With companies spending exorbitant amounts on employer branding and on recruitment platforms to source more candidates, we have noticed that a number of firms spend too much time focusing on employee sourcing rather than interviewing.

Unfortunately, there is an assumption within the hiring industry to disregard interviewing as a skill, with most hiring managers believing they can wing their interviews. In these cases, managers might follow outdated techniques that cost them good hires. So how can you determine what not to do when you take your next interview? 

The 10 biggest mistakes of bad interviewers:

Interviewing is one of the most important steps of the recruitment process, and without proper training, hiring managers tend to make similar mistakes while conducting the interview. This list highlights the ten most common mistakes that bad interviewers make:

1. They enter the interview room unprepared

From going through the job description they will be presenting their candidate with and creating a set of measurable questions for applicants to skimming through applicant resumes, a recruiter has a lot of homework to do before conducting an interview. It is therefore no surprise then that according to various reports an average resume is skimmed for all of 6 seconds.

If interviewers were to adopt a structured objective approach, they ask their applicants better questions and avoid their hiring biases. A structured approach also typically leaves some time at the end of the interview for the applicant to ask questions about the job role and responsibilities. Interviewers who are prepared to answer questions and well-versed in the candidate’s background will likely be perceived agreeably by applicants.

2. They are unclear about the job description and key skills

Most Common Signs of a Bad Interviewer

Image: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-a-woman-holding-papers-near-a-man-5686027/ 

One of the key aspects of conducting an interview is finding the right fit for the role you are looking to fill. The more details you have on the responsibilities of potential candidates, the better you will be able to structure your interview questions to assess relevant skills. Interviewers need to know the skills they are looking for in applicants, e.g., problem-solving or attention to detail. Being clear about responsibilities and the specific skills necessary standardizes candidates' interview process. 

3. They don’t listen well and they talk too much

Bad interviewers often fill in any silences (while interviewees gather their thoughts) to throw a few more questions out of discomfort. This behavior can put unnecessary pressure on the applicants and cause them to jumble up their responses. Giving your applicant enough room to collect their thoughts and finish the retelling of their experiences is a highly underrated skill in interviews. Unsuitable hires are likely to cost your company up to 30% of their first year’s earnings, so hearing them out clearly when assessing whether they are a good fit is essential.

It is also absolutely crucial to ask them open-ended questions that open them up to speaking about their past experience and tell you about the kind of role they are seeking.

4. They ask trite and close-ended questions

Always go for specificity. Interviews are your opportunity to get to know an applicant beyond their basic skills. You can explore an experience in which the applicant performed their skill set in depth by probing and prodding in this direction. Instead, bad interviewers ask questions like “what are your strengths and weaknesses” and “tell us about your prior work experience.” The problem with general questions is that it can take ages for the interviewee to reach specificity ,  which is what helps you assess their aptitude . Additionally, it is difficult to distinguish one candidate from another based on general answers.

Many interviews also focus on close-ended questions that solicit a “yes” or “no” response. These questions don’t let the candidate expand on their experience or speak about their abilities. Many candidates have stated that when asked these questions they feel compelled to answer to the point. Inevitably, the interviewer cannot evaluate the candidate well.

5. They do not follow their interview structure

Bad interviewers are likely to “wing it” and avoid any recommended structure during their interview. They prefer free-flowing conversation, which is a notoriously unreliable technique for finding the right people for your role. This lack of structure can cause the interview to deviate from the key skills and aptitude that need to be assessed. It can also cause interviews to become non-standardized across candidates, which opens up the process to personal preference and bias. 

6. They ask overly aggressive or illegal questions

In an attempt to test the resilience of candidates, some interviewers might adopt the role of ‘bad cop’ characterized by asking aggressive and, in some cases, unethical questions: 20% of hiring managers ask candidates an illegal question during an interview unknowingly. These inappropriate questions pry into the personal life of candidates, their finances, age, ethnicity, personal experiences, and more. An aggressive or inappropriate interview process reflects badly on recruiters and reduces the likelihood of a candidate wanting to work for the firm.

Interview-as-a-Service Platform

7.  They play “stump the band”

This practice is adopted by hiring managers to see if a candidate can correctly answer a question they failed at answering earlier, regardless of whether it is relevant. Although it gives the illusion of making an interview more challenging, ultimately, it is a waste of time for both parties. It is much more promising to keep questions topical and customized to the role and the candidates' background. 

8. They appear disinterested

Taking interviews all day might be exhausting for hiring managers, but it is unwise to appear disinterested in a candidate as they detail important life experiences. A bored interviewer is off-putting for candidates and might lead them to leave the interview on a sour note. Interviewers should learn the skill of active listening to help put themselves in the shoes of their applicants, learn when to ask the right questions, and encourage candidates to talk. 

9. They speak negatively about their company

One of the easiest ways to slip up as an interviewer is not promoting the company or position. Just as you are assessing the candidates, they are evaluating the company and its culture; being negative about the role is a surefire way to discourage applicants from responding to callbacks. Instead, speak of the role and the company with an optimistic outlook so candidates can feel positive about their prospective workplace. 

10. They evaluate based on their gut feelings

It is clearer than ever that interviewers are prone to multiple biases during interviews: the halo or horns effect, confirmation bias, primacy and recency effect. The more you listen to your gut during an interview, the likelier you are to be evaluating a candidate through a biased perspective. Having the same set of questions graded horizontally across candidates is a great way to neutralize some biases. Learning more about the different biases is also crucial for hiring managers. 

In a nutshell

Bad interviewers can make grave mistakes at any stage of the interview: from entering unprepared to using their intuition to evaluate candidates. Being mindful of these behaviors can prevent hiring managers from creating a negative or biased recruitment process and improve their hiring efficiency. Get the most out of your interviews by using FloCareer to access a team of 3000+ experts who offer a customized structure for your interviews based on your requirements.