5 interview mistakes that scare off great candidates

ManagementIdentifying the best and brightest, then convincing them to join your organization, is something every good leadership team strives for.

What’s more, good leadership looks for great people at every level of the organization.

So, when you are fortunate enough to have a exceptional candidate simply walk in your door, you want to do everything to get him or her on board.

While much has been written about what to do to win these candidates, here is a quick list of what not to do – the five common pitfalls that can derail your next interview.

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5 interview mistakes

  1. Not spending time. Nothing leads to a bad decision like an interview that’s rushed because the manager is distracted with other issues. Interviews should not have a scheduled end time — they take as long as necessary. And be sure the candidate is aware of that, too.
  2. Not digging down. Savvy managers can sense when something’s off in an applicant’s CV. So it’s key to get the whole story about someone’s background and work history. If an applicant claims to have supervised 20 employees in his last job, probe into what those supervisory duties entailed. Get specific, and let the person tell you real-life tales. You’ll recognize reality when you hear it.
  3. Talking too much. Of course you want to sell a promising candidate on the company. But know your limits and keep track. It’s a rule that’s often violated – especially when candidates are thinking through their answers, which creates pauses in the conversation. Instead, let those pauses just hang out there. Good people will fill the void with great detail.
  4. Bad manners. This one seems surprising, given that most seasoned managers know the value of good people skills. But in a recent poll, more than half of employees said they’d been treated rudely by an interviewer. And odds are, they didn’t accept the job if it was offered to them.
  5. Losing patience. It’s tempting to hire the first decent candidate who comes in after a round of duds. But managers need to evaluate applicants on their own merit and not be swayed by comparisons to particularly bad run. By contrast, if you’re lucky to happen upon a great candidate, make an offer immediately. If Michael Jordan just went through a tryout, would you tell him you’d call him back in a few days because there were a few more people you needed to interview? Nah, didn’t think so.

Ten ways to keep them

Once you get good people on board, you want to keep them. Here’s a list of what employees say they need to stay with their current employer:

  • Interesting, challenging work
  • Opportunities for advancement and learning
  • Collegial workforce
  • Fair compensation
  • A respected manager
  • Recognition for accomplishment
  • Feeling valued
  • A great benefits package
  • The work makes a difference.
  • Pride in the company mission and product/services.

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