Human Resources News & Insights

Why the interview process is flawed

In a time when finding the right people is more crucial than ever, there are a lot of theories on how companies can improve their interviewing and hiring processes. Guest poster Robin Melhuish weighs in on four key areas of concern.  



Even some of the most successful companies struggle to find the best talent. Poor hiring decisions are among the top reasons for high turnover, costing companies millions of dollars every year and much more in time and resources. Contributing to these poor hiring decisions? The flawed interview process that currently exists.

What’s so wrong with our current process and how can we turn it around? Here are several flaws in the process that might make you think twice about how you hire talent:

Inadequate training for interviewers

Most colleges and universities offer courses that teach students how to prepare for an interview, yet none place the same emphasis on teaching students how to properly conduct one. Sure, the majority may never be in a hiring position, but understanding the right way to conduct an interview is a benefit for everyone as it teaches you how to think like your interviewer.

Additionally, these undertrained hiring managers often conduct their interview in private with no monitoring. This means, when mistakes are made, they go not only unnoticed, but also tend to be repeated over and over.

Too much focus on education and experience

Recruiters and hiring managers spend just six seconds looking at each resume. In this time, 80 percent of their focus is placed on education and experience. While these are very important qualifications for a candidate to possess, soft skills are given almost no consideration at all.

You should evaluate your candidates’ soft skills such as communication, leadership, teamwork and attention to detail as carefully as you would their experience and education. You might find candidates that have the training and work history you desire, but if they lack the ability to communicate well and work effectively as part of the team, they’re not your top candidates.

Experience and education will tell you whether people have the capability to do a job, but soft skills will provide a better indication of how well they will do it.

Popularity contest

The interview process isn’t just about whether or not you “like” candidates or think you can work with them. Unless you’re the only other person in the company (or will be working with this person exclusively), it’s about more than just you. It’s about how the candidate fits within the culture of the entire company.

The flawed interview process evaluates candidates for their individual likability, but forgets to place them in the bigger picture of the company. If their values and mission don’t align with that of the company or the people with whom they’ll be working, even the nicest candidate won’t be the best fit for the job.

No checks and balances

As the interviewer, you often have the first and final say in whether or not a candidate is offered a position. This flaw can send good talent walking right out the door. What’s missing is checks and balances to ensure an objective decision is made.

A smart hiring process should include having the candidate meet with multiple people, either as separate interviews or in a group interview format, to counteract the bias of any one person. It’s equally important that the hiring process remain consistent from candidate to candidate to allow you to compare apples to apples.

Our flawed interview process has the potential to drain a company’s pool of talent and greatly hinder its bottom line with the high cost of turnover and poor hiring decisions. If we don’t start taking a more critical look at the way we evaluate talent, we’re sure to weaken this most valuable resource — and our company — as a result.

Robyn Melhuish is communications manager at, an Internet job board specializing in medical and pharmaceutical sales positions. 

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  1. Very well said. This is proof-positive that the best candidate does not get the job.

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