Interviewer Dos and Don’ts

As the interviewer, you're tasked with a lot to ensure you stay compliant and that candidates walk away with a positive impression.



As the interviewer, you have a daunting task to ensure the candidate’s skills, talent, and experience meet the job requirements. You also need to ensure their personality fits your company culture. Then there are concerns of illegal questions and body language that might send the wrong message (or worse) if you don’t closely monitor yourself during the interview.

If you’re not yet overwhelmed, I’ve included tips below of what interviewers should and shouldn’t do before, during, and after an interview. These tips not only protect your company, but ensure your candidates walk away with a positive impression of your company.

Interviewers: What TO Do

While some of the following tips may sound like common sense, they're oftentimes forgotten --- especially when managers are in a rush to hire more employees.

Do: Be Consistent with Candidates

When interviewing several different candidates, make sure you ask the same questions from one candidate to the next. This not only aids with comparisons, but it helps you avoid any claims of discrimination. (e.g. “Why did you ask the woman that question but not the man?”)

Do: Listen

When your attention gets diverted or you get antsy to ask your next question, write your thoughts in your notes and refocus on the candidate.

Do: Anticipate Difficult and Sensitive Questions

While it’s impossible to anticipate every potential scenario, it’s important to tell the truth when asked a difficult or sensitive question about your company and the job requirements.

Do: Conduct Reference Checks

Save yourself from a deceptive candidate and contact former employers listed on candidates’ work history BEFORE you make any hiring decisions. While some companies may have a policy that only permits verification of employment, confirm they really worked there when they said they did, with the job title(s) they listed. Also, verify their education and contact their references. More than 85% of employers have spotted lies on an applicant’s resume or job application, even in c-level executives’ resumes. (If this feels overwhelming, please contact your Stratus HR Rep to have our partner handle this for you!)

Do: Run a Background Check

To prevent a negligent hiring claim, make an offer contingent on passing a background check. Keep in mind your process must comply with local, state, and federal laws that protect applicants and employees from discrimination. This includes getting the candidate's written permission to do the background check. If there are flags on the background check, be sure that you conduct an individualized assessment by considering how much time has passed since the offense. Also, consider if the offense impacts the job.

Do: Follow-up with the Applicant

Estimate when you'll be in touch with the candidate and then DO it. Not only does this convey that you do what you’ll say you do – it’s just good manners.

Interviewers: What NOT to Do

Whether you're pressed for time or anxious to get through your stack of interviews, be mindful of the following problem areas.

Don’t: Go into the Interview Blind

Prior to interviewing, know what the end result should look like. This includes cultural fit, skills that are or aren’t essential, experience that may or may not be necessary, the ability to work with a certain manager, and so on.

Don’t: Succumb to the Halo Effect

If you like a favorable trait about the candidate, such as the way they look, don’t let this sway your judgment about their interview responses. The same can be true in reverse direction, where a bad impression may sway your judgment unfavorably. Make your hiring decisions objectively and without bias.

Don’t: Talk Too Much

Resist the urge to tell the candidate about yourself, your ideas, and your experience. Set your ego aside and focus on getting the information you need to learn about the applicant.

Don’t: Be Impatient

Allow the candidate to finish what they’re saying. Interrupting them may deprive you of valuable information.

Don’t: Be Lop-Sided with Time

Part of being objective is spending equal amounts of time on each candidate. Scale your questions beforehand for the time allotted to interview and stay on target with each applicant.

Don’t: Jump the Gun

Wait until after you’ve had a chance to compare all candidates before you allude to any hiring decisions. Remember, interviews are for gathering data to be analyzed after meeting with all scheduled applicants.

Final Thoughts

The interview process is critical for both the applicant and the employer to give a good, positive impression. If the applicant walks away after having a negative interview experience, you may lose a loyal customer and never get a second chance to fix it. (And you might even read about it online!)

To get a free copy of our comprehensive interview guide, please contact your certified HR expert. Not a current Stratus HR client? Book a consultation and our team will contact you shortly.


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