April 9, 2012
By: Roberta Matuson
Conducting an interview looks really easy, right? You sit across the table from someone and chat for an hour. You then make a hiring decision, which often leads to regret. That’s because many business owners and hiring managers don’t know how to interview effectively.
How many of these interview mistakes have you committed lately?
The talker. The candidate comes in for an interview and you do most of the talking. That’s because you don’t let her get a word in edge wise. You then wonder why you don’t have enough information to make a decision.
This happens over and over again until finally you decide you are tired of hearing yourself speak. You put yourself out of your misery by making a job offer to someone you barely know.
Knowing how to interview means that the candidate should be doing 85 percent of the talking and you should be doing most of the listening.
Hiring managers, who arrive at the interview with prepared interview questions usually are most successful in making good hires. That’s because they aren’t filling the interviewing time with nervous chatter. Instead, they are asking specific questions and probing further where necessary.
Sending mixed signals to the candidate. “You’re the most important item on my calendar. Do you mind if I just take this call?”
You may find this hard to believe, but candidates are observing you and assessing if they want to be a part of your organization, even in a tight job market.
Answering your phone or texting while interviewing shows the candidate that you have better things to do than meet with them.
Set the scene for a great interview by silencing your phone and turning off the e-mail notification that chimes every time new mail arrives.
You have the rest of your life to spend with your phone and your computer. You only have an hour of this person’s time. Focus on the task at hand and you’ll quickly accelerate your ability to find the best candidate.
Making promises you can’t keep. Applicants complain all the time about hiring managers who never get back to them, even though they promised they would. Or even worse, job offers are made on the spot and are rescinded after reference checking is done.
I belong to the “honesty is the best policy” school of interviewing. If it’s clear to me in the interview that we are not a match for one another, I will simply tell the candidate that I don’t want to waste their time or give them false hope.
I continue by giving them a brief explanation why this is so and end by thanking them for their time. This approach saves both the candidate and the interviewer time and peace of mind.
Never extend a job offer before references are checked. This will prevent you from the nasty task of rescinding a job offer.
It’s never too late to learn how to interview and learn to avoid making common hiring mistakes. In fact, my clients tell me that learning this skill is a life changer. They hire right the first time and are happy to report they now have time to grow their businesses.
©2012 Human Resource Solutions. All rights reserved.
Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the President of Human Resource Solutions and author of the highly acclaimed book Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around, a Washington Post Top-5 Leadership pick. Sign up to receive a complimentary subscription to Roberta's monthly newsletter, HR Matters. Register today for Roberta’s free Profitability Accelerator Teleconference Series.