.
Don’t leave them waiting too long if you can help it, and pay attention to what the candidate is saying – sitting there checking your emails is not a good look and could well put off a potentially great person. You could also miss a vital piece of information that might help you make your mind up either way.
Get someone to screen your calls and resist checking your emails unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Trying to tick every box
In an ideal world, you’d get the perfect candidate who can already do all the things you need and just hit the ground running. However, this isn’t an ideal world, and the vast majority of the time, you’re only going to find people who tick, say, eight out of the ten boxes at the most.
It might be tempting to hold out for the that 10/10, but you could be waiting a long time, and you could turn away someone who has the potential to learn and grow over time so they can eventually tick those extra boxes. Consider what training and support you could give to improve their skills – their willingness to learn is just as important as anything else.
Not following up
If someone has taken the time to come and see you for an interview, it’s important you follow up and let them know if they haven’t been successful. It’s a simple courtesy, but one that isn’t afforded enough. If possible, then individual feedback is even better, but at the very least a quick email to wish them well is the least they deserve.
By not following up quick enough, you might also risk losing a great candidate, as they might think you’re not interested and look elsewhere.
About the author: Chris Thomson is a digital marketing manager who has spent plenty of time on both sides of the interview table with varying degrees of success.