5 Interview Mistakes Hiring Managers Commonly Make

5 common interview mistakes that managers and recruiters make. Are you guilty of them? Find out in this article!


Leen Sawalha

VP Product & Growth

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Interview mistakes are very common. After all, we’re all human! But when talking about interview mistakes, everyone always assumes it’s the candidates who are in the wrong. What about the recruiters? What about the immediate managers? Are they as flawless as they seem when it comes to interview mistakes? Nope!

Regardless of your education and experience, we are all susceptible to a few slip-ups, especially when it comes to hiring the best. So, what are we doing wrong? Let’s take a closer look at some common interview mistakes that recruiters and hiring managers tend to make.

Interview Mistake #1: Falling victim to recruitment bias

Yes, we all know our basic gender, age, and stereotyping biases. But are there more that we are completely unaware they’re influencing our hiring decisions? You may have heard of these biases if you’ve been trained or had a formal education in HR, but it’s not just HR professionals who interview. And even if you have been exposed to the terms, you may still not be paying them enough attention.

Take a little time before an interview to refresh your memory on the various types of recruitment bias that commonly occur during interviews.

Interview Mistake #2: Asking irrelevant questions

There is nothing worse than asking irrelevant questions during an interview. Not only does it waste your valuable time as the recruiter and/or immediate manager, but it is also one of the most frustrating things a candidate can experience.

Even though you are the one who is giving the candidate the opportunity to work for your organization, you won’t be able to attract the best employees if your selection process affects your reputation and brand as an employer.

Prepare for the interview beforehand and make sure you know what you’re looking for in terms of knowledge, experience, skills, and characteristics.

Interview Mistake #3: Asking the wrong questions

This common interview mistake is just as bad as asking irrelevant questions. Asking the wrong questions wastes the recruiter, manager, and candidate’s time. And yes, I know it’s a cliché, but time is money when it comes to recruitment and selection.

You have a position to fill, you need to screen and prepare for all the interviews, and you need to reserve time to actually conduct the interviews. Not only that, but after you’ve found your candidate, they still need to go through orientation and training, etc… So can you really afford to be asking the wrong questions during an interview?

Putting this much time and effort into hiring the best is completely valid, but only if you’re using your time wisely! Get to know the candidate before they come into the interview and make sure you examine their weaknesses and not their strengths!

Say, for example, you’re are looking to hire an employee who is expected to have sales as part of his tasks. They come into the interview and have a great energy and sociability about them that makes you realize he would be a good salesperson. In fact, if you gave them a psychometric test, you’d probably see that they are more on the extroverted side. But then again this same psychometric test told you that he is not much of an adaptable person. What questions would you ask during the interview in this situation?

Would you spend time examining how capable he is of initiating contact with strangers, approaching them, and creating new networks? Or would you rather spend time addressing his lack of adaptability? Wouldn’t you prefer to see if he has had experiences where he had to be adaptable? Has he learned anything from these experiences? Can he transfer that knowledge to this position?

Point is: get to know your candidates even before they come into the interview, prepare for their arrival, and have an interview guide handy that allows you to focus on the more important aspects of the interview.

Interview Mistake #4: Lack of self-awareness

I know it sounds cheesy, but that doesn’t make it any less true. If you don’t know what your strengths are, how can you capitalize on them? If you don’t know what your weaknesses are, how can you make sure they don’t work against you?

You, as the interviewer, need to know yourself. Are you an inherently good listener, or should you work on developing your active listening? Are you too sensitive and empathetic, or are you not making your candidates feel comfortable because of your resilience? Are you organized and structured, or should you put more effort into planning and preparing for an interview?

Know who you are, what you’re good at, and what could use a little bit of work. If you want to be a good recruiter, getting to know yourself is the best start.

Interview Mistake #5: Comparing Candidates

Just because a candidate was better than the one before him or her, doesn’t mean they are the right candidate for you. Some candidates are just naturally better at interviewing, while it takes others more time and effort to really display their natural strengths, talents, and personality. And most of the time, an hour long interview is just not enough time for these individuals to really show you what they’re all about.

Don’t rely on appearances, and don’t compare candidates. What you are seeing during an interview is likely just the tip of the iceberg of what your candidates have to offer.  So, once again, prepare and get to know your candidates!

Whether you’re looking to hire an executive or fill an entry level position, the cost of a bad hire is just not worth the risk of making common, avoidable interview mistakes. Refresh your knowledge of recruitment biases, avoid irrelevant questions, use your time efficiently by asking the right ones, improve your self-awareness, and don’t compare candidates! Start with these tips and you will surely be on your way to improving your selection process.

Can you think of other common interview mistakes that managers make? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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