4 Big Mistakes When You are Interviewing a Candidate


I’ve conducted well over 1,000 interviews and consulted hundreds of organizations. Here are some common mistakes I see managers making when interviewing candidates for their organization.

1.     Making the Decision by Yourself. You might be very good spotting talent. I think I’m pretty good at that. But as good as I am on my own, I am always better when I have a team helping me. Get the right people in the room with you when you are interviewing. Look for people who ask good questions and are discerning. Make sure you have people who aren’t afraid to tell you the truth.

2.     Not Calling References. We often make this mistake when we are hiring someone we know. This is a costly mistake. In the 20 years I led the staff at Granger, there were five times when a key employee was hired by another organization away from our team. Not one time did I, or anyone on my staff, get a call from those organizations asking for a reference. We could have been helpful in setting those people up for success. Talk to current or previous employers and associates—you will learn something that will either confirm your direction, change your direction, or at a minimum help you know how to lead and resource your new staff member. 

3.     Grilling versus Selling. Many leaders look at the interview as the mechanism to find out whether this candidate is qualified for the role. That is important, but it’s not the only purpose. You must wear two hats: You are the Interviewer, but you are also the Recruiter. This candidate is also interviewing you. You need to “sell” your organization along with the schools, dining, city-life and benefits of the area where they will be moving their family.

4.     Ignoring Chemistry. Sometimes we get really excited about a candidate. They are going to fill a vacant position, and we can’t wait to get that position filled and those responsibilities off of our plate. This can cause us to hire too quickly and ignore signs of bad chemistry. If this person will be on your team, you need to wake up every day excited to work with them. You can’t internally groan every time they walk by and say, “Can I have ten minutes?” Pay attention to chemistry.

What other mistakes would you add to my list?

Tim Stevens2 Comments