Mistakes That Teams Make While Interviewing Candidates


Hello from the otherrrrr sidddeee. Okay, I’m no Adele, and maybe my singing needs a little work. But, what I am is perfectly placed in the world of recruitment to help my fellow interviewers reach the zenith of organizational success.

How? That’s simple. You know how last week I wrote about mistakes candidates make in an interview that can cost them a job. Well, it’s time to change my shoes and talk about mistakes made on…the other side. That’s right, you know as well as I do that poorly conducted interviews can cost you the purple squirrel you have been hunting for so long. Interviewing is a strenuous process, and predicting a future employee’s success within an organization is no easy feat.

Things can go from bad to worse when the team interviewing candidates makes a few bloopers of its own. Not to mention, approving the wrong person can cost your company thousands of dollars, and then there’s the detrimental impact on overall productivity and morale.

But, before you get too bogged down by the pressure, I’m here to make your life in the HR pool a little easier. This feature is all about avoiding some choice miscalculations and stepping up your hiring game. All you have to do is scroll down and go through the lineup of mistakes teams make while hiring candidates.

1. Not Being On The Same Page

When you’re interviewing candidates as a team, it’s essential that you’re all on the same wavelength. I mean, if you come off as not being certain about the job’s responsibilities or expectations, you’ll leave the candidate confused and perhaps, a teensy weensy bit worried about the professionalism of your workplace.

Team sports require each team member to be aware of the game-play strategies without considering if they’re on the offense or defense. To ensure you don’t appear scattered or ignorant in front of what can potentially be your star candidate, ensure each person on the interviewing team is up to speed about all aspects of the job.

2. Making The Interview Far More Difficult Than The Position

Imagine yourself at an interview where the hiring team makes the job appear something along the lines of the twelve labors of Hercules. Something along the lines of:

Killing the Nymean Lion — ✔

Killing the Hydra — ✔

Capturing the Ceryneian Hind — ✔

Then the candidate gets approved, walks into the office on the first day of work, and the job’s more of a walk in the park. That’s going to feel like a major breach of trust. Interviews are designed to function as a two-way street: you want to know all about the candidate to suss out if they’re suitable, and the candidate is entitled to the same privilege.

Everyone’s always talking about how candidates sometimes go out of their way to hype up their skills by fibbing. Still, not everyone mentions that interviewers can get carried away when explaining the complexities of a job. The point is, be as precise and accurate as you can about the responsibilities of a job and leave gauging the difficulty to the candidate.

3. Over Promising Or Over-committing Details On The Positions

Another gaffe that’s all too common on the interviewing side of things is over-promising details about a position. Shooting for the moon and landing on a star seems to work out okay if a person’s trying to prepare for disappointments — but the context doesn’t really take in a job interview.

As a hiring manager (or team), you’re an extension of the company’s authority, and that means what you say doesn’t only matter — it’s taken very, very, seriously by the candidate. So when you promise something (without okaying from the top), and it doesn’t materialize, the candidate who’s now an employee isn’t going to be too happy or productive.

4. Verbally saying you’re getting the job and then backing out

You know what’s worse than not winning the lottery? Winning it, finding out someone made a mistake and still being broke. That’s so depressing; I almost lost track of the point I was trying to make.

If you’ve verbally committed to hiring a particular candidate and then end up backing out of the deal — you’re consigning that poor person to some solid demoralization. And, while it may not affect you or your company directly, it has the potential to generate a lot of bad press if word gets around. And trust me, word always gets around. No one lives in a bubble…even during COVID…Facebook is a digital wildfire.

5. Asking interview questions that have no relevance to the job

Interviews can be fun, exciting, boring, or even dull. But they can’t ever be unprofessional. As an interviewer, you’re in the room to make sure you get the best possible candidate for your company.

It’s not like you’re supposed to sit there staring into space silence, but it’s best if all conversation is employment-related. What’s more, certain questions are downright offensive to ask in interviews. These are related to a candidate’s personal sphere — their age, political affiliation, religious beliefs, lifestyle choices, etc., are all something that you should avoid talking about in an interview.

6. Luring A Candidate In With Compensation

I think that the heading for section 6 is pretty self-explanatory. One of the worst mistakes you can make with hiring candidates is dangling compensation like a carrot stick to the candidate, only to lowball your offer.

Believe it or not, there are people out there who love what they do. Candidates are sometimes willing to work for less than they’re worth because they feel passionately about a project. Now, imagine someone’s all fired up to join your firm; they go through all the motions and turn up for all the interviews — despite the remuneration being less than ideal.

That’s the kind of candidate you want on your team because their motivation goes beyond money. But, if the hiring team merely uses the compensation to draw in clients and proceeds to blindside them with a lower, almost offensive package — that’s the height of unprofessionalism.

Pulling off the ole’ lure ’em with the money gambit is not only a sure-fire way of losing good candidates, but it’s also guaranteed to give your workplace the kind of reputation you want to avoid. Who’d like to work for a company that’s unable to stick to its own word and isn’t above playing shady mind games?

Wrap Up

The hiring and interview process is pretty exhaustive on its own — for candidates and hiring managers. It’s in the interests of everyone involved that both sides both put their best foot forward. Sure, there’s always an element of human error, but there’s just no excuse for some mistakes.

As a hiring manager, it’s your job to land the best possible candidate suitable for the job. And, your life will be a lot easier and more productive if you steer clear of the slips and lapses mentioned here. As Doug Conant puts it — to win the marketplace, you must first win the workplace — and that begins with being the kind of company candidates would love to work with.

However, here are some random thoughts from folks like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and others that have helpful stuff…but, share your ideas and thoughts before you start the process so you’re all on the same page.

Founder @ NxtLevel.io | Blogger | Sourcing Ninja | Recruiter | Ex-@Facebook, Ex-@Zillow | Consultant | Entrepreneur | Startup Junky

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