Conducting Hiring Interviews: The Top 3 Rookie Mistakes

The Top Three Rookie Interviewing Mistakes & How To Avoid ‘Em!

Hello Guerrilla Tribe! It’s Friday as I write this note and here in Canada, it’s the Thanksgiving long weekend! I hope your week has been awesome. I know mine has! It’s also been extremely productive and busy, hence my tardiness in getting my weekly note out to you. :-\

This week my note is aimed right at you, the busy entrepreneur/small business owner. Let’s talk about the rookie mistakes of hiring managers when it comes to the hiring interview (and how to avoid ’em).

One of the most frequent (and important) questions I get from aspiring hiring interviewers is: “What are some of the key mistakes I should avoid that will save me the most time, money and aggravation?”

No shame in mistakes. I know throughout my career, I’ve made about 3,939,454,695.5 mistakes…every single day!

I’ve wasted time. I’ve wasted money. It sucked. And I don’t want you to go through that if you are just starting OR your hiring practices are a bit “stuck” or even “broken”. Through thousands of conversations with aspiring, rising and successful interviewers, I see the same mistakes over and over and over again that are holding people back from massive success.

Check out my brand new video for you to take years off your learning curve:

Interview Bias Is Real! 🙂

In the meantime, here is my:

Top 3 Biggest “Rookie Mistakes” Hiring Interviewers Make (and how to avoid ’em!)

Mistake #1 – Trusting first impressions

It’s estimated that 70% of the time, interviewers make their decision on whether to hire the candidate they’re interviewing, within the first 5 minutes of the meeting. So what’s the big rush to confirm or reject a candidate so quickly?

Well, it seems we can’t help putting our personal biases into play as soon as possible after we meet someone. I suppose this is the social part of our nature: Always looking for ways to either bond with or reject new people who come our way, even when it comes to something as critical to our businesses as a hiring interview.

How do we avoid this common trap? It’s really quite simple: Don’t spend the interview trying to validate your initial impressions. If you’re going to waste good interview energy on first impressions, then spend the time finding reasons to dispell them. Better yet, why not just go ahead and prepare/plan a structured interview, complete with well-researched behavioural and situational questions, to ensure you confirm with confidence whether the candidate can actually do the job. This will also help YOU as the interviewer to stay on track and on task with the interview process, rather than looking for what sports teams you both cheer for or whether or not you go to the same restaurants!

Mistake #2 – Lack of Job/Position Clarity

Being misdirected or unclear about the job (as well as the skills, traits, etc. the ideal candidate possesses) can lead to a potentially bad hire. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen hiring managers and business owners go into an interview with only a very vague idea of what it is they’re actually looking for. One of the most important things to do to help avoid this potential hiring fiasco, is to prepare and research the job you’re hiring for before you even start looking for someone to fill it.

A best practice I’ve used to prepare, is to take the job profile or description, and a- make sure it’s accurate and up-to-date, then b- go through the profile and highlight my top 3-5 ‘must have’ job skills & qualifications. This helps me get a very clear idea of what I’m really looking for in a candidate. Once I know this, the next step is to develop specific behavioural and/or situational questions that tie directly back to the top 3-5 list.

Going into your interviews with a concrete idea of the job’s responsibilities and the skills needed to succeed in that position, make it so much easier to stay on track and actually find the person you’re looking for. 

Mistake #3 – No Hiring Strategy

One of the most critical mistakes a company can make is failing to define its hiring strategy before beginning a hiring process. A question I ask all my business clients who want to hire is, “Do you have a hiring/recruiting strategy that’s tied to the needs of the business?” More often than not, the answer is ‘no’, or ‘not sure’. My next question seems obvious: “If you don’t have a plan for why/what/how/when you’re hiring, how will you know if you should be doing it?”

The bottom line is: Business strategy is key not only in pursuing business growth, but also in knowing who you need to bring along for the ride!

There you go! My top 3 Rookie interview mistakes! Hope this was helpful and I trust you will also enjoy this related video on ‘Interview Bias Is Real’.




Want more of the latest technology for conducting results driven hiring interviews? Grab your free copy of the Guerrilla Guide to Interviewing and get ready to find the best employees ever!

Smart hiring interviews are all about getting the BEST qualified candidate, using the MOST accurate and up-to-date interviewing techniques. That also happens to be the purpose of this powerful gem. Get yours free right here!

Then leave a comment below on your experience, thoughts or advise on the above ideas.

Want to put an end to ineffective, inaccurate and time-wasting hiring interviews? Please share this post with your network!


Lee Hodgins, CPHR works with business owners, hiring managers, executives and entrepreneurs to leverage the power of hiring interviews to dramatically boost their effectiveness and accuracy in finding the most qualified job candidates. More information is awaiting you online at

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