Recruiting new staff can be a challenge for any HR professional to embark on. You could be looking to recruit a number of people at once over a few months or looking to fill a position that has just opened up. When you post a job advert you may receive a high volume of applications. Once you have shortlisted candidates, you will need to prepare yourself in starting the interview process. A candidate may look great on paper but not so great at interviews. In order to conduct an effective interviewing process it is important to have clear goals in mind and know exactly what you want to get out of each interview. In order to do this you will need to start by avoiding these interviewing blunders.

1.     Don’t start interviewing without a thought-out plan

Interviewing an array of candidates takes a lot of effort and can be really time-consuming. When choosing applicants to interview, it is often the norm to only interview those who have a cracking CV. However this could be damaging to your recruitment process. Try to consider a larger set of candidates to determine what skills are available to your business. When conducting interviews, have a plan to follow. Within this plan ensure you have ways to find out their skills, experiences and how they could benefit your business. Study their CV to come up with questions to ask for each candidate that is related to their skills and experiences.

2.     Don’t just ask questions about their past experiences

When interviewing, recruiters tend to focus on the candidate’s past experiences. Though this is both important and beneficial, you should also ask future-based questions. This could be questions such as “Can you give three ideas on how to make our company more successful within five years?” or “Where would you see yourself at our company within then next three years?”. These questions can help you see how they position themselves within your business and how well they researched your company. If they have invested a lot of time researching then it will show you how interested they are in the job.

3.     Don’t forget to plan and prepare questions

Make sure you have prepared a set of questions to ask every candidate for every position. This is important as you can study and note how each candidate responds to each candidate and then compare him or her. This is very useful method if there are a few recruiters interviewing candidates. You could prepare behavioural questions to ask to see how each candidate tackles challenges they are faced with. You could note how they respond, what they would do and if they would do anything differently. By doing this you gain greater insights into each candidate and see how they think on the spot.

4.     Don’t primarily focus on what candidates say

You sometimes get the honest answer through a candidates body language, rather than what they verbally tell you.  Note down how they answer questions, their body language, and their tone and how they maintain eye contact. Furthermore, make notes on if they were punctual or late, if they were dressed smartly or didn’t appear to make an effort. By doing this you can find out what their general feeling towards the position is. You can note if they seem genuinely interested in the job or if they are just looking for a ‘job’.

5.     Don’t schedule interviews in one after another

It is very likely that you will try to conduct a number of interviews in a day. If you are going to do this then make sure you give yourself enough time to take breaks to refuel. Have enough time to evaluate each interview effectively to determine who you would like to see again. Have mini breaks between each interview to rest and to ensure you don’t run over scheduled interviewing slots. You could reflect on how the morning interviews went and if you want to change anything for the afternoon interviews. By allowing yourself breaks you give yourself the chance to focus on each interview. This is important in making sure you give every candidate a fair chance than is bias free.

6.     Don’t interview candidates alone

When interviewing candidates yourself, it can be tough to eliminate any biasness. It is only you seeing that candidate so the decision will primarily be yours. However, when interviewing you may not notice something another person might pick up on. It is a lot of pressure and responsibility to pick up on everything a candidate says and does during an interview. With this is mind; it may be worthwhile to have more than one person involved in the interviewing process. As the saying goes “two heads are better than one” and opinions from others could help you gain new perspectives. You should also take time to discuss each candidate after and decide together if they are appropriate for this position. By doing this you will eliminate the risk of recruiting a candidate who is not suitable for the position.

7.     Forgetting unsuccessful interviewees

When an interview has gone extremely well and you have found your ideal candidate, it is vital to not forget your other candidates.  They took the time to search for your job, apply for it, prepare and go to the interview; the least you could do is let them know where they stand. Regardless of whether the interview went well or not, you should always be courteous and thank them for their time. In order to keep track of candidates, you should set up a standard system to refer to. In the system you should have their contact details and why they weren’t successful. That way when you call a number of candidates, you know exactly whom you are speaking with. By doing this, you will show them that you appreciate their time and effort.

Though interviewing can be a time-consuming process, it is so important to ensure you do each one right. Having a plan, writing concise notes and evaluating each one to determine who’s application to further is significant in each interview. By avoiding these five mistakes you can help ensure that you interview each candidate fairly and effectively so you hire the best for your business.

What mistakes have you made when interviewing candidates? Please leave your comment below:

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