Previously,  we have highlighted some of the numerous common hiring mistakes that are still happening in organisations today. A 2018 survey indicated that 47% of Interviewers had had no formal training on how to interview! We genuinely think it's much higher than this.

We are on a mission here at Lucy Walker Recruitment to help organisations understand where the process is going wrong and critically how to fix it. If you don't know how to Interview, you are at real risk of not finding the right candidates to power your organisational growth.

Previously we have shared 5 classic mistakes here and today want to talk about the interview skills of hiring managers and how this can create poor decision making leading to poor retention rates and increased costs to hire. A situation all businesses are striving to avoid.

So, here are a few pointers for you.


Your Interviewing Skills 

When it comes to improving interview skills, the focus is often on developing potential new hires interview capability rather than honing those of the interview panel or hiring manager. Why? We aren't sure but this seems to be the way.

They are powerful ‘things’ as Indira Gandhi the legendary Indian stateswoman said....

"The Power to Question is the basis of all human progress." 

At LWR we religiously ask every person we interact with, be that candidates or clients, a multitude of questions so we have detailed information to enable us to do an exceptional job for them.  

Why? It’s the only way to gain an understanding and assess who will be a fit and a match for each other. 

Considering what we have said so far how, as a hiring manager,  can you improve your interview techniques? Do you have a set structure? Do you use Interview scorecards?



Recruitment Planning

The best questions rarely happen when you are unprepared. Planning questions and the flow of the interview ahead of time is absolutely pivotal to a great outcome.  

It’s not uncommon for candidates who come to us here at LWR , having worked with other agencies, to tell us about hiring managers who hadn’t even looked at their CV properly and were asking (strange) questions that were unrelated to the role in question. 

FACT: Candidates should all be asked similar questions in order to gain consistency.  These must be related to the core skills and competencies critical to the role.This then enables a fair and accurate comparison. 


Beware Surface Judgements 

Surface judgements are easy to make in any situation and we are all guilty of this aren't we?

However they can be particularly dangerous for interviewing managers.

Don’t decide on a new employee either positively or negatively based on surface attributes like your candidate’s mannerisms, their interest in a particular sport or sporting team or your shared experiences or friendships . Sounds daft but it happens ,often without realising !  I mean if you were a die hard Man Utd fan would you question the validity of a Liverpool season ticket holder sat in the other chair further if you had another nagging concern? 

Man Utd and Liverpool

Remember why the person is infront of you!

Instead, think carefully about your ideal candidate, and search for the skills, knowledge and attitude criteria you had previously set to ensure you’re picking the right talent for your team. 


Don't Adopt a "They Are Like Me" Mindset  


like minded


This is another easy mistake to fall foul of in the interview "arena". Though it might be nice to work with  a number of people like you, the question is, do they have the skills and capabilities that the role in question requires?  They may be lovely or humorous but can they do the job?

Imagine if you are a  life and soul of the party type of person and yet you are hiring an attention to detail, thorough analytical ? Do you think someone like you could deliver? Be honest ? Unlikely isn’t it; be warned.  Consider the use of behaviourial techniques and assessments to help which we advocate and use within our engage offering to Clients.


Use Open and Closed Questions 

Yes No

As a general rule, you want the candidate to tell you about their successes and demonstrate the value they can add to your organisation. 

In order to do this, you don’t want to ask questions where one-word  Yes /No answers would be normal responses. 

Who, What, Why Where and When and Tell me questions open up the conversation. These are questions that encourage interaction and help you get the best from the candidate. 

Ideally, use a competency-based interview where specific questions are asked to uncover the skills and abilities that link to the must-have qualities of the role you are recruiting for. 


Don't Ask Leading Questions


Leading on from the open and closed questions scenario it's all too easy to ask leading questions.

 As the name implies, this involves a question where you guide a candidate to the answer.

Not a great technique when the goal is to gain awareness and insight rather than validate what you think might have happened. 

As an example, let's say you are asking questions about a project the candidate was involved in. A leading question might sound something like; 

“So, Andrew, the reason why you took the lead was that you were tired of waiting for your colleagues? 

This is a classic leading question,instead, ask; 

“What made you take the initiative, Andrew?” 

For instance, Andrew may have had no patience, wasn't a team player and steamrolled people etc., which you wouldn't know if you didn't ask a more open version of the question.  

The thing is taking the initiative looks good but what was the behaviour driving them to do it? It might be something that doesn’t fit with your organisation. 


Always Validate The Data:


Remember ...Successful Interviews Are A Process 

It’s all too easy to be swayed by that friendly enthusiastic face in front of you. Especially if the CV on the surface ticks a number of boxes. 

 data analysis



The data that you can now access about candidates through profiling tools can help you make an informed decision based on the years and years of research about peoples styles and traits that can now be analysed. Look at the data and evidence before your gut reaction. 


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Don't Over Or Undersell The Role: 

goldilocks principle

This is known as the Goldilocks Principle as I'm sure you will all remember the famous children's tale where Goldilocks preferred her porridge to be just right rather than too hot or too cold. The same applies here.

Whilst in a candidate driven market that many commercial companies currently operate within; it’s imperative to ‘sell’ both your business and the role there is a fine line between this and misrepresentation.. 

Though we all want great hires to join our teams – that doesn’t mean that you should convince them the position is more than it really is.

Being honest and open with your candidates is crucial when you’re starting a new professional relationship. If you oversell the role available, then you could end up with an employee that leaves very quickly when reality doesn’t meet the expectation you have set. 


Download the Hiring Checklist


What Next? 

Here at Lucy Walker Recruitment, we have been helping our clients hone their interview skills for over 27 years. 

Would you like our help? Call one of our experienced consultants in Leeds on 0113 367 2880 send an email here or schedule a call with the link below

Schedule a Call

Why not check out our Client Video here as well



About the Author: Lucy Walker

Lucy Walker is the founder and Managing Director at Lucy Walker Recruitment.Lucy has an extensive knowledge of the issues and workings of the West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester Commercial markets developed over 25 years in the profession