Conducting a job interview looks a lot easier than it is. Many Partners/hiring managers take this step in the hiring process for granted and don't invest the time, work, and concentration that effective job interviews require. Above all, they don't prepare enough and end up winging it.
Even if you feel you know how to conduct a job interview, this stage of the hiring process is where you are most likely to falter. Interviewing mistakes — such as succumbing to interviewer bias or failing to follow a standardised list of questions — can lead to bad hiring decisions, which can be costly for your firm.
Here are some of the all-too-common job interview mistakes Partners/hiring managers make, but how do you avoid them?
Bringing interviewer bias
In the world of scientific research, a scientist’s expectations can influence the outcome of an experiment. Similarly, a Partner/hiring manager may develop a bias based on expectations about an applicant in the context of an interview. For example, a manager might believe that a prospective employee who comes highly recommended by a colleague is prequalified and better suited to the position than an unknown.
Apples vs. oranges
Interviewers often believe they are fairly consistent in the evaluation process, when in reality the interviewers are assessing variable criteria. Skilful interviewers think through the process and tend to follow the same method every time, with variations that they tailor to individual situations. Unsuccessful interviewers tend to wing it, creating a different routine for each interview and entering unprepared. The hidden danger of a lack of planning: You deprive yourself of the one thing you need the most as you're comparing candidates — an objective standard for evaluating potential employees.
Being dazzled by a halo
The halo effect is a term often used to describe a situation in which the interviewer becomes so enraptured by one particular aspect of the candidate — appearance, credentials, or interests that it colours all their other judgments. A negative detail can have the opposite effect and cause a candidate’s qualifications to be underestimated. Interviewers are only human. You can't always help yourself from placing too much significance on one part of their overall presentation. At the very least, however, be aware of your halo-effect tendencies and do your best to keep them in check.
Contrasting the candidates
When interviews are scheduled close together on a single day, a contrast effect may come into play and distort how potential employees are evaluated. For example, stronger candidates interviewed right after weaker ones may appear to be stronger than they really are.
Neglecting interview prep time
Failing to give the interview process the time and effort it deserves is, by far, the main reason hiring managers fail to reveal useful information about a person. You can probably understand why they frequently neglect to take the necessary steps to prepare for interviews, conduct them diligently and evaluate the results in a thoughtful manner: They're busy. Everybody's busy. Time is at a premium. But your job is to make every interview you conduct count.
Forgetting the details
No one's memory is perfect, and that can lead to interviewing mistakes. After interviewing dozens of prospective hires, it's inevitable that you might have trouble remembering details or may confuse one applicant's qualifications or answers with another.
Talking too much
A good interview really boils down to pace, perception and patience. If you're talking more than 20% of the time during a job interview, you're talking too much. You can — and should — react, comment on, and build on the answers that candidates give in job interviews. And you should certainly respond to their questions about your office, work-life balance, and your typical day. But bear in mind: The only thing you discover about potential hires during any session where you're doing most of the talking is how they listen.
Identifying and screening candidates can take a lot of time and energy. But if you need any assistance in evaluating new hires for your firm, please contact G2 Legal. After all, we are experts in finding highly skilled solicitors who meet your job requirements in the legal industry.
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