5 Frequent Mistakes Made by an Untrained Interviewer

For decades, we have said that the number one most important step in controlling employee theft begins at the point of hire.

There’s nothing magical here!  Once the applicant has completed all of the required forms and you have conducted your detailed review of the application and forms, identified any gaps in employment or other questionable background indicators, it’s time for your face-to-face with the candidate. You might say that this is where “the rubber meets the road.” A good interview will go a long way in helping to prevent hiring the “bad apple.” Below are the five most frequently observed mistakes that an untrained interviewer makes:

  • Talking too much.

The most common error found was a tendency for the interviewer to dominate the conversation. (You want the applicant to do most of the talking so you can learn as much job-related information  as possible in order to make the best judgment on their suitability for the job.)

  • Interrupting.

Speaking and/or jumping to a conclusion before the applicant finishes providing information. (You want to let the applicant answer the questions in full and not jump to conclusions.  See above about not talking too much.)

  • Avoiding difficult questions.

Some interviewers simply won’t ask the ‘tough’ questions that can provide information necessary to properly evaluate the applicant. (Tough questions we are talking about would include Explain your gaps in employment; What would you do if you observed another employee stealing; What are your weaknesses; What is your greatest failure and what did you learn from it; etc.  Answers to these type questions will tell you what you need to know about the applicant.)

  • Asking leading questions.

Telling an applicant in advance what answers the interviewer is looking for.  (ie.”We are looking for aggressive sales people. Are you aggressive?”)

  • Inability to evaluate information.

Some interviewers fail to note not only what is said, but what the candidate does not say. Particularly when probing in areas of prior job references and performance. (The best interviewers are great listeners and can distinguish between what an applicant says and does not say. For example: When talking about gaps in employment – did the applicant really explain what they were doing during those time gaps or did they brush by it and talk about other items?)  $


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