Why Interviewers Make Mistakes

It’s common knowledge that the cost of making bad hiring decisions is high.  Yet we continue to make often the same mistakes time after time.

In the first of a two part series, the McQuaig Psychometric System’s Dave Stent looks at some of the reasons for interviewer’s mistakes.

  • The pressure to fill positions

An IT Manager once told me he would hire anyone with the right technical skills and a pulse.

For those of us who are not recruitment professionals, hiring is a job that we have to do in addition to our regular job.  After we spend two or three months recruiting and interviewing candidates, then getting down to a short list, we feel tremendous pressure to get the person in place.  It’s surprisingly common to hire someone who does not meet all our criteria just because we can’t face starting all over again.  BUT, the cost of hiring and then terminating a bad hire will always be greater than the cost of going back to the beginning.

  • What do you want?

You must define the needs of the role.  What will make a hire successful? Without a clear picture of what this is, we end up fitting the job to the candidate.  You might hire a very competent individual – just not competent for the job that needs to be done.

  • Savvy candidates

Candidates have it easy.  A simple Google search of ‘interview skills’ prepares them for anything.  Monster.com even has a candidate assessment centre that offers everything from answers to industry specific questions to a virtual interview.  Book shops are filled with books on how to get a job (writing CVs, interviewing, searching for the right company).  University candidates receive coaching and outplacement firms coach candidates.

Yet, there is little available to the interviewer.  Few line managers receive formal interview skills training.  The results, and costs, speak for themselves.

  • The most engaging interviewee wins!

Research by a US University indicated that candidates who are friendly, smiled a lot, made eye-contact and developed rapport easily are far more likely to get hired.

  • Gut feel overwhelms our decision making

On average, hiring managers make up their mind within 90 seconds of meeting the candidate.  They then interpret everything in the interview within the context of that first impression.

It’s easy to be wowed by an enthusiastic, clean-cut, professional looking candidate who later tells us that he was fired from his last job.  But rather than vigorously probe the causes we write it off.  Common reactions are “oh well, everyone makes a few mistakes” or “I’m really impressed with the honesty & integrity to volunteer that information – this guy’s a keeper!”

Our 1 day  Effective Interviews & Selection workshop will develop your interviewing skills so that you can make better hiring decisions and avoid making interviewer’s mistakes.


Interviewer's MistakesAbout the Author: Dave Stent is an Associate of The McQuaig Psychometric System (brought to you by Holst). To contact Dave email him at davestent@mcquaig.co.uk or connect with him on Linkedin 

To find out more about the McQuaig Psychometric System visit www.mcquaig.co.uk or call 0203 111 9292.

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