Candidate Interviews Can Go Too Far. Here’s How to Fix It.

As a hiring manager, it’s critical to learn as much about a candidate as possible, and the job interview is a great place to do that. But can you ask for too much information while quizzing a prospective employee? 

You might be surprised to learn the answer is yes. Even worse, in a job market that’s tighter than it’s been in many years, companies that drill a bit too deeply might find themselves missing out on a top performer.

How interviews can get off track

Of course, it’s important to fully understand a candidate’s background, work history, and skill set. But it’s also possible to go too far in seeking that information.

For instance: you’re interviewing a professional that’s held steady employment for the past decade. That person has shown results in their role, and perhaps gained increasing levels of responsibility along the way. However, there’s something nagging at you. Ten years ago, they left a position and there was a break before they were re-employed.

While it may be instructive to ask why, significantly more weight should be given to the candidate’s current work history – 10 years of solid experience without a gap is far more important than what happened long ago. Further, the candidate has likely grown since then, as evidenced by their most recent professional employment. A great candidate should not be turned away because of some arbitrary factor, particularly one from the distant past. 

3 steps for improving the interview process

Ensuring that hiring managers focus on the essential elements of an interview is in the best interests of an organization. Here are three strategies for making that happen.

  • Seeing is believing. From time to time, company leaders should sit in on the interview process. They’ll get a firsthand view of how interviews are being conducted, what questions are being asked, and how a candidate’s answers are being evaluated.

  • Get inside the decision making. Management should be informed why candidates are either selected or rejected. This will give insight into the criteria being used to make decisions, and could illuminate a bias or flawed reasoning that is harmful.

  • Training is critical. There should never be an assumption that a hiring manager knows how to interview. Provide regular training, from questions that should never be asked, including personal areas such as age or religious beliefs, to how to ask the right questions that draw out the information about a candidate that you need.

Amid a fierce competition for employees, it’s vital that your interview process is firing on all cylinders. The expert team at Alaant works with great companies every day to help make that happen. Is your organization in need of a tune-up? Contact us today and let’s get the conversation started!

About the Author

Miriam Dushane

Miriam Dushane, Managing Partner

Miriam is all in when it comes to doing whatever she can to help the Capital District grow and thrive. She is passionate about helping talented professionals find the right job and her work in the community is focused on furthering our area as a center of economic vitality. Miriam likes to garden and care for her pets. She is a member of an adult-only skate group where she rollerblades every week. She loves the Mets! And she is obsessed with vacuum cleaners; she really likes to vacuum and has 6 right now.