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Don't make these everyday mistakes when you`re interviewing

By Sophie Butler on 18 May 2016


Don’t make these everyday mistakes when you’re interviewing

Recruiting can be a lengthy and expensive process and more so when you hire the wrong person, which can also have a negative effect on team morale. The interview process is probably the most crucial part and where many employers can make mistakes.

Here are some common hiring mistakes employers make and how to avoid them.


Rushing into the recruitment process

When hiring a new employee for your team, it is important to prepare, this starts with the job description and profile. Often managers will want to hire quickly, as there may be an urgent need in the team or member of staff leaving shortly, so will quickly put together a job description or copy the old one, without reviewing the role and thinking about what the team really needs in terms of additional skills & experience.

Take time to think about what would really benefit your team. Come up with your ‘wishlist’ of skills, qualifications, experience and interests for your ideal candidate so you are able to rank them in importance. It is unlikely you will get a candidate that will tick all your requirements. This will then form the basis for your interview questions.

Failing to prepare for the interview

You have your candidates lined up for interview, you have ranked your requirements, but have you thought about the interview process? How will you really measure a candidate’s capability? Relying on stock interview questions, such as “What are your strengths?”, is a common mistake. All candidates have been asked these questions before and prepared their perfect answer.

Go through your key requirements and put together questions that will determine if they have the key skills. Competency based questions can be very useful, alongside the odd curveball interview question. These type of questions require the candidate to use examples to justify their claims.


Only relying on one interview

Candidates can often be nervous in an interview and not perform their best. The interview may only last 30-40 minutes and there is only so much you can find out about that person in that one interview.  Consider the following additional ways to judge a candidates potential:

  • Perform a presentation or written task. These can show a lot about a candidate and allow you to get an insight into how they may deal with actual tasks they might experience on a day to day basis.
  • Meet the team.  Allow the team time to ask questions, ensuring these are different to the interview. (Do not bombard with too many questions.)
  • Psychometric testing, this can tell you a lot about how someone would fit into your current team and culture.

Failing to sell your organisation

Candidates will have researched a lot about your organisation before the interview, but this is your time to get them excited about the work your organisation is doing, environment and the opportunities available. Good candidates are often snapped up quickly, so you want them to leave the interview wanting to work for your organisation. This is particularly important for hard-to-fill roles.

A survey by Harris Interactive for Glassdoor found that more than two-thirds of employers believe retention rates would be higher if candidates had a clearer picture of what to expect about working at the company before taking the job.  Allow time for them to ask you questions at the end of the interview, this gives you time to really tell them about what it’s like at your organisation and can also tell you a lot about them, by the questions they ask.

Failing to follow up with candidates

Many employers tell the candidate they will be in touch within a time period, then fail to follow up with anyone unsuccessful. Be honest about your timescales and ensure you get back to each candidate you interviewed, when you say you will. Your preferred candidate may not work out and you may have had a second equally good candidate, but if you didn’t get back to them, they are likely to have been left with a negative view of your organisation. If you are unable to come to a decision when you said you would, update them with the situation, so you don’t risk losing them.

Equally ask the candidate at the end of the interview if they are still interested in the role and ensure you have gathered all information on notice periods, salary expectations. If you are using a recruitment consultancy like TPP, we take detailed feedback from our candidates after the interview and will pass all this information onto you.

If you would like further practical interview advice, view the recruitment advice section of our website or contact one of our consultants on 020 7198 6000 who will be more than happy to help you. TPP also offer clients added services, such as attending interviews or the use of our office space; contact us to find out more.