common mistakes 2

Most Interviewers interview infrequently, don't know how to interview and are not particularly comfortable with interviewing in our experience, so it's no surprise this results in many mistakes being made in the interview process which ultimately could be avoided. Our article points out the major ones being made.

1. Being unprepared


Failing to prepare

As the old adage goes..'Failing to prepare is preparing to fail' and this is very true with the Interview process for Interviewers and Interviewees

Thinking you can just turn up unprepared, even turn up late whilst wishing you were somewhere else is a fatal error in the interview process. The applicants will read these signals that you are either uninterested or that your company is disorganised.

Not spending 10 minutes reading their CV in advance  of the meeting, dedicating that time so you know whats on the CV in advance and which areas you want to probe is unfortunately all too common.

By failing to acknowledge and show respect for qualifications and achievement to date is both disrespectful and will ultimately lead to you asking irrelevant questions and wont create a good impression.

2. Talking not listening


Speak less listen more

We are aware of interviewers who simply talk at applicants, simply asking at the end of their pitch whether the candidate has any questions. Hardly conducive to a good interview.

You should look at the candidate talking 80% of the time. Ask them open questions, avoid interrupting them, don’t finish their answers for them and give them time to ask questions and probe their own concerns as to whether this opportunity is the right one for them.

3. Asking questions about the future rather than the past

Focusing questions on the future rather than the past is a common interviewing error.

Don’t ask the applicant if they would be prepared to do something in the role if successful, they're going to say yes after all because they want the job! Instead ask them to demonstrate occasions with examples which show they have done something.

Remember at this stage, past experience and history of achievement is your best indicator of future performance. 

4. Failing to dig deep

Don't take answers at face value. If an applicant tells you they implemented a new system don't just accept this.

Dig deep, find out exactly why a new system was necessary, what the problem was, whether they led the project themselves, who else was involved, how they went about it, what setbacks they encountered along the way and how they went about resolving them. Asking open ended accomplishment orientated questions to allow the candidate to prove their expertise  can also help to uncover inconsistencies or incorrect statements on their CV's.

Why not ask about our Interview packs for more on this.




5. Overselling the position or the Company

Although your employer branding if done correctly will have assisted you in the talent attraction process and getting the applicants in front of you now, many can now get caught up in making false promises and overselling either the role or the company. Yes, sell the company in the best possible light but this should be done carefully.

With respect to the role again, give an accurate reflection of it . Hopefully the job description will be accurate and you will have highlighted the 6-8 key achievements which show the candidate how they will be successful in the role but don’t tell them the position is something it isn’t as this will become all too readily apparent when they start and lead to post employment and staff retention issues down the line.


6. Allow themselves to be influenced by the Halo effect


Halo Effect-1

This is where you allow your unconscious bias to be so swayed by a particular trait or experience of the applicant which results in your opinion being swayed.

Confidence, warmth, good communication skills and similar hobbies may impress but won't tell if you if that candidate  has the capability to produce the desired results so don't let them influence your decision.


7. Not having a standardised approach to Interviews

Your Interviews should have predominantly scripted questions which are asked to all candidates with maybe a few additional issues asked dependent on any skills or behavioural testing which you incorporate into the hiring process. Everyone in the process needs to know the critical screening criteria.

This is best done by an Interview Scorecard which requires all  Interviewers to grade and score the candidates based on set factors with the scoring closely guiding  by what each level means.

This then provides a total comparative score for each candidate, hopefully eliminating bias.


8. Poor Communication.

This can occur in two ways, firstly with the applicants and failing to advise them of  the process and timescales for any future interviews that may be held and secondly also for communication between Interviewers within the organisation.

If the Interviewers are unclear on the criteria for the successful candidate and the process as per point 7 is unstructured the chances of an applicant either being wrongly pointed or their suitability for the role missed, increases significantly.


9. Going on 'Gut feel'


gut feeling


We've all heard of the Interviewer who always goes on gut feels and says they just knows if someone is right without the need for detailed or considered processes. Statistics say you don’t and this at best only works at best 50% of the time.

Clearly this intuitive stance may help some individuals but not to the exclusion of an effective screening process.

10. Not showing rapport

We are aware that many interviewers don't interview frequently, don't feel qualified to do it and don't feel comfortable doing it. They only only do it  they have to essentially. This tension can inevitably lead to interviewer doing nothing to establish rapport or make the candidate feel at ease because of their own discomfort.

However failing to  to show a genuine interest in the applicants, respect their qualifications or creating a welcoming environment is extremely short sighted. After all you want the person to want to work with you , your team and your Company don't you?


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About the Author: Mark Woffenden

Mark Woffenden is a Director at Lucy Walker Recruitment and has an extensive knowledge of the issues and workings of the West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester Commercial markets developed over the last 20 years in the Industry

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