Mistakes that interviewers make


Chantelle Smith | Recruitment Specialist | HR Company Solutions | mail me |

When it comes to interviewing a potential new hire, there are always guidelines around the sort of questions to ask and what the answers should be, what attire should be worn and what body language shouldn’t be used, along with the questions related to the job description and what boxes should be ticked for the candidate to be successful.

But how many hiring managers know that they’re making one common mistake that could see them making the wrong decision when it comes to a new hire?  I don’t think that many know what the mistake is and it’s a very simple thing actually – Companies are focusing on their own needs rather than the needs of job candidates they are interviewing. They are out to find that one person who ‘ticks the boxes’ in Skills, Qualifications, Years of Experience and other job-standard factors, without taking into consideration what the potential new hire needs from a new job.

Companies will provide a very broad or generic job description for a vacancy they have and provide to their Recruitment Partner.  They’ll ‘sell’ the job with a focus on the benefits it has associated with it like medical aid, a provident or pension fund, a cellular phone allowance, staff discount, leave days and a 13th cheque etc.

There is nothing wrong with that, but every single company out there will do the same thing, so there’s not much of a differentiating factor there that would attract a great candidate apart from the company’s reputation, its name and brand value and other things like where they are situated and how big/small they are. These are things that candidates will find out about through their own research before they attend an interview and by what the Recruiter has told them about the company.

Candidates in the job market have so many job choices these days, and that includes entry-level candidates. Recruiters see this daily – candidates attending various interviews at different companies for the same/similar role and at the end, they’ll generally have a choice of two or more they can decide to accept an offer for.

The thing is that candidates are looking for interviews as the prime opportunity to decide if your company is where they would like to work and if it’s the company that will meet their needs and their goals.

Candidates are, in fact, interviewing companies to see if it is where they would want to spend a good part of their working career, leaving an existing job for, or for an entirely new career change. It takes guts on a candidate’s part to make a career change in a challenging job market, so companies need to identify with that.

Candidates will make their minds up very quickly if you do not give them the opportunity to ask questions as well and uncover more information about the company and people they could potentially be working for.

Hiring Managers are so focused on what they want to get from a candidate in line with a pre-defined job specification and, more often than not, a pre-existing perception of the person they want in their team, based on a predecessor. They’ll question candidates about their skills, their weaknesses, their experience and how they handle pressure. They will often overlook their needs when it comes to things like job security, a career development path, the options to be upskilled in the new role through training and development, their growth both professionally and personally etc.

Candidates have often reported not being given the opportunity to ask questions and that’s not acceptable. This happens more often than people believe and it’s because of one simple thing, the people conducting interviews have no idea how to interview effectively. This is evident with the alarming rate of wrong hires that companies have made. The statistics are scary when around 74% of companies have admitted to making wrong hires that have ended up costing them time, money and morale and often a loss of sales revenue, a loss in productivity and more.

There is an easy solution to this problem. You need to make sure that you train every Hiring Manager on effective interviewing techniques and how to select the right candidate for success – not just for the company but for the candidate and their personal and professional career goals too.

This means that even the Senior Management Team needs to undergo the same training – Top Executives are often part of the hiring and interview processes that companies adopt and equipping them with the right interview tools and skills will make sure everyone is on the same page. It is often taken for granted that Top Managers already know how to interview properly, it’s not always the case, particularly when they ‘don’t have the time’ to interview thoroughly enough and will often go on the word of the direct Line Manager.

Companies have got to take the needs of the candidate to heart and uncover what those are – let them ask questions about the company, what growth plans it offers, what challenges they may come across in the market the company operates in, what the company culture is like, do they embark on team building and activities that encourage healthy work-life balances etc.

Most companies will say that they don’t have the time for a lengthy interview or the time to go through interviewing training for their Managers, but they need to make the time. This is because of the following factors that they need to consider:

How much time they spend hiring employees and then counselling them because of performance issues, a culture mis-fit or other reasons that result in them leaving; and

How much it actually costs the company when someone leaves – by this we refer to the time, money and other less tangible costs like a loss in morale, a loss in team performance and synergy, a loss of faith in hiring abilities etc.

Ultimately, companies want a new hire to stay with them for the long-haul, someone looking for stability and growth and a long-term career – how on earth can they uncover those aspirations from a candidate if they’re not willing to ask better questions and allow candidates to ask their own?

Allow your Recruitment Partner to assist you with some interview guidelines – they have often already uncovered the true value in a new role for a candidate and can present those motivations to you, allowing you the  time to do some deeper digging into those needs from the start.

The investment in training and gaining knowledge, is never money or time misspent – companies will see the true value in it when they train effectively on interviewing techniques that result in better hires that stay for the long-term.




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here