Do You Keep Making Bad Hires? It Could Be How You’re Interviewing

It feels like you have finally found the perfect employee: A well-rounded, relevant skill set, plenty of experience, and a personality and work ethic that appears to fit well within the team. You make the job offer, but from day one, something feels off. The new employee just doesn’t click with everyone else, and produces subpar work. Within a few months, you’re interviewing candidates for the position, yet again.

Everyone makes a less-than-perfect hire at some point. Sometimes, even the candidates who seem to be ideally suited for the open position don’t work out. But if you consistently make bad hires, as in several per year, there could be an issue with your hiring process. If that’s the case, failing to investigate the problem could prove costly. Factoring in the cost of advertising the opening, time spent reviewing resumes and interviewing, onboarding and training, the average new hire costs $4,000. When you have to hire several new employees per year, it adds up to a significant budgetary expense.

In many organizations, the hiring process breaks down during the interview. Not everyone is a skilled interviewer, and when the organization relies on a standardized set of questions, the interview becomes less about gauging a candidate’s fit for the company, and more an exercise for the candidate in telling the interviewer what he or she wants to hear in order to land the job.

Behavioral Interviews: Great Concept, Poor Execution

Most job interviews these days qualify as behavioral interviews. In other words, interviewers focus on learning more about the candidates past behaviors in particular situations, since past behavior is often a good predictor of future behavior. Asking questions like “Tell me about a time that you had conflict with a supervisor” allows you to not only get a glimpse into potential hot button issues but also hear more about the candidate’s conflict resolution skills, and what he or she learned from the experience.

The problem with behavioral interviews, though, is that many interviewers fail to conduct them properly. The most common issue is asking leading questions. In other words, instead of saying, “Tell me about a time that you had a conflict with a supervisor,” they word the question “Tell me about a time that you resolved a conflict with a supervisor.” By focusing on how the issue was resolved, you’re telling the candidate what you want to hear, and their response will address the one time they worked out an issue with a supervisor, not the 57 other conflicts with co-workers that went unresolved.

Leading questions often include words like “resolved,” “successfully,” “adapted,” and “balanced” — in other words, positive terms. In general, it’s best to leave out statements that provide clues as to the answers you are looking for, and allow the candidate to answer the question honestly. A savvy candidate will know that it’s better to provide both the problem and the solution, whereas a less prepared candidate may be stymied, and provide a terrible answer that reveals his or her true nature.

Sticking to the Script

Behavioral questions are often part of a script that interviewers use. Scripted questions have some value in the interview process. After all, without asking every candidate the same questions, it’s virtually impossible to compare candidates accurately and objectively.

The problem comes, though, when interviewers are so intent on sticking to the script that they fail to leverage opportunities to ask follow-up questions and dig deeper. Instead of really listening to the responses, many times interviewers are focused on getting through the list of questions, when they should be taking note of potential follow-ups. Asking for clarification or for more details can provide insight that could take a candidate from the top of the list to the bottom — or vice versa. Probing for more information by going off script can also solve the problem of over-prepared candidates. Most job applicants have a fairly good idea of what they will be asked in an interview, and provide the same canned responses no matter the setting. Going off script forces the interviewee to think on his or her feet, giving you insights that are more accurate.

One caveat about going off script, though. When you go too far off script, you risk the interview becoming too informal. You might also run out of time to ask the important questions, and risk making a decision based on incomplete impressions and personal preference. The key is to balance your prepared questions with relevant, thoughtful follow-ups when appropriate.

Hiring new employees always comes with a certain level of risk. If you practice your interviewing technique and avoid leading or vague questions, though, you can reduce the risk of bad hires and save your company money.

Views: 206


You need to be a member of RecruitingBlogs to add comments!

Join RecruitingBlogs


All the recruiting news you see here, delivered straight to your inbox.

Just enter your e-mail address below


RecruitingBlogs on Twitter

© 2024   All Rights Reserved   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service