Advance Hiring Interview Skills That Improve Your Batting Average Part 7


The remarks here are my own opinion. I made the opinions based on my many years of work experience as a HR practitioner. You are entitled to accept, reject or ignore them.


Parts 3 to 8 will cover the interview proper. This part will cover the different types of job interviewers and the conduct of the interview. You will realise from this article that the biggest failure of employers is to take a good look at themselves and know themselves.

The goal of the HR practitioner is hire a suitable candidate rather than the best candidate. Most companies already have a viable business model running; so what is important is stability in business operations.

Most people generally stay in an organization where the pay is fair; where are given the opportunity to contribute; and are generally treated with respect and dignity.

Most HR practitioner makes the mistakes of thinking that their contributions to the interviewers is to assess the candidate in isolation. The truth is they need to assess the interviewers (hiring manager) and the business situation and ask themselves whether the candidate would be a good fit to the people and the business situations within the business units.

The other mistake is to think that it is always better to hire someone from a similar or same industry.


Being Interviewed By Outgoing Incumbent and Subordinates

If you applied for a job and are being interviewed by the outgoing job incumbent or your subordinates, it implies:

  • Your future boss either does not have the confidence to interview you alone.
  • Your future boss is afraid of her own staff (signs of poor staff discipline).
  • Your future boss does not have respect for you, the prospective staff (signs of favouritism).
  • Your future boss does not know the job well enough (signs of incompetency).
  • Your future boss does not know what is going on in the department or could not care less.

It is for these reasons, that as a HR practitioner, you should avoid making such common mistakes. In your Recruitment Policy, it also should lay out clearly the interview arrangements; including the interview panel and its constitution.

Interviewers Are Imperfect

Sometimes, you will encounter business unit heads or interviewers that were wrong hires; wrongly promoted or newly promoted or they could be given functions that they have no experience or qualifications to manage.The signs are obvious.

A third example is business unit heads that have no work experience or qualifications in their operational area. An example is a food and beverage director being given the area of facility management to manage.

You may have to find some ways to complement these weaknesses in your interview panel. You also should evaluate your interviewers and use the assessments for their performance appraisals and for training needs analysis.

Evaluate Your Interviewers

You should make it a practice to evaluate your interviewers should you be in the same interview with them. For obvious reasons, it should be done without them knowing it.

Good Interviewers

It is highly important that your interviewer is familiar with the work responsibilities and requirements of the job vacancy to be filled. The best interviewers have the experience, training and qualifications in that area and had worked their way up the ranks. In positions that involved international work, that interviewer should have relevant international experience as well.

The good interviewer would have reviewed the job description and job advertisement before the vacancy was posted. Before the interview, he would review the team and himself; and think about the strengths and weaknesses of the team members; as well as their different personalities. He is not looking for a warm body. He understands the importance of teams in business and want to do his best to create a team which the team members can work together.

Interviewers That Are Unprepared

This is a common sight. The bad interviewers do not prepare themselves. The worst ones go to the interview and at the interview, it is the first time that they read the resume.

Ambitious Interviewers

These are interviewers that brags about making changes and transformations but either underestimate the potential resistance to change or did not pre-determine if he has the authority or resources required to take actions.

Recently Promoted Interviewers

Quite often, staff are promoted to a supervisory or junior managerial position because they perform well in their current jobs. However, they may not be prepared for their new roles. The newly promoted would ask you to coach them on how to perform an interview or they may be too proud to ask for help

Junior Interviewers

These are usually supervisory or managerial staff with 3 to 6 years experience. As young people, they often make the mistake to think that they are successful in their jobs and they know all that they need to know.

They are likely to reject older and more experienced candidates for positions that reports to them. This also happens with supervisory or managerial staff that have 10 to 15 years experience. It breaks the principle “Hire somebody better than yourself.”

It is really the exposure that counts in work experience; less of the length of working experience. It makes no difference whether the work exposure is either positive and negative; what matters is the wisdom and learning gained from the exposure.

So if the business situations is uncharted, vast or complex, or if the business is going through great change for example the work covers a large geographical area; multiple projects; large teams stationed at multiple work-sites; when the hiring manager fails to consider the need to a older but more experience job candidate; he loses the advantage of somebody that may be familiar with such challenges and would be in a better position to steer the team through the rocks.

Retiring Interviewers

Sometimes these interviewers are deceitful characters. They probably have in the vocation or the job for a long time; lost their interest for the job; but needs to carry on working in order to make a living before calling it a day.

During the interview, they may highlight projects that the business units would be undertaking. However, once the job candidate is hired, the hiring manager offload his own workload, with the exception where he needs to meet with his bosses or in meetings where it is important that he shows up.

After the job candidate started on his job, he realizes that in addition to his job, he has to perform his boss’ work as well.

Incompetent Superiors

This is referring to superior that do not understand the subordinate’s job. There is a likelihood that there would be more than one interview arrangements and that this superior would want to see the interview evaluation completed by the first round of interviewers before conducting the second interview.

They may do it for 2 purposes:

  • Adopt (copy) the evaluation and conclusion made by the first panel.
  • If the job applicant fails after he starts on the job; push blame to the first panel.

Leaving Interviewers

People that are leaving the company are fully aware that they would not be around to assume the responsibility of their hiring decision. Their boss should be the one that should conduct the interview.

Interviewers Who Are Non-Functional Expert

This is a common problem. A common example is when a Finance Director hires a Human Resource Manager. If the job is routine, there will little problem in the hiring. However, the hiring manager will be less or unequipped to hire someone when the business is through a period or in need of great chnages.

Salesman or “Charming” Interviewers

This is a totally different face of the interviewer from what you normally see. There is something that he saw in the job candidate that makes him excited enough to want to hire the job candidate. So he set out to sell the vacancy to the candidate rather than spending his time to make sure that the candidate have the necessary competencies, work experience, educational qualification, training and attitude to do the job.

You should make an extra effort to use the interview as a tool to make up for this neglect that the hiring manager is showing. Make use of the interview evaluation form to record the interview assessment.

Selfish Interviewers

These are interviewers that see opportunities in the candidate that they can take advantage of for their own selfish reasons. Some examples include, take responsibilities for some of the interviewer’s work; to do work that the interviewer has no work experience or abilities to do.

Unfair Interviewers

These are the interviewers that give the business a bad name and may get the company into trouble for breaking employment related laws.

Some of the things that they do include:

  • Discriminatory hiring.
  • Hiring to create a specific type of social group.
  • Shortchanging the job candidate.
  • Interrogating the job candidate.

Secretive Interviewers

These are interviewers that wants to hide the truth about the challenges of the job. Examples hire as the replacement for the former job incumbent that is still within the same business premises but transferred to do another job; being hired into an undermanned team.

Interviewers That Hire to Build Social Groups

Some interviewers adopts a strategy to build a “gang” of like mind individuals. They think that this would enhance their power and ability to control. The common denominator would be obvious. The job candidates could all be his former staff. He could be hiring based on nationality, ethnic group or from a specific source, for example former military regulars.

Whenever there is a social group at work, negative consequences would happen because the social goup would be extremists.

The are no recruitment policy that I know of that protect the business against negative group dynamics. It would be good to take this up as a point to include in a hiring decision making checklist.

“My or the Highway” Interviewers

It is a sad part of working life that most workplace place conformity at the top of their priority. The greater the job applicant’s professional experience or standards, the more obstacles he is going to face when he enters an organization that is just to find someone to carry on with the ongoing routine, no matter how broken things are.

Idealistic Interviewers

These are the people who keep looking for the perfect job applicant. They do not realize that they have to take and work with the people that is available in the market.

These are a diffcult group of interviewers. They cannot come to their senses. Nobody get hires while the workload situation in the business unit deterioriates. After seeing 3 or 4 candidates, and providing them with the recruitment statistics, it is time to convince them to change their epectations.

Interviewers That Just Want a Warm Body

The term “warm body” refers to A common reason as to why some hiring managers are tempted to fill the job with a warm body is they do not want to do the job themeselves while searching for the right candidate.

As the HR practitioner, if you have sat in the interview and you have indicated in the candidate evaluation form that the candidate is a reject, please stick to your decision.

Difficult to Read Interviewers

There are interviewers that are hard to read.

  • Bad temper bosses
  • Bullies
  • Bosses that manage by intimidation and coersion.

One of the biggest problem in organizations have today is they do not have any means to deal such people especially people holding high authorities and prompt to adopt a hire and fire attitude.

Not many companies have Anti-Bullying policy; Manage Anger and Manage Conflicts training programs. Most disciplinary policy are hierarchial based rather than committee driven. In some cases, company do not have a performance improvement policy.

This is one of the dilemma that Human Resource practitioners have to face in filling vacancies.One way is to meet the candidate, even by skype, just to assess whether the candidate would able to manage his prospective boss if hired.

The source of the problem is the top management.It is not a lack of knowing that people are needed to work on the organiation’s tasks. It is not about dealing with the occasional people problem. It is the unwillingness to consistently and constantly reviewing individuals behaviors. It is a common state of neglect.