05 Feb 2020

2 Common Interview Mistakes


#1  Interview bias

Interview bias is something that happens frequently and could be hurting your chances of making a great hire. 

So what is interview bias? It's when you look at a resume and notice something that makes you question the candidate's viability. For instance, maybe it's a short job tenure. Or perhaps they work for a company that you don't respect.  You assume since the candidate works for a "bad" company, they're not a great candidate. Or maybe you think they're too junior or senior based on how long they've been in the workforce.

That's what happens when you have an interview bias.  If you have a negative bias, you start the interview by trying to confirm that the candidate is not a good fit. You're not open-minded, and as a result, you're asking questions to verify your belief. If you came home every night and looked for the negatives in your spouse or kids, you would have plenty to complain about.  On the other hand, if you tried to find the positives, you would have plenty to be grateful for.

The exact opposite could happen as well... you could have a positive interview bias. Assume you're interviewing a candidate who has worked for a company you admire. You think they should be a great candidate because they work for a great company. So in this situation, you start asking overly optimistic questions, leading the candidate down the path to confirming positive bias.  Since you are looking for good, you will find it.

Negative and positive interview bias can skew your interview and result in hiring the wrong person.

How do you avoid interview bias?  In Lou Adler's book, he discusses methods to prevent interview bias.  The one point that stood out to me was to make sure in the first 30 minutes that you're aware that you may have interview bias.  Just being informed will help you ask more appropriate questions.


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#2  Expecting candidates to be sold on your position early in the process

Many hiring managers eliminate candidates after the first phone because they are not knowledgeable about their company's products. Please keep in mind that passive candidates typically have jobs and work 60 hours a week. They don't have much extra time to become an expert in your company.

 A candidate should have a basic understanding of your company if they've agreed to a telephone conversation.  Just be aware this is a candidate-driven market, and you should be more flexible and not quick to eliminate potential top-tier candidates. In 2008 when they were not enough jobs for everybody, candidates were more likely to have the time and the desire to spend a lot of time preparing for the first phone interview.

The first interview should be an exchange of information between the hiring manager and the candidate. The hiring manager should take the opportunity to sell the candidate to the company.  If the candidate seems interested, then the hiring manager can start probing to determine if the candidate is a good fit.

If you are moving the candidate forward, then the candidate should be thoroughly prepared for subsequent interviews. 

In summary, there is a candidate shortage, so interviewers need to be careful not to eliminate viable candidates. Hiring managers, talent acquisition specialists, and recruiters must be more open-minded when interviewing.

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