6 Common Interviewing Mistakes

Common interviewing mistakes to avoid to make better hires and reduce turnover

A bad hire can cost your company dearly. Just the cost of recruiting a replacement is typically around 45% of annual salary. That cost doesn’t even factor in other costs like impact on customers, employee morale, confidence in management. When you take those factors into consideration, the numbers can get very, very big.

In the spirit of avoiding those outcomes, here’s list of 6 common interviewing mistakes to watch out for:


  1. Being unprepared. Not taking the time required to decide exactly what it is you want; not reading the résumé in detail before the interview, not reviewing a candidate profile if you have one, or a benchmark profile for the job. Managers often feel they can wing it – they can’t.
  2. Judging on surface qualities such as appearance and mannerisms. Many managers boast that they know whether they should hire a candidate within the first five minutes of an interview – they don’t. This is what we call relying on Level 1 information. Level 2 is what’s in their résumé, that’s better, but Level 3, which involves their temperament and behaviour patterns, is where you get the real value.
  3. The Halo Effect. Letting one factor (e.g., same alma mater) influence everything else. 
  4. Over-emphasizing the Can Do instead of the Will Do. Can Do qualifications, such as educational/technical credentials, should not be given priority over the Will Do, such as attitudes, motivations, temperament.
  5. Asking questions that focus on the future rather than on past performance. “Would you be willing to work around the clock to meet a deadline?” rather than “Can you tell me about a time when you worked around the clock to meet a deadline?”
  6. Not probing vigorously. Accepting unsupported or vague claims instead of probing for details –
    names, dates, dollar figures, exactly what happened, when, why and how.

That’s a partial list. You can find a larger one here. What are some mistakes you’ve seen or tips you have? 


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