Here's Why Candidates Are Failing Your Interviews

May 12, 2015 at 12:30 PM Kathleen de Lara

interview process

Is your interview process broken?

The talent gap has been long cited as one of the biggest reasons companies are left with open roles. Getting a candidate in the door after much screening and vetting is no deed to go unrecognized, but neglecting your company’s interviewing process could mean serious hiring hitches.

Here are five common interviewing errors companies make when looking for the right candidate. It’s not them – it could very well be you.

They don’t have a good understanding of your product.

If you’re noticing a trend in candidates coming into interviews seemingly unprepared, there’s a chance you might need to reevaluate how the company’s About and Product pages communicate your good or service. Candidates who come in asking you to tell you more about what your company does could be a signal of a company with poor clout and an equally weak online/social presence. Test your company’s product marketing and employer branding by asking a colleague outside your industry to give their explanation of your company and product.

The job title and description aren’t accurate or disjointed.

Hiring teams at smaller companies and startups know the “ability to wear many hats” phrase well – it’s a way of saying a candidate should be willing to learn new skills and take on responsibilities that may not be outwardly listed on the initial job description. Everyone bootstraps because resources can be limited, mutually benefiting the company and the employee. Business goals are met and the team learns how to do more with less, mastering areas outside of their comfort zone that can be taught to others. Job titles are ultimately an arbitrary reflection of what a role’s duty entails and will require, so it’s crucial to find a title and create a description accurately representing where responsibilities are expected to go, and to further explain these expectations (and clear misunderstandings) during the screening and interview.

One of your interviewers isn’t very good at interviewing.

The first step to leading a good interview? Opening the conversation with warm, sincere small talk and a simple, open-ended question that allows the candidate to tell a story and get comfortable. “Tell me a little bit about yourself.” or “What drew you to our company and this job?” are the conventional go-to’s, but they’re solid starting points. A colleague or hiring manager who comes into the interviewing room to set a stiff, nervous mood is someone who’s difficult to talk to and work with, and while people are generally expected to meet these types of interviewers along the way, from the company’s perspective, it hampers the team’s ability to genuinely connect with people and to build a positive employer brand.

Your interview questions overlap.

Interviewers have anywhere between 30 minutes to maybe an hour to meet candidates. Overlapping questions add to a bottleneck of time lost while learning more about why someone is qualified for a role and why they want to work for the company. Create a list of questions each interviewer should ask, and prep the team before each session. What’s the goal? What is the team trying to learn about a candidate? What should each team member aim to convey to candidates during an interview, and how does this change between roles and hierarchy?

The resume is your go-to reference for the interview.

A candidate’s past job positions aren’t accurate, clear indicators of how they’ll perform on the job. Focusing on the resume places emphasis on what a candidate has done, but not necessarily on how they’ll apply those skills to the role. Refer to the resume, but be sure to learn how the candidate plans to transfer those experiences to the new job. This will help you vet for culture and role fits, and their ability to grow with the company.

What other interviewing red flags should fellow hiring teams look out for? Sound off in the comments and tweet us @Entelo! And if you're looking for other ways to build a funnel with more qualified talent and fine-tune your outreach, our Effectively Messaging Candidates is a good place to start.

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