EFFECTIVE INTERVIEWING

In-depth interviews are decisive for the interviewer and the interviewee in understanding what the job requires and what the employee has to offer. Don’t make the mistake of not selling the position to an applicant by neglecting these 10 common errors.

1.  Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions.

If you uncover anything during the reference checking or employment history review process that warrants tough questions, do not be afraid to ask about it during the interview. It is important that you begin your relationship with a new hire on a frank basis.

2.  Don’t oversell your company.

Interviewers make mistakes by bragging about how things are booming, while not giving specifics to back up claims. He follows this up with a pat statement like “Since the company was founded a little over a decade ago, we’ve been on the right path and that road is now smoother than ever.” An adept interviewer will lay out the strengths and weaknesses of the firm, putting them in perspective. Do not paint an unrealistic picture of your company in order to lure an applicant on board.

3.  Don’t ask for information you already have.

Interviewers ask, “Why don’t you tell me about yourself? Let’s see, how long ago did you start your current position?” This shows a lack of interest in the candidate since this information was obtained earlier. The interview should be used to obtain new information or to confirm or reject tentative information already acquired.

4.  Don’t allow yourself to be interrupted unless there is an emergency.

The interview is sometimes interrupted twice, first by a salesperson sticking his head in the door and then by a telephone call. Too many interviewers allow the interview to become disjointed by not taking steps to prevent interruptions. Your office door should be closed. Put calls and messages on hold.

5.  Don’t talk too much.

Interviewers tell applicants, “Well, I’m sure you have a lot of questions about the company and the job. Let me try to anticipate some of them for you.” This is a classic case of an interviewer who loves to hear his own voice. At the most, an interviewer should say one word for every four spoken by the person being interviewed.

6.  Don’t use the interview as your therapy.

Too many interviewers use their sessions to spout out their concerns about the company. When an interviewer vents emotions in an interview, he or she may feel better, but may lose a prospective employee in the bargain.

7.  Don’t be afraid to spell out in detail the requirements of the position.

When one applicant got a word in edgewise and asked about the specific requirements of the job, she was brushed off with the pat answer, “But then, I wouldn’t be concerned about that if I were you. I’ve always believed that if you can sell, you can sell.” It is imperative that people know what is required of them before beginning a job. The interview is the time to outline the job’s requirements, as well as your criteria for evaluating success in the role.

8.  Don’t gossip or swap war stories.

Many interviewers try to find familiar ground they can tread over with the applicant. Though this might seem like a comfortable way to get an interview under way, inquiring about friends and relatives can get things sidetracked, wasting a huge amount of time. The interview should be devoted to obtaining as much information as possible in order to make a sound hiring decision.

9.  Don’t put the applicant on the defensive.

There is no point in creating unnecessary tension during the interview. Knowing an applicant’s personality strengths and weaknesses is vital to making the best hiring decision. A speech embodying a long-held philosophy is inappropriate, but a frank discussion of the importance of detail in the job — and how she might deal with the detail aspect of the job — would be constructive and would allow both people to make a more reasoned decision.

10.  Don’t be afraid to make the interview as long, or as short, as you deem necessary.

The final mistake commonly made is that interviews are concluded in an unnecessary rush. As interviewers notice the time, they realize they are late for another appointment and excuse themselves hurriedly. To be effective, the interview should make the fullest use of everyone’s valuable time. There are not set guidelines on length, so long as you clearly spell out the anticipated length of the interview and so long as the time is spent wisely.