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3 Mistakes Hiring Managers Make When Interviewing Candidates

If a hiring manager is hoping to acquire top talent, it's important not to make critical mistakes while interviewing candidates, although we’re seeing this happen time and time again. The interview process puts a great deal of emphasis and expectation on the job seeker. But, we rarely consider standards for hiring managers, and we need to.

With current low employment rates, the power dynamic between hiring managers and job seekers are shifting, where the candidate now has the upper hand, forgoing the need to settle for just any position.

As candidates become more discerning in their job search, it’s more imperative than ever that hiring managers bring their A-game and avoid these common mistakes. 

#1 Not Behaving Professionally

Often the first point of contact with the candidate, the hiring manager represents the company. Between brand identity and aiming to secure qualified candidates, professionalism is key.

  • Arriving late. If your candidate gives you the courtesy of arriving on time, pay them the same respect. Sauntering in at your convenience is a nonverbal proclamation that their time is not as important as yours.
  • Losing focus. If a candidate doesn’t stick out to you right off the bat, it’s easy to become distracted. Showing apparent disinterest is an excellent way to watch your candidate jump out of the job pool. Keep the cellphone away and the yawns at bay.
  •  Failing to communicate/follow-up. Don’t leave your candidate hanging. If the candidate is interviewing with you, they’re likely interviewing elsewhere, which means a candid approach is your best bet to keep your job seeker engaged. Be open about your timeline, follow-up accordingly, and clearly communicate expectations.
  • Ghosting the candidate. If the candidate loses interest in the opportunity, and respectfully declines a job offer, respond with respect. A big mistake? Ghosting the candidate. No response is a response, and it’s a quick and easy way to tarnish your company’s reputation. Respond thoughtfully and respectfully even to rejection.

 #2 Not Having an Interview Strategy

Without a thoughtful interview process, you are more likely to choose the wrong candidate or let the right one slip away. 

  • Asking different questions. Initiate your interview process with a strategic game plan. Ask the same set of questions to each candidate. Off-the-cuff interview inquiries can lead to an unfair candidate comparison.
  • Dragging out the interview process. Good things take time, but top candidates won’t last long in the job pool. Ensure open communication and timeline intentions upfront. And when your company knows the candidate is not a good fit, don’t string them along.
  • Being inflexible with candidates. Most job seekers have to balance the day-to-day workload of an existing career with resume-updating, job searching, and interview-scheduling. Your flexibility as a hiring manager shows candidates a level of understanding that will leave you and your company in a positive light.
  • Failing to check references. Don’t rely on your experience alone. The interview process only gives a quick glimpse into the candidate’s character and capabilities. Get the opinion of others. Check-in with each reference, ask telling questions, and consider their take.

#3 Not Keeping an Open Mind

There are many factors that can influence judgment - life experiences, culture, socioeconomic background, etc. But, if you aren’t careful, those factors can skew your approach to interviewing and your opinions of candidates. Best to keep an open mind.

  • Ignoring unconscious bias. Every person has preconceived opinions born from their personal experiences. That’s natural. But, if you aren’t aware of how they impact your decision-making, they can lead to poor or unfair talent management practices. Take time to learn about unconscious bias in the workplace and work toward greater self-awareness. And follow an interview process that helps to mitigate bias: Begin with a phone interview, include other team members in the process, and standardize interview questions.
  • Judging too quickly. “Trusting your gut” has its time and place, but the hiring process is not one. Gut instincts are heavily based on your perception of the candidate and far less on the data, like their skill set and capabilities. Go with the facts.
  • Overemphasizing cultural fit. The priority emphasis on hiring for “cultural fit” is increasing, leading to culturally homogenous workforce groups. Rather than searching for candidates that mesh well with the existing team, assess fit based on the candidate’s alignment with the company’s core values.
  • Failing to balance attitude vs. aptitude. A positive demeanor won’t make an individual better at their job, but programs and processes can be taught. Without placing precedence over one or the other, keep an open mind to find a candidate that strikes a healthy balance of both.
  • Seeing credentials, not potential. Like attitude, you’ll have a hard time teaching tenacity. A resume matters, but don’t get starry-eyed over a long list of accolades and turn a blind eye toward the candidate’s willingness to learn and success potential.

With new hiring trends and competition to secure top-level talent, it's critical hiring managers bring the same level of professionalism to the job interview process as expected from the candidate, and avoid these common hiring mistakes.

To learn more about how FrankCrum Staffing can assist you with recruitment, call 888-670-1844.

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