Recruitment Interview Pitfalls

Poor Interview Practices made by employers when recruiting

This article provides some common mistakes employers make in a recruitment and selection process.

These 10 mistakes can also provide useful tools if you are looking for a new job.

They will help you to understand what you ‘should’ expect from a professional recruitment and selection process.

Recruiting a new member of staff is an expensive and time-consuming business particularly if the employer gets it wrong.

The YouGov poll of over 2,500 people was commissioned by Capital Consulting. The main gripes from job seekers about the recruitment process are:

  • Lack of communication – 53 percent of people were aggrieved that no reason was given for not being offered the job.
  • Poor feedback –  51% stated that they did not receive any feedback after an interview

Other findings included:

  • 34 percent are asked irrelevant or stupid questions at interview
  • 30 percent are asked to do irrelevant tests
  • 26 percent of job seekers don’t like dealing with third parties and recruitment agencies – men (30 percent) dislike this more than women (20 percent)
  • 32 percent of people are sent details for jobs that do not meet their skills or salary expectations.

Common Mistakes made by employers 

1. The key to a successful interview is preparation by both parties

Failure to invest time and resource into preparing for interview results in the following:

a) Candidates are asked superficial questions about previous experience and are not probed to establish suitability and fit for the role

b) Subjective questions make it much harder to establish a level playing field for multiple interviewees and hence avoid bias.

For the candidate preparing is key to success

a) Provide evidence-based answers to Competency Interview questions

b) Prepare at least 5 questions to ask the employer.  ‘Don’t’ ask about salary in an interview – this question will switch the employer off instantly.

2. Not recruiting for a cultural fit – don’t employ clones

Employers do not want employees who are clones and all think in the same way. It is important that any new member of staff fits in with the rest of their team.

Their core values and personality need to align with the organisation and team they are working in.

It’s important they have similar ethics and values as well as the qualifications, skills and experience to do the role.

3. Relying solely on an interview

An interview is seen as an effective tool, however, decisions on hiring should not be made purely on the basis of an interview.

Predictive accuracy and selection processes show that an interview is only 62% accurate however assessment centres are 68%.

Combining several recruitment and selection techniques will provide greater accuracy and ensure that the employer gets the right person for the role.

The employer needs to include as much supporting material as they can when shortlisting.

This includes CVs, emails, cover letters, references, personal recommendations and their web presence and social media profiles.

4. Automatically rejecting overqualified candidates

When initially screening candidate CVs, it can be tempting to remove candidates who exceed the required experience; dismissing them as ‘overqualified’ and not matching the person specification.

In the current market, employers need to be taking advantage of the fact that there are some very qualified candidates available.

5. Job Descriptions and person specifications

Employers need to have a robust and properly prepared Job Description and Person Specification.

Vague and imprecise job descriptions also make shortlisting difficult which delivers unsuitable applicants.

6. Missing the opportunity to sell your organisation

Employers should never assume that there will be an abundance of good quality people wanting to work for them.

They still need to ‘sell’ the role or organisation and make people feel valued during the recruitment process.

Treating people well is important as this will help protect the brand image of the organisation.

Candidates that are rejected are potential advocates or supporters of the organisation.

7. Waiting for the perfect candidate

Perfect candidates are rare so it is important that the applicants meet the key requirements for the role (Job Description and Person Specification)

8. Asking ‘illegal’ interview questions

Nowadays we are protected by the ‘Equality Act’ 2010, however, employers still insist on asking illegal and discriminatory questions.

It is possible for employers to think they are innocently making conversation but they may actually be straying into potentially illegal areas.

Asking these questions can lead to litigation which is why planning the interview questions is essential.

9. Mishandling rejections and not supplying feedback

This is one of the most common mistakes made, as employers find it hard to devote time to candidates who have not made it through the interview process.

In addition to simply being courteous, employers must take time to give feedback to a rejected candidate.

This action can also benefit the recruitment process, the candidate and the employer brand.

10. Not checking references

A survey from the Society for Human Resource Management reports that 25 % of employers never check references.

This can leave the employer reliant on the candidate’s view of themselves, which can be accidentally or deliberately distorted.

Need help with your interviews? Would like to get the right skills for recruitment? Get in touch!

If you are looking for some help with interview preparation and/or interview technique,

We offer one to one coaching to help you to deliver a brilliant interview that gets you your ideal job.  

Don’t waste valuable time call Andree today at AFC Consultants on 07702 818665 or email us at 

We look forward to hearing from you.