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Best Practice

Human Resources How to Avoid the Top 5 Interviewer Mistakes Even the most seasoned interviewers make mistakes. And those mistakes may be costing you the best talent. Here are the Top 5 interviewer mistakes and our tips to help you avoid them.

Mistake #1: Jumping to Conclusions

Joseph T. Sefcik Jr. is the founder and president of Employment Technologies. He is a thought leader in simulation and virtual interview technology for talent prediction.

The outcome of an interview is often decided in the first two minutes. Even though the interview is 30 minutes or longer, our decisions typically occur early in the interview, with the remaining time being used to build our case and support our decision. How to avoid: Nothing sabotages the accuracy of an interview faster than jumping to a quick decision. To limit this error, separate the decision from the interview. Train yourself to focus on effective note taking during the interview rather than evaluating.

Mistake #2: Going with Your Gut

Almost all interviewers overestimate their ability to identify the best candidates. We all think we’re a good judge of character and have a unique ability to hire the right people. Ironically, interviewers with the least experience and training are the most likely to overestimate their ability.

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To further complicate things, the least trained interviewers often occupy high-level positions. Time and again, they simply “know a good candidate when they see one.” You can’t argue either for or against their intuition because it isn’t based on objective rationale or evidence. How to avoid: The best solution is to make sure that all interviewers — whether they’re recruiters, hiring managers or the CEO — are properly trained and are using the same standard rating criteria. To avoid mistakes, hiring decisions must be based on data, not hunches.

Mistake #3: Relying on Limited Data

Basing decisions on limited data is a sure way to derail an otherwise great interview process. Even though there is considerable discourse, it is not uncommon for interview decisions to be based on five to seven key questions. And if you don’t take good notes, you’re left to make decisions on very limited data and on what you can remember from the interview. How to avoid: A reasonable solution is to create a checklist for each question that includes examples of statements that contribute to a good answer. For each question, the checklist might contain

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