March 28, 2016

Guest Blog By: David Romano, Benchmarkinc

Twenty-nine percent of candidates declined a job offer because of the interview process. Yes, that means that at least 29 percent of the time interviewers make such a poor impression that qualified candidates would rather stay unemployed than work for them. We’re all busy, so finding the time to prepare to conduct a job interview can be tough. But, if you spend a little bit of time getting prepared, you’ll add a lot more value to the hiring process and make better decisions.

Here are the 6 most common mistakes made every day by hiring managers, with some simple steps you can take to avoid them.

Fail to define a clear picture of the job requirements

If you don’t see a target clearly, chances are that you will miss it. Do you have a clear picture in your mind of the performance you want to see from the position you are filling? Are you and the other people interviewing candidates in agreement on what you are looking for in the person you hire? Make sure to get everyone involved in the hiring process together in a room. Agree on the priorities of the job and the kind of accomplishments that make a candidate a top contender. You would be surprised at how rarely this happens in some companies

Fail to create a scorecard for the interview

Before the first interview takes place, create an interview scorecard that lists the key accomplishments and skills you want in the person you hire. You might have 7 criteria (sales skills, organizational skills, leadership abilities, etc.) for which each interviewer scores the candidate from 1-5. This helps you to grade every candidate objectively against criteria that are important for the job.

Fail to ask open-ended, accomplishment oriented questions

If you had to walk into an interview right now with zero preparation, could you ask good interview questions and learn everything necessary to make a judgment about the candidate? Unless you are professional interviewer who hires hundreds of candidates a year, the answer is likely no.  Having open-ending, probing questions prepared in advance is paramount to a good interview.   Of course, with more preparation you can ask more focused questions.  But open-ended follow-up questions allow the candidate to describe what he or she has accomplished in life and the opportunity to provide details that prove their expertise

Fail to listen

When you conduct an interview, what percentage of time do you spend talking?  In most interviews, if the percentage exceeds 25 percent, you’re talking too much.  Here’s how to fix that problem:

In most interview situations, you should be asking questions, listening, asking a follow up question, listening, and then repeating the process.  Stop “telling,” and start asking and listening during the interview process.  Your hiring decisions will improve.

Fail to do a post-game debrief

Optimally, you should have multiple people interview a candidate.  If you don’t, you should.  You get the most value from having multiple people interview a candidate.  Immediately after everyone has interviewed the candidate, or as quickly as possible thereafter, do a post-game debriefing to discuss your impressions.  You’ll be amazed at what other people catch that you miss, and vice versa.

Take way too long to make a decision

Three rounds of interviews, a working interview, and three weeks to get through the interview process does not appeal to candidates.  Unless this is a highly sought after job or the candidate is extremely desperate, you will lose a large majority of qualified employees due to your laborious procedure.  Offers need to be prepared and presented by the second interview, and the hiring process should not take more than four days.