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As a software and AI company whose interview intelligence software supports recruitment teams, HR, and hiring managers, one of the biggest questions we get is, “How to interview someone to get the best results?" What they're really asking is what's the "magic sauce?" The perfect set of interview questions and answers to get the best people every time... and you know what? It doesn't exist. There is no "perfect" set of interview questions to ask that will guarantee that you get the best candidate every time.
However, there are some common mistakes that interviewers make when interviewing candidates and if these can be avoided, it will help to produce better quality hires for your organization. In this article, we'll share the most common mistakes made by interviewers and how you can avoid them during your next hiring process.
Before we get into those (in the next section if you're impatient), it's important to bear in mind the purpose of an interview. It's not just about interviewing someone to find out if they're a good fit for your organization, but whether or not they'll be successful in their role. The best way to achieve this is by having an effective interviewing strategy that focuses on understanding behaviors and motivations rather than simply technical skills alone.
We're all looking to build an incredible team, one that's productive, diverse, innovative, and hard-working. That's why it's important to understand the key metrics required to build that team. First, don't look for the perfect candidate. I can almost guarantee you there isn't one out there. Every once in a while we see a resume that absolutely blows us away, and we think, "That's the perfect person for the job..." but by the time we get to the interview, we usually don't feel the same way.
It's kind of like meeting your heroes. The pressure is on and it's very easy to get caught up in the details and forget about assessing their behaviors, attitude, motivation, and cultural fit. That's why, whilst technical skills are important to consider when interviewing potential candidates, it's also essential that you assess the soft skills too.
Look for the candidate with the most hunger, someone with a proven track record of actual success in the exact role you need them to perform, and someone who will fit in with your company culture and team. That's the only way you can guarantee that you're making the best hire for your organization.
Now that you know why interviews are so important, let's dive into some common mistakes interviewers make when conducting them.
As humans, it's against our nature to admit that were fallible. We all make mistakes. However, interviewer mistakes will affect your company and someone's livelihood, so there's a lot riding on it. That's why avoiding common interview mistakes is so important.
Common Interview Mistakes and How to Avoid Them:
One of the most common interview mistakes made by the interviewer is failing to have an agenda for the interview- either in your interview intelligence software or written down- and sticking to it throughout the process. This means that you're able to ensure that you ask all necessary questions and cover all topics relevant to the role in detail.
Another, common interviewer mistake (which goes hand-in-hand with not having an agenda to follow) is "going with your gut." Whilst it can be tempting to make a decision about a potential hire based on your first impression of them, it's important that don't let emotion or personal opinion sway you. Creating an objective hiring process including interview questions and answers that are asked of every single candidate for the role is necessary to remove bias from the process. Once you've asked the questions, listen to the answers given carefully and allow the interview process to provide adequate evidence to back up any decisions you make.
It's also important not to pass judgment too quickly by making assumptions about someone based on their appearance, background, or any other superficial matters. An interview is an opportunity for both the interviewer and candidate to get to know each other better, and this includes getting past surface-level information into what truly makes up the candidate's character.
Another common interview mistake made by an interviewer is not preparing for the interview. I remember coming into a video interview with a company and the person I was interviewing with was 7 minutes late, had the wrong resume in front of them, and was distracted and scrambling for half the interview to get their hands on the right information to properly assess my skills for the role.
This happened again when I met with the team to do a panel interview. The Director I would be reporting to was 10 minutes late and apologized profusely saying that it was always crazy around there, everyone was behind schedule and their clients were demanding and didn't allow them to take any time off...
Needless to say, I turned the job down when it was offered to me.
Note that how you look, speak, articulate the role, whether you show up on time or not - all of these things have huge implications for your candidates. Candidates who are aware and paying attention to these details will see if you're stressed, underwater, or have a team that's short on bandwidth, and they will begin to ask themselves whether or not they want to be a part of a company that makes people feel this way.
To avoid this, ensure that you have your interview agenda and all relevant information ready beforehand. Prepare, prepare, prepare- give yourself enough time to go over the candidate's resume, ensure they are greeted on time (or at least warned ahead of schedule if you're running a few minutes late) and make sure everyone involved in the hiring process is aware of their obligations and role.
These are definitely intangibles, but they're still interviewing mistakes to avoid if you want to build a great team. Now let's dive into some tips for a successful interview:
On the flip side, let's talk about how to ensure that you ace the interview itself. Here are some tips for a successful interview:
1. Listen carefully and take notes throughout the conversation- this shows your candidate that you're paying attention to their answers and taking them into account when assessing their fit for the role.
2. Ask questions that are semi-structured, open-ended, and relevant to the role- whilst it can be tempting to ask theoretical questions, it's important to focus on the specifics of what the role entails and ensure that your candidate has an understanding of exactly what's expected of them if they were selected for the job.
3. Give the candidate an opportunity to ask questions of their own- this allows your candidate to get a better understanding of the role and organization, and it also provides you with insight into what they are really looking for in terms of career growth.
4. Make sure you have a good sense of how well the candidate fits within your team dynamic- if there's any indication that certain team members may not gel with a potential hire, it's best to address this directly and make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Using these tips can help ensure you make the right decision when interviewing candidates- no more common interview mistakes! Keep in mind that the interview process is always changing, so you should regularly assess and adjust your processes accordingly. Using Pillar can also give you a competitive advantage. Our interview intelligence software is powered by Ai and designed to automate many of the functions pre, during, and post-interview to save you time and resources.
What is the Halo effect in an interview, and why is it one of the most common mistakes interviewers make? The halo effect is a cognitive bias that causes people to judge others based on one trait, usually a positive one. This can have a major impact on the outcome of an interview, as it means that an interviewer's opinion of the candidate may be overly influenced by something like their physical appearance or other superficial qualities. In other words, it is when we make assumptions about someone's overall character based on one single trait.
Halo effect examples could like a potential candidate arriving for an interview and dressed in a very professional manner. The interviewer may be so impressed with their clothing that they overlook more important factors that should have been taken into consideration during the process, such as experience or qualifications. This kind of bias can lead to candidates being given preferential treatment over others who are more suitable for the role.
As an interviewer, it's important to stay open-minded throughout the process and to judge each candidate on their own merit. It's also important to ask questions that are relevant to the position in order to get a clear understanding of each individual's qualifications, skill set, and overall suitability for the job. This will give you the best chance of selecting the right person for the role.
Following these tips and avoiding common mistakes made by interviewers can ensure that your hiring process is fair and impartial and that you choose the candidate who's truly best suited for the position. This will not only benefit your organization but also create a better experience for all those involved.
To see how Pillar can help you hire better, schedule your demo today!