I have been lucky to have the experience of working closely with a few HR professionals in my career – sharing space with HR heads as a member of the interview panel. The conversation that unfolds while hiring senior and middle level managers is sometimes classic cases of what not to do in human relations. The first few minutes into an interview follows a usual pattern. But inevitably it turns in to a duel of wits. The loser always in my opinion is the interviewer. Not because the interviewer concedes to the interviewee’s opinion (it seldom happens) but because the interviewer does not know how to interview, leaving the interviewee feeling miserable towards the end. The interviewee is disappointed with the interview, the interviewer and the organization. An opportunity to impress upon an individual the values that the organization stands for is lost. This propagates poor reputation about the company in the market that in turn results in difficulty in attracting candidates for interviews in the long run.
I have noticed 4 common mistakes that even seasoned interviewers commit:
- Interviewers conduct an interview unprepared. If you are not thorough with the process, profile and competencies, the chances of hiring the appropriate employee is remote.
- Interviewers ask the wrong questions. The resume of a candidate just gives the basic data to filter down the number of candidates applying. The real information that goes into the decision of hiring comes from the interviews. So when wrong questions are asked, you get wrong information and wrong information leads to wrong recruitment.
- Interviewers have the tendency to jump to conclusions. Interviewers tend to make up their mind about candidates within the first few minutes even before collecting the necessary information. This also leads to wrong hiring.
- Interviewers simply check off a list of job requirements. This generally happens while hiring for the frontline positions.
Good interviewers allow a two-way probe and assessment. This gives an avenue to understand how someone thinks and relates to others. Good interviewers are well prepared, ask pertinent questions, stay in the present without being overtly judgemental and are conscious of their own reactions. They take efforts to make the interviewee feel comfortable. They avoid clichéd questions like ‘tell me about yourself’ or ‘where do you see yourself 5 years from now’. Instead they ask creative questions like ‘describe what you felt when you were shortlisted’. Good interviewers employ sound interviewing techniques and clarify their perceptions with well-focused questions. And mostly importantly regardless of the fact that the candidate is being hired or not, the candidates exit the interview feeling respected and listened to. This results in a good impression about the organization, which will ensure that they will recommend it to others.
The next time you conduct an interview, remember that your company’s future success depends on the right people being hired. In this context, interviewing skills for managers is an absolute necessity.
MMM Training Solutions conducts Interviewing Skills Training, which will provide interview tips on framing effective questions, active listening and the displaying the appropriate soft skills, which will leave a favourable impression in the minds of the interviewees.