• Jack Sharp

Hiring managers: here’s what not to do in an interview

Remaining professional during an interview can be a challenge. After all, we’re only human. People say the wrong things, ask the wrong questions and use the wrong language. Communication is a tough nut to crack, but a good hiring manager will understand the difference between what they should be looking for and what they shouldn’t during the interview stage.

But, in case you needed a refresher, here’s what not to do in an interview.

Ask questions that add no value

Yes, this is a great question, but it’s one that doesn’t need asking. This question doesn’t provide value to a job situation, it creates a bias towards a candidate. Okay, so you want to build rapport, get to know someone you might be hiring and look for culture fit. That’s understandable, but instead of wasting time with niceties, you should be focusing on past behaviour.

Understanding past behaviour is the best way to get to know your candidate. ‘You were let go? Tell me why’. A question like this gives you insight into the truest sense of a candidate. Past behaviour is tangible, it’s happened and it’s often a great indicator about what a candidate is really like.

Ask questions that you specifically want to know the answer to

Hiring managers are human, and it’s only human to have your own idea about what you want to know from a candidate. You might sit down and ask about multi-tasking because you think it’s an important skill to hold, but actually the job a candidate is applying for requires no multi-tasking at all.

That’s why there’s a job analysis. A job analysis uncovers the required skills and expertise a candidate needs to do a job well. By focusing on these core competencies, you’re able to build up a less bias judgement about someone’s ability to perform the job, not the job you want them to perform.

Stop selling

In truth, an external hiring manager is a salesman. It’s their job to fill a role and take a commission. As an internal hiring manager, selling a job is unnecessary. Either way, you must provide the candidate with a realistic job preview so that they can make an educated decision about whether they want to make a life-altering career move.

As an external hiring manager, expectation management is your best friend. If you’re telling candidates that the company you’re hiring for is the bee’s knees, they’ll likely walk into a role with honeymoon eyes, only to find themselves utterly disappointed. And the chances of them seeing out their minimum term are drastically reduced. Be realistic, be honest.

Don’t judge a candidate on their first response

Woah, that was a terrible first answer. This is going to be a long hour. I wonder what to have for dinner tonight?

Ever felt this way? Sure you have, we all have. Hiring managers who check out after the first question aren’t giving candidates the light of day that they deserve. Everyone makes mistakes, everyone is nervous. It’s up to you to remain engaged and try to navigate the conversation so you can see the best and worst from a candidate. Only then can you make an honest judgement of someone.

Want some pointers?

Let’s close this the same way we opened. Conversations are hard, and every single one is different. A hiring manager needs to be a conversation master. It’s up to them to seek out the best in a candidate and ask the right questions.

But sometimes we don’t know what the right questions are. That’s where we come in. If you’d like help understanding what questions you need to be asking or you want to workshop your interview technique with an industry expert, pick up the phone and contact us here. We’re always on hand to help.