Why are most people rubbish at interviewing?

« Back to Remtec News


Ok, it is a provocative title. A brazen use of shock tactics to get your attention in an attempt to get you to read my article, perhaps, but is the premise of the title true? Well, I am not in the business of annoying people, but the truth is most people really are not very good at interviewing. No, actually, “not very good” is not sufficient. Most really are rubbish. There, said it. 90% of people that conduct interviews have not got a clue.

A good interviewer will be able to distinguish between great candidates, the real performers and the wannabe-also-rans. She or he will be able to sell the role to those very best candidates to ensure they will want to take it if offered. They will understand the needs and wants of their organisation and will outperform their competitors in “winning the war for talent”. Interview skills are as important to your organisation as sales skills. If you do not know how to identify and attract the best, you are going to lose out to those that do.

Proficient interviewing is an acquired skill. It is not something that is innate. Being chatty, extrovert or good at selling do not automatically qualify you for interviewing. The idea that to be expert at something takes 10 000 hours has now largely been debunked, but how many hours have most people spent interviewing? If you are a leader of a sales organisation for example, with 50 sales people, a staff turnover of 15% and a growth of 10% per annum you will likely interview for 12 vacancies over the next year. Even if you interviewed 10 people per vacancy for an hour each, that is only 120 hours per year. It will take you 83 years to get to 10 000 hours! By this measure we have to assume there are not many expert interviewers out there.

So if you haven’t got the opportunity to be expert, how can you at least be “good”?

  • Get some training on how to interview, or at least get a book on it!
  • Be sure you know what “Good” or even better, “Great” looks like in terms of your needs and wants.
  • Plan/prepare. Remember the 6 Ps? The same applies to interviewing
  • Know what questions will provide the correct stimulus to discuss areas that will allow the candidate the opportunity to discuss what they can do for you.
  • Treat your candidates with respect. Remember, they are customers of your employer brand. If you leave them with a poor impression they will talk! Give them quick and accurate feedback whatever the outcome
  • Make sure you, and anyone else involved in the process, are aligned and very importantly are aligned with the cultural and legal norms expected in the jurisdiction you are recruiting in.
  • Make sure you come across as a decent human being. If you are not a decent human being please do not ask people to work for you!

If you are interested in finding our more about how to attract high performance talent and give them an super interview experience (whether you hirer them or not) book in for a chat with me https://my.timetrade.com/book/MHSN1

« Back to Remtec News