5 Things You Might Be Doing Wrong in Your Interview Process

A great interview gets you one step closer to finding the best candidate for your job. But do you have these 5 common interview problems?

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Fair Chance Hiring: What It Is and How to Follow It
Learn how to fix common interview problems and make better hires

The interview process is your opportunity to find out about candidates, and for them to find out about what you have to offer. It’s the start of a relationship, and you need to approach it the right way to uncover the best recruits and avoid driving away top candidates.

You can glean basic information about a candidate’s experience from their resume. In the interview, though, you’re trying to get inside their head and learn about how they apply that experience. A good job interview goes beyond the resume to assess growth potential.

Many employers don’t plan well for their interviews, and they’re less effective as a result. A strategic interview plan can help you find the best job candidates and make better hiring decisions. It also helps you avoid many interview problems that often derail the process.

5 common interview problems and how to fix them

So, what are the most common interview problems and how do you fix them? Here are our top 5 tips on how to conduct a good interview.

1. Lack of preparation

Most job candidates are excited to interview for a job they want. The best will spend time researching your company, thinking about what you’ll ask, and preparing great answers to your questions.

Too many interviewers don’t put in a similar level of preparedness. This sends a bad message at a critical time in the hiring process. It shows you don’t value the candidate’s time and may indicate your business is disorganized.

For example, the interview shouldn’t be the first time you are reviewing a resume. Spend a few minutes before the interview to scan the resume, learn a little bit about the candidate, and review the particulars about the job. If there were pre-hiring assessments, make sure you review those as well.

Maybe you’re busy or fatigued from multiple interviews, but showing you’ve done a bit of research demonstrates your interest and respect. It can also make a significant difference when you do find a strong candidate. A study by PwC revealed that nearly half of job seekers in high-demand industries in the U.S. turned down a job offer after a poor interview or recruiting experience.

A study by PwC revealed that nearly half of job seekers in high-demand industries in the U.S. turned down a job offer after a poor interview or recruiting experience.

2. Not using a structured interview process

Experienced interviewers often feel they can just wing it. They tell themselves they’ve done enough interviews over the years to know whether a candidate feels right for the job. It’s a mistake.

In most cases, a structured interview process is the best strategy, especially when you are interviewing multiple candidates. This provides you with a more accurate way to compare their answers.

While the conversation may naturally evolve unfold, a structured approach helps keep things fair and removes unintentional bias. It’s important, however, that you stick to the script and be consistent.

As part of the process, you should also use a consistent scoring system to rate the answers. Give more weight to more essential questions, but be careful to apply the metrics fairly. You’re not just checking boxes here; you are evaluating a candidate for their potential.

When you do impartial scoring, you might be surprised that your favorite candidate doesn’t always land in the top spot. It’s easy to get wowed by a candidate based on one answer and ignore other warning signs. Or you might reject a candidate based on one answer when they nail every other response. Independent scoring helps you make a more holistic hiring decision.

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3. Talking more than listening

When you want to sell a candidate on the benefits of working for your company, it’s easy to talk a lot — especially if you love your company and what it has to offer. The more you talk, however, the less you are listening. And the more talking you do, the more a job candidate can mold their answers to what they think you want to hear rather than what they actually think.

Talk less. Listen more.

A good rule of thumb is to apply the 80/20 rule. Limit your talking to about 20% of the time and let the candidate talk for 80% of the time.

A good rule of thumb is to apply the 80/20 rule. Limit your talking to about 20% of the time and let the candidate talk for 80% of the time.

4. Asking yes-or-no questions

Asking yes-or-no questions won’t get you the answers you need. Use open-ended questions that force candidates to put some thought into their responses. Open-ended questions allow job candidates to answer in as much detail as they like. You’ll often uncover significant information to help you make a better decision.

Sample questions that can help you get to know candidates better might include:

  • Tell me about your biggest on-the-job mistake and what you learned from it.
  • Can you give me an example of how you had to overcome a significant work challenge and how you did it?
  • When I call your former boss, what will they tell me is an area where you need to improve?

You can see more great open-ended questions in our blog post: “Which Interview Questions Really Work?

5. Asking inappropriate questions

A surprising number of interviewers still ask inappropriate questions. Some are discriminatory and may even be illegal, such as asking about a candidate’s age, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or marital status. In some states, you are also not allowed to ask about salary history.

Anyone conducting interviews for a job opening should be trained on what questions not to ask to keep companies safe from claims of discrimination.

Besides complying with equal opportunity laws, asking inappropriate questions (even if legal) is a problem for candidates. A survey by the American Staffing Association found inappropriate interview questions were the number one deal-breaker that kept candidates from accepting a job.

Getting interviews right in 2022

The job market has changed dramatically over the past 2 years. Employer needs and employee wants have evolved. In a tight labor market, you need to make sure your recruiting and interview strategies align with these changes.

Learn more by reading our blog post: “6 Interview Questions You Must Ask in 2022.”

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