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5 Common Mistakes Job Interviewers Make

5 Common Mistakes Job Interviewers Make
Job interviewers often don't do enough advance planning to make the interview worth while. / Credit: Hire me image via Shutterstock

With the job market flooded with candidates, finding the perfect new employee can be a difficult task for many businesses.

Michael Burtov, CEO of Cangrade, which has developed an automated hiring platform, said in order to find the right candidate it is up to each organization to make sure the interview process is as thorough and fair as possible.

After recently completing a review of job-interviewing techniques, Burtov has found five common mistakes that interviewers make when trying to find the best candidate. He said far too often interviewers pick candidates based on how they look and not what they are capable of.

Burtov cites past research from Princeton University that had voters rate how "competent" a congressional candidate's face looked, without any knowledge of their actual abilities, experiences or positions. The study found that those rating predicted 70 percent of the actual election results.

"This is very significant, and shows that we strongly tend to vote for people that look competent – without consideration of whether they actually are competent," Burtov said. "And these issues can be magnified when we interview candidates for positions."

Burtov offers employers several tips on how to avoid the most common interview mistakes, including:

  • Using un-objective criteria: Rather than "screening-out" candidates based on an initial gut feeling, or un-predictive criteria such as GPA, the address on the résumé, or the sound of a name, the interviewer should make sure that the job-evaluation process is as structured, job-specific and objective as possible. This will give them the chance to hire great people that might not have even been considered otherwise.
  • Checking social media: Social media profiles often contain pictures of candidates, as well as a plethora of information that is irrelevant to the job. Research has repeatedly shown that images and other irrelevant information can unconsciously undermine rational decision-making.
  • Too much chatting:  During the interview it is common for the interviewer to slip into monologues about the opportunity, the company, the culture and other job-attributes. While this can be an important part of getting acquainted, it's important to give the candidate ample opportunities to talk. The more job-relevant information a company has about the candidate, the more likely they are to base their hiring decision on objective criteria, rather than on incomplete (and possibly biased) impressions. A good rule while interviewing is 80 percent listening and 20 percent talking.
  • Asking ad-lib questions: During the structured section of the interview people often go off-script and wonder off into something that more closely resembles a friendly discussion. During at least part of the interview one should only ask the questions that are prepared as well as scripted follow-up questions. The more meaningful and standardized the information collected from candidates, the less room there is to make decisions based on factors that matter less.
  • Personal preferences: As humans, we tend to like people who share our personal preferences and interests, such as music, sports, television shows, lifestyle choices and other behaviors that aren't relevant to the job. While interviewing, keep in mind that liking the same TV shows is not related to on-the-job performance. Interviewers should not let "being like me" unconsciously sway their judgment.

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.