[A]n interview is the perfect platform for getting to know your candidates. They come in with a copy of their resume, you proceed to ask them questions and determine whether they’re a fit for your company. It’s simple, right? Wrong! You’ll be surprised how many interviews quickly start off on the wrong foot. Here are five common mistakes an interviewer should avoid in an interview.
1. Know their Info
Preparation is key! So while the interview is designed to learn more about the applicant, it’s important to know the basics, whether it’s pronouncing their last name correctly or taking a quick look at their resume. Many interviewers make this common mistake. It happened during a job interview I had for a entry-level position at a public relations agency a couple of years ago. The interview started off with the two interviewers confused as to who I was. Turns out neither one of them had read my resume nor the small bio I was required to submit beforehand. They ended up scheduling a new interview for the week, but I never did go back. Their lack of preparation was definitely a turnoff.
2. Don’t be overbearing
An applicant is already trying their best not to show their nervousness, so don’t add to the tension by appearing unapproachable. One of the best interviews I had was for an internship in college. The interviewer, and in my case, the editor, had a reassuring attitude about her that eased all the pent-up nerves I had. This gave me the chance to really show her what I could do for the newspaper. Don’t be afraid to put in some casualness into the interview because if done correctly, you can better your chances of employing some great talent to your team.
3. Limit the unrelated work questions
It’s great to ask personal questions, but within reason. Here’s a rule of thumb you can use. Ask yourself whether the question you’re going to ask will give an insight as to how the applicant will interact with colleagues and in their work performance. If not, then don’t ask it. Recently, I had a phone interview with a woman who randomly asked me whether I believed in horoscopes. It took me several seconds to overcome my shock, but it made me wonder If I’d called the right office. By asking unrelated questions, you often risk the chance of limiting the pool of candidates. Stick to the important questions, at least for the first interview.
4. Don’t interrupt
This can be hard, especially if the applicant is nervously rambling on about their life story. But for the most part, you want to listen attentively and allow them the opportunity to finish answering your question. Another complain I had of the phone interview I previously mentioned was the numerous interruptions. I’d be asked a question and start to answer it, when all of a sudden I was asked another one. All the interruptions (more than a couple) kept me unfocused throughout the interview.
5. Manners matter!
One of the things some interviewers forget to do is greet the applicants at the beginning and say thank you at the end. Remember, tt takes a lot of time, energy, and preparation for the applicant to come to the interview, so make them feel like you appreciate their interest in your company. This can really start the interview on the right foot and encourage the applicant to give it their all.