5 rookie interviewer mistakes made by seasoned managers

Written by: Charlene Fitzpatrick
Published on: Sep 14, 2017

JobInterviewIn today’s talent acquisition battlefield, the job candidate’s interview experience is more important than ever. If an interviewee walks out thinking that this was an unorganized and confusing experience, they might not want to come back. As much as you think the power is in your hands, the job candidate is interviewing you as well. 

That means interview skills are key. Though you might have exceptional management or leadership skills, that does not automatically make you the best interviewer. We see it all the time: A seasoned manager walks into the interview room only to come off as a rookie because of how they handle the situation.

With that in mind, here are five interviewing mistakes to avoid.

  1. Talking too much. This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many interviewers start off the interview with an introduction, and never seem to stop. While every good interviewer should start by introducing him or herself and the company, and confirming the position being applied for, you need to live by the 80/20 rule after that: Let the interviewee do the talking 80 percent of the time, while you stick to 20 percent or less. Even when silent moments occur, don’t start talking too much.

  2. Not having a plan. The biggest mistake is walking into an interview without having made a plan ahead of time. Taking the time to create a plan helps keep the interview on track, ensures you ask the questions that require answers, and guarantees you are making the most of your time with the job candidate. Before the interview, review and evaluate the candidate’s resume based on the available position. Think of key questions (behavioral are best) that allow the applicant to share their skills, talents, and achievements.

  3. Focusing solely on past and present. It’s easy to get caught up in the interviewee’s past work and current expectations. However, what separates an interviewing rookie from a seasoned interviewer are questions that challenge the interviewee about the value of their experience. Questions that require the applicant to share experiences resolving concerns and strategizing, and how they might enhance your organization, help you get an idea of their forward-thinking capabilities. It also shows you how well they have researched your company and industry – which is, typically, one of the top indicators of their success.

  4. Being biased. Sure, you don’t want to be stuffy, and it’s good to add some personality to the conversation. However, don’t get too deep into your personal preferences for fear of displaying or succumbing to bias. Just because you and the candidate have an unwavering love for the Atlanta Braves, that doesn’t mean they are more fit for the position than the candidate who couldn’t care less about baseball. Showing bias is a glaring mistake in the world of interviewing. 

  5. Not providing next steps. We’ve all been in the job candidate’s position, anxious to know what will happen once the interview concludes. It is always a good idea to provide candidates with next steps (or the final decision) at the conclusion of the interview. Whether your interview is just one step in a multi-part process, or this is the one-and-only interview, that needs to be communicated to the interviewee.

Charlene Fitzpatrick is president of The HR Girl, a human resources consulting firm that works with for-profit and nonprofit businesses to build HR infrastructure, investigate and resolve workplace complaints, ensure compliance, and more. Find more of her advice on The HR Girl blog, or by following her on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

A version of this article originally appeared on The HR Girl blog.

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