Interview etiquette is a two-way street — candidates and interviewers both have to make a good impression.
Unfortunately, hiring managers — especially those with little interviewing experience — often do things or ask questions that will make candidates think twice about accepting an offer.
Here are the top 10 interviewer behaviors candidates hate, according to the report “Are You Failing the Interview?”, published recently by Development Dimensions International:
- Treating the interview like an interrogation (cited by 43% of respondents as a top problem) — The manager’s goal isn’t to uncover the candidate’s hidden flaws. It’s to make sure the candidate is the right fit for the job, which can only be done in a comfortable interview setting.
- Taking too long to call back (42%) — Just half the survey’s respondents said they were satisfied with how long they had to wait to hear back after an interview.
- Withholding information about salary, hours, expectations, etc. (39%) — This happens more often now, as previously high-ranked employees are applying for jobs at a lower level. But managers need to understand that painting a less-than-full picture of the job will likely come back to bite them once the person starts working.
- Keeping the candidate waiting (35%) — Managers have a lot to do, but scheduled interviews should take priority. If the boss doesn’t respect candidates’ time now, why would they expect it to change after they’re hired?
- Asking irrelevant questions (30%) — Some interviewers like asking off-beat, unexpected questions to keep candidates on their toes (for example, “If you were a fruit, what kind would you be?”). But most experts recommend sticking to job-related topics.
- Acting like they don’t have the time to talk (25%) — Candidates most likely took time off from another job, and they don’t want to be rushed through the interview.
- Being unprepared (22%) — Good candidates take the time to research the company — and they expect good hiring managers to become familiar with their resumes.
- Asking inappropriate questions (22%) — Managers often turn to off-limits topics without realizing what they’re doing. Questions that seem like harmless ice-breakers could offend some candidates — such as, “Where do you go church?” or “Are you married?”
- Never giving a candidate the opportunity to ask questions (12%) — Letting candidates ask questions is not only helpful for them, but the types of questions they ask can give a manager insight on whether the candidate’s a good fit.
- Having several interviewers ask the same questions (12%) — When there are multiple rounds, interviewers need to communicate to avoid an inefficient, repetitive process.
The bad news for interviewers guilty of those transgressions: 91% of candidates say the interviewer’s behavior has a big impact on whether they accept a job offer.
The best solution: training from HR. Less than half of managers said they’ve received on-the-job interview training.
You can download a copy of the report (PDF) here.