#14 – The Interview – Avoiding common mistakes

How to avoid common interview mistakes

How to avoid common interview mistakes

In prior articles, we described the role of recruiters and how to choose them.  So what do you do when they start to give you candidates?

You must now complete the appropriate screening processes as also described in our earlier blog entry:

  1. Complete a personality profile
  2. Conduct interview(s) of the candidate(s)
  3. Complete reference checks

This entry will begin the discussion on how to conduct an effective interview and how to avoid common mistakes made by many inexperienced interviewers.

It’s always good to start at the beginning.  In this case, the beginning is understanding the objectives of an interview.  The objectives are:

  1.  To gain a good understanding as to who the candidate is in relation to their:
    1. Level of self-motivation (i.e. takes the initiative), ability to self-manage, and ability to problem solve
    2. Fit with desired corporate culture
    3. Emotional intelligence

(The recruiters should have already checked out and confirmed their education, training, skills, and experience.)

  1. To obtain names of people, not already on their list, who would be good references.
  2. To ensure that the candidatehas a good understanding of what your organization is all about (its opportunities, challenges, values, culture, etc.).
  3. On occasion, when it appears that the candidate is not a good fit, to gain the names of other people they know who might be good candidates.

Many inexperienced interviewers view an interview as an inconvenience and/or only as an opportunity to “sell” the position. When viewed as an inconvenience, the interviewer rarely takes the time to get to know the candidate. In the case of an interviewer “selling” the position,  they do all the talking about themselves and their organization but very little questioning of OR LISTENING TO the candidate. For both cases, there is usually too great of a reliance on the recruiters to have done due diligence. This is a BIG MISTAKE and one that is commonly made by many senior leaders.

People are hired for what they appear to have done and are usually fired for who they are. Accordingly, the most important objective of the screening activities (including the interview) is to attempt to find out who the candidate is.

In order to do this make a simple change – instead of using the interview to sell the position to the candidate take the approach (in a respectful manner) that the candidate needs to prove to you that he or she deserves the position. In doing so your entire approach will change.   Become more of a detective in my questioning of and listening to the candidate.  Bring a constructive (and respectful) skepticism to the answers given by the candidate.  We asked the candidate for examples of what they were saying about themselves and people who could substantiate their assertions.  Probe further at things that do not make total sense to you.  Always remember that he who asks the questions controls the interview. 

In the next entry  we will provide details regarding how to conduct this sort of interview.

Should you have any questions or feedback regarding the content of this article please email us at Terry Thompson at tesh@shaw.ca  or  Jason Kipps jasonkipps@gmail.com ©