Don’t fall into these traps when interviewing potential job candidates!

At one point or another, you want to expand your business. You will look for potential job candidates and you’ll need to evaluate them. There are some tips and tricks that will make you a better interviewer to make sure that you get the team you deserve.


First, there are some things that you shouldn’t do.
Make sure you’re not doing most of the talking. Usually, this happens when the interviewer wants to make a good impression on the interviewee because he will possibly be a future subordinate. This leads to interviews lasting longer than they should be and losing potential valuable information.
To avoid this, use the 80-20 rule: 80% listening, 20% talking.

Second, prepare your interview in advance. Often times you can lose a lot of time if you are asking questions that are unrelated to the job position. Although sometimes this can give valuable insight to the candidate’s personality and lifestyle, it might not be related to the position they are applying for. Some seemingly unrelated questions may be useful if you intend them to be (for example, if you ask the candidate about sports to find out if they are competitive by nature).

Third, do not make the applicant unnecessarily stressed out. Studies have found that only one fourth of applicants are not stressed out. The side effects of being stressed out have found to have negative impacts on the validity of the interview. This is why it’s important to make the interviewee feel at ease during the interview.

Fourth, there is the problem of stereotyping. Some of the previous blogs mentioned shortcuts when judging others. This is a mistake you must try to avoid during interviews.  Do not evaluate the applicants based on the perceived characteristics of a group they belong to. Remember to always look at people as individuals, and not instantly judge them based on their group.

Another potential trap is to fall for biases. A few examples are:

Halo-effect: when the interviewee answers one of the first questions very well and you go easier on them while they answer the rest of the questions. For example they answer first question and you would rate the response 9/10, then next response you would normally rate as 6/10 but just because of the halo-effect – you rate it as 8/10.

Horn-effect: opposite of halo-effect.

Impression error (similar to the selective perception): when the person walks in and makes a first impression, you will try to look for things to confirm your impression. This is difficult to control because it is wired into our psyche, but it is good to at least be aware of it.

Contrast effect: this happens when you are interviewing people one after another. If the first person answered poorly, and the next person answers in a decent manner, then you might over-exaggerate their responses and assume for them to be better than they actually were. Avoid this by taking breaks in between interviews (approximately 15 minutes).

Similar-to-me error: when the applicant resembles the interviewer then there could be a tendency to rate the person more positively.

Good luck on your future recruiting!

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