Following up on my previous post on candidate bad behavior, let’s flip the coin and take a look at some mistakes you should never make when hiring. While both candidates and hiring managers can make similar mistakes, the risks are potentially greater when hiring managers make them and can influence whether potential candidates accept a job.
Have you read interview reviews at your company? Your organization’s poor reputation could be due in part to interviews conducted by hiring managers or your employees. If this is the case, your bad behavior can get picked up on the web faster than the latest college football recruiting rumor.
The interview process
The in-person interview is often the first face-to-face engagement candidates will have with your company. Here, first impressions will make or break you. While you are assessing a candidate’s skills and fit for both the position and your company, they are also assessing you. They want to know if your company is the right place for their next career move.
Five hiring mistakes you shouldn’t make
Now that we’ve established the importance of hiring managers and interview process, here are five things that you must never do when you put on your hiring manager hat:
1. Blowing off interviews. Not showing up to an interview is one of the worst things a hiring manager can do. Not showing up says, “My time is more important than yours, and I’m going to let you know it.” Similarly, making the recruiter or other interviewers scramble to find a last-minute replacement will show. Instead, be respectful of everyone’s time. If you absolutely can’t make an interview, give as much notice as possible. Keep the candidate informed every step of the way and let them know about the switch. Additionally, be sure to educate anyone who may be taking your place so they’re up to speed and don’t go in unprepared or uninterested.
2. Leave candidates waiting. It’s never ok to leave candidates waiting. Dumping candidates in your reception area for a long time is rude, as is leaving them in a conference room with no refreshments or idea of what’s coming next. Be sure to grab candidates from your lobby on time, offer them refreshments and point out where the restrooms are. If you have to leave them waiting on their own, be sure to give them the wi-fi password and tell them to make themselves at home.
3. Not doing your research. Never, ever walk into an interview without even glancing at a candidate’s résumé. Even if you have only 60 seconds, review it right before you enter the room. Circle anything you want to discuss in the interview or have the candidate elaborate on. If you are coming from another meeting or absolutely don’t have time, ask the candidate to talk about their current position right off the bat while you scan their résumé. Bottom line: you can take 60 seconds out of your day to put your company’s best foot forward. Spend the time and attention in with candidates – it’s worth it.
4. Setting out to trick the candidate. While some oddball interview questions can challenge candidates in the right way, asking questions with the sole purpose of confusing or tricking candidates is wrong. Don’t make the interview process any more uncomfortable than it needs to be. Remember when you were in their shoes and be kind. Ask questions to challenge candidates, but only if you’ll learn something important about.
Additionally, be sure to leave time for candidates to ask you questions. It’s not all about you quizzing them – they’re testing you, too! They should leave feeling like the conversation was balanced and had all their questions answered.
5. Not prepping your team. If you are a hiring manager, it’s your job to prepare your team. Hold internal workshops that train employees on interviewing people and questions to ask. Get on the same page when it comes to interview style and the vibe you want to present. Let everyone on your team know what questions are ok to ask – and which you never should. Also, be sure to tell your teammates what’s expected of them, such as preparing for interviews, picking candidates up from the lobby on time, offering refreshments, etc.
As a hiring manager, I bet most of you have seen all these sins and worse. The war for talent is real, and there is no room to lose great candidates because of inefficiencies on your end. Your role as a hiring manager is not only to assess candidate’s skills, but also to sell the job opportunity and your company to them. Every candidate that walks through your doors should leave with a positive impression and an “I have to work here!” mentality. Remember: Your candidates will share their experience interviewing at your company whether it’s positive or negative, so make sure it’s the former.