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5 Potentially Costly (But Fixable) Interview Mistakes for Employers

Stacy Pursell

The VET Recruiter ®

I’ve written before about the fact that the margin of error in the current marketplace is small for Animal Health and Veterinary employers. (See Why Hiring Mistakes Are Magnified Under Current Market Conditions.”)

Since I wrote that previous article, nothing has changed in the marketplace. If something has changed, it’s this: the margin of error for employers has become even smaller. There is a great demand for top talent in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. What’s also true is that there is a lack of qualified talent for some openings, especially technical roles, at least when compared to the number of openings employers are attempting to fill.

The majority of mistakes that employers commit occur during the hiring process, and many of those mistakes are made during the face-to-face interview. For multiple reasons, the interview is one of the most pivotal stages of the hiring process, from the point of view of both the employer and the candidate. That’s because both parties are attempting to “sell” to each other.

The problem for some hiring managers and company officials is that they forget (or they’re not aware of) the extent to which they must “sell” the opportunity and their organization. That’s when the mistakes happen. As we’ve discussed, employers can’t afford to make mistakes in this current market if they wish to successfully hire top talent.

Identification and elimination

Most hiring managers are aware of the big mistakes they should avoid, but even small mistakes can have a negative impact on the hiring process. That’s why those mistakes should also be identified and eliminated.

Below are five potentially costly (but fixable) interview mistakes for employers:

#1—Asking “Why are you leaving your current employer?”

You should not ask this question unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the candidate is planning to leave their current employer. After all, they could just be “testing the waters.” From their perspective, if your organization is not able to offer something that is clearly better than their current employment situation, then they’ll simply stay right where they are. Just because they’re interviewing with your organization does NOT automatically mean that they’re unhappy with their current employer and planning to leave. Making that assumption could turn the candidate off.

#2—Holding too many rounds of interviews

You may think that four, five, or six rounds of interviews are necessary to adequately screen your candidates, but there’s a point at which it does more harm than good. That point is when top candidates in your process have decided to drop out because the process is lasting too long or because they accepted an offer from another employer. (More than likely, that employer did NOT have four, five, or six rounds of interviews.) The goal of the interview process is not to “grill” or endlessly interrogate candidates. If they feel that way, top candidates will drop out.

#3—Asking the same questions over and over

By this, I don’t mean the same person asking the same questions over and over. I mean different people asking the same questions over and over because those company officials who are part of the interview process are not sharing and comparing notes with one another. This stems from a lack of planning before the interview and then poor communication during the interview process. If candidates feel as though they have to repeat themselves for no apparent reason, they will grow weary of the process and question whether or not they really want to work for your organization. They will also feel your process is unorganized

#4—Not asking the candidate if they have any questions

I tell candidates that they’re breaking a cardinal rule if they don’t ask questions during the interview. It can be a big “red flag” for hiring managers, essentially telling them that the candidate is not interested enough in the position to ask even a single question. However, candidates usually wait to ask most of their questions until after one of the interviewers asks them if they have any questions. They might ask a few here and there throughout the interview, but they typically wait until the end. So if you don’t ask if they have any questions, they will more than likely feel confused at best and cheated at worst.

#5—Resting on your “organizational laurels”

It does NOT matter if your organization or company is considered to be among the best within your industry. In today’s market, you still have to pay the proper amount of attention to the interview and to candidates who are participating in the hiring process. Just because your organization is considered prestigious in some fashion doesn’t mean that you can “skate by” during certain parts of the interview or fail to prepare properly. You still have to “sell” yourself to candidates, especially top candidates. They are not easily impressed.

Minor mistake = major problem

As you can see, these are not major, ground-breaking mistakes. In fact, some of them seem quite minor. The problem, once again, is that the margin of error for employers is thin. That means even a minor mistake can cause a major problem. And by a major problem, I mean one of the top candidates in your hiring process dropping out of the process and no longer wanting to be employed by your organization.

Don’t fall prey to making these kinds of mistakes. You can’t simply try to “gloss over” them. In this candidate-driven market, candidates are highly sensitive to everything they see and hear during the interview. Remember that employer branding is not just for those Animal Health or Veterinary professionals who are currently your employees. Employer branding is for every professional with whom you come into contact, and that definitely includes every candidate who is part of your organization’s hiring process, especially the interviewing stage of that process.

Hiring mistakes are magnified under current market conditions. So strive to make as few of those mistakes as possible.

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1. By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.


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