Have you ever hired someone who did not live up to expectations? I’m sure many of us have at one time. The purpose of the interview is to obtain good information about an applicant to make a wise selection decision. It may sound simple but then why are there so many poor hires? The reason is that many hiring managers make 10 key interviewing errors that prevent them from hiring the best people.

  1. Beginning an interview saying, “I haven’t had time to really review your resumeso tell me about yourself.”

    Before every interview, study the person’s resume to zero in on qualifications, to decide on what questions to ask and to make efficient us of the allotted time.

  2. Asking for information you already have.

    You ask, “Let’s see, how long have you been in your current position?” This is a wasted question because you should know the answer from the application. The interview should be used to obtain new information and hone in on the applicant’s capabilities.

  3. Being afraid to ask tough questions.

    If you uncover anything during the reference checking or employment history review that raises red flags, ask about it during the interview. It is important that you clear up any concerns before you reject or hire the applicant.

  4. Overselling your company.

    Many interviewers brag about how things are booming in order to lure an applicant on board. Do not paint an unrealistic picture of your company. Rather lay out the strengths and weaknesses putting them in perspective.

  5. Allowing non-emergency interruptions.

    Your office door should be closed. Put calls and messages on hold. Remember, the key purpose of an interview is to determine if this person is a good fit for the position. Don’t waste this precious time on other matters.

  6. Asking these popular but meaningless questions.

    For example, What book would you want to have if you were stranded on a desert island? What animal would you be?” Rather, ask specific questions about an applicant’s skills and experience.

  7. Not spelling out the position requirements.

    It is imperative that people know what is required of them before beginning a job. The interview is the time to outline the job’s requirements, as well as your criteria for evaluating success in the role. Then the applicant can self-select out if not qualified.

  8. Talking more then listening.

    Wait for answers. Silence suggests that you expect more information. Listen with the third ear, the one that asks the questions: “What did the person really say? Why does he or she answer that way, and what does that tell me?”

  9. Creating unnecessary tension.

    If you deliberately try to catch the person off balance, you’re not being fair to the applicant or yourself. You may get the pleasure of watching a person squirm, but are you getting a true picture of his skills and experience to make a wise hiring decision?

  10. Forgetting the Golden Rule.

    Treat every applicant the way you’d like to be treated with courtesy and respect. Appreciate the person’s accomplishments even if they are not a match for the job. Always thank the person for her time and interest. As one applicant said, “The way you are treated coming in the door tells how you will be treated once inside.”

Make the next interview count. Think back to previous interviews you have conducted. Did you make any of the above mistakes? If so, what can you do to improve your interviewing skills the next time around?

Marcia Zidle, the ‘people smarts’ coach, works with business leaders to quickly solve their people management headaches so they can concentrate on their #1 job ş to grow and increase profits. She offers free help through Leadership Briefing, a weekly e-newsletter with practical tips on leadership style, employee motivation, recruitment and retention and relationship management. Subscribe by going to
http://leadershiphooks.com/ and get the bonus report “61 Leadership Time Savers and Life Savers”. Marcia is the author of the What Really Works Handbooks ş resources for managers on the front line and the Power-by-the-Hour programs ş fast, convenient, real life, affordable courses for leadership and staff development. She is available for media interviews, conference presentations and panel discussions on the hottest issues affecting the workplace today. Contact Marcia at 800-971-7619.

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