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Are You Guilty of These Common Interview Mistakes?

On the surface, a job interview may look and feel like a pleasant conversation. It’s smooth, it’s diplomatic and professional, and those on both sides of the table are well dressed and making an effort to say the right thing, even if that means putting their real feelings and personalities on hold. But a blandly superficial and pleasant conversation doesn’t necessarily lead to a great hiring decision. To get real meaning out of your interviews and gather information that can actually help you run your company, watching out for these common mistakes.

1. Don’t be a chatterbox. It’s true that your role as an interviewer may involve plenty of talking, especially if this is an entry level candidate and you need to explain basic elements of your business model, not just the details of the position in question. But if you talk for an hour and don’t let her get a word in edgewise, you’ll end up wasting your time and learning very little about her qualifications.

2. Don’t send mixed signals. If you’ve gone out of your way to let the candidate know that this position is vital to the company and this decision is very important to you, don’t pause in the middle of the interview to answer your phone. At the same time, watch how you handle false hope, and don’t imply that the candidate is one of the top contenders or that you’ll make a final decision by the end of the week if these things aren’t true.

3. Don’t give a misleading impression of your workplace (positive or negative). Watch out for statements that suggest your workplace culture is “fun”, “collaborative”, “fast-paced” or anything else if this isn’t true. We all want to put a positive face on things, and managers often present a picture of the company that they think a candidate wants to see. But as soon as she comes on board and finds out that this place is actually serious, competitive, or quiet, she’ll regret the move and so will you. 

4. Don’t disrespect candidates. Ever. In an imbalanced job market, managers often assume they can make candidates grovel or jump through hoops with no fear of negative consequences. This is a bad idea for two important reasons: First, it’s just bad business. Unprofessional behavior benefits nobody, and what goes around comes around. Second, it alienates the most talented candidates who have plenty of options, and as they lose interest in you, they’ll turn directly to your competitors. At the same time, this move attracts and retains the desperate. Needy candidates who are willing to be humiliated, baited, cross-examined, or put through ten rounds of interviews are not the ones you want.  

To avoid these mistakes and find ways to make each minute of your interview process as valuable and meaningful as possible, turn to the NC staffing and business management experts at PSU.

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