What Not to Do as an Interviewer

By Heather R. Huhman | Small Business

As you make progress in your career, you will face many challenges. You will expect some of these challenges to come with the territory of your job, but others will be out of your comfort zone. One challenge many will face, even if it wasn’t in your job description, is conducting job interviews.

Being an interviewer is an important responsibility, and a lot of people don’t do it well. There are quite a few ways to mess it up.

Whether you work in human resources or not, here are eight practices interviewers should avoid:

1. Arriving late.

In the job interview process, we always stress to candidates that they should arrive on time. In fact, we suggest they should arrive early to “make a good impression.” Why should interviewers be held to a different standard? Showing up late is rude and will make it seem like you don’t care about the interview.

2. Coming unprepared.

Again, candidates are instructed to do lots of research before showing up for an interview. Prep work is just as important for the interviewer. Read the candidate’s resume and cover letter ahead of time. Take notes. Prepare questions based on what you read. Make use of your interview time by discovering more than what you could have read about the candidate in the materials they already gave you.

3. Not taking notes.

You never know exactly how long it will be between interviews and decision time. It’s essential to take notes during every interview so you can make the best decision possible. Interviewers who don’t take notes will forget key details and mix things up. After a lot of interviews, candidates start to get jumbled. Plus, your interviewee will think you’re less interested. Take good notes and your decision will be so much easier.

4. Asking cliche questions.

Candidates have so many resources available to prepare for job interviews. These resources provide them with the most frequently asked questions, as well as the obscure questions. Interviewers who ask too many cliche questions like the ones on these lists will wind up hearing lots of memorized answers. You’ll likely have to ask a few of these, but focus on tailored interview questions instead. The responses will be more relevant and usable.

5. Not talking enough.

Interviewers should not just leave the talking to the candidates. A good interview involves a back-and-forth dialogue between the interviewer and interviewee. Give candidates something to work with other than your silence. You don’t want to appear disinterested.

6. Talking too much.

On the flip side, you don’t want to dominate the interview either. An interviewer who does this appears inexperienced and can leave candidates confused. It’s your job to keep the conversation moving, but always ask questions to shift the focus back on the candidate. Give them a chance to make their case.

7. Asking irrelevant questions.

Occasionally, interviewers will get side-tracked based on the way the conversation is going. Then the questions become less about the job opening and more about random things they found in common. While it’s good to relate to your candidate, it’s important to steer the conversation back to business. When your interview is finished, you should be able to base your decision off of something real.

8. Allowing interruptions.

Interviewers who don’t give candidates their undivided attention are hurting their hiring process. It’s down right rude to be texting, answering the phone, or accepting other interruptions during an interview. When you sit down for an interview, the candidate should be your only priority for the next hour (give or take).

It’s challenging to know exactly what to ask job candidates in an interview. By avoiding these practices, you’re already off to a good start.

What are some other practices interviewers should avoid?

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