Ten Common Interview Mistakes: How to Make the Big Day a Treat Instead of a Treatment

By Paul Feeney Managing Director, Sanford Rose Associates - Wayne | October 28, 2008

The job candidate hopes that he or she will find the perfect next place of employment - bright people working for a great organization that has its act together and operates with a powerful sense of purpose and high degree of urgency.

The employer, likewise, hopes to find that rare individual who walks on water and motivates others to follow.

Yet sometimes, for a variety of reasons, the parties fail to put their best foot forward, spend a frustrating day learning little about each other and part company uncertain about the outcome.

Much has been written about the interviewing mistakes that candidates make. Less has been written about the other half of the equation. But, as one byproduct of tens of thousands of candidate debriefings after their "blind dates" were over, Sanford Rose Associates has compiled a list of 10 common employer mistakes, along with some practical suggestions for avoiding them.

1. The interview got postponed - again and again and again.

Good recruiters sell urgency to candidates and promise decisiveness on the part of employers. That's because it is difficult to create excitement about tentative situations. In recent years, however, with productivity and multi-tasking the order of the day, corporate managers are overburdened and their schedules in a state of flux. While it's thoroughly understandable to them why their daily plans change from moment to moment, it creates doubts on the part of the candidate: just how important is the job and how urgent is the need to fill it? Therefore, try to schedule interviews for Mondays and Fridays, when people are most likely to be in town. Build redundancy into the interviewing team, so that one person's absence does not kill the day. If a truly vital member (for example, the CEO) bails, schedule a second interview but don't cancel the first. Demonstrate urgency and control.

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