How to Lose a Good Candidate in 10 Ways

Interview Tips for 2014

The New Year often comes with a new wave of hiring. Success-driven employees make resolutions to climb the corporate ladder while others just decide it’s time for a change. December graduates have their diplomas in hand to break into their desired industry. With all of these new year changes, it’s an excellent time to evaluate your hiring practices and adjust those interviewing tactics, if necessary.

Career Marketplace recently interviewed job seekers about their worst interview experiences. These top candidates shared their interview experiences that went awry and sufficiently scared them off from wanting any position with the company.

1) Overshare during the Interview

Do you have a nasty foot-fungal infection? Were you involved in a government scandal that made the newspapers? Be sure to tell the candidate ALL the details. Feel free to tell your life story. These tactics will quickly show the candidate that you are lacking in social skills. He or she will dash out of your office, and you will lose a good candidate.

Interview Tip:  We all go through rough patches in life. But, save it for your counselor or your best friend. Interviews are business not pleasure, so don’t bring your personal junk into them even if you feel comfortable with the candidate. If you’re not sure if an anecdote is appropriate, then don’t mention it.

2) Bad-Mouth Customers

Do your customers display a bad habit? Is there a particular customer who drives you crazy? Describe the bad habits in detail and mention any delinquent customers by name. Make fun of these customers during the interview to blow off some steam.

Interview Tip:  If you’re interviewing a good candidate, they’re probably a stranger to you. You don’t know who they know or what bad habits they possess. One time I was in an interview with an employer who bad-mouthed a particular customer. Not only did I know this person but I possessed the same “bad” habit. I didn’t say anything during the interview, but I decided that I wouldn’t work for a disrespectful person.

3) Make an Offensive or Inappropriate Joke – Break the Law!

Do you know a discriminatory joke? Do you have an inappropriate personal story which you can relate to the candidate? These are sure-fire ways to make the candidate feel uncomfortable!

Interview Tip:  Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are not permitted to discriminate or sexually harass a candidate during the interview process. This is serious. Your off-colored remarks could implicate your business. If you have to preface a story by assuring the candidate that you’re not trying to be inappropriate, then you shouldn’t tell the story at all.

4) Display your Disorganization or Anxiety 

Do you have a cluttered office? Are there mounds of paperwork piling up? Make sure to host the interview there. Misplace the candidate’s resume which she previously sent to you, but blame her for not bringing a copy. This tactic will show the candidate that she’ll be responsible for during her job AND your job, too.

Interview Tip:  If you have a cluttered office and no time to organize it because you’re swamped, then host the interview somewhere else.

5) Admit that you have NO idea what are you doing!

Todd Schmitt

Did you just recently get hired? Are you the Ron Swanson of the Office? (In NBC’s Parks and Rec, Ron Swanson is the boss who defers all responsibility to his assistant.) Just admit it to the candidate, it’ll make you feel better.

Interview Tip:  If you just got hired or you’re still learning your own job, assume a confident attitude and ‘fake it til you make it’. This approach will keep the interview focused on the job position and the candidate, and not on your inexperience.

6) Rehash stories of your past failures

Did you take this job because you couldn’t make it in your last job? Tell the candidate all about it. It’ll make them feel great about their job prospects! (Sarcasm.)

Interview Tip:  Avoid negativity during all job interviews. This should be a rule-to-live-by for employers and job seekers. If you feel like you failed in the past, let it go and move forward. So often people focus on negativity during interviews. It makes interviews uncomfortable for all parties. Stick to the point of the interview: the job and the candidate.

7) Yell at your Secretary!

Do you have a short temper? Are you impatient? Co-dependent? Make sure the candidate gets the full picture by the way you admonish your employees. Don’t hold back!

Interview Tip:  Be nice to your employees. At minimum, be nice during an interview so you don’t lose a good candidate. Need we say more?

8) Start the Interview an Hour Late

Does your internal time-clock run an hour too slow? Start the interview late and make the candidate late for his next appointment.

Interview Tip:  If you want to show good candidates that you respect their time, then you will do what is necessary to start the interview on time.

9) Hurry the Candidate Out the Door at the End of the Interview

Did you book a personal appointment right after the interview? Or, are you just tired and ready to go home? Rush the candidate out of your office immediately following the interview.

Interview Tip:  You will make the candidate feel unwelcome. Take the extra five minutes to calmly usher the candidate out of the office. It’s worth the extra time to end the interview on a positive note.

10) Inform the Candidate that the Job is a Lesser Position than Advertised

Did you advertise an entry-level position as a mid-level role to draw better candidates? Make sure to mention that detail midway into the interview. You will surely lose a good candidate.

Interview Tip:  Worthy candidates won’t work for an employer who deliberately misrepresents the position. You’re more likely to hire a qualified candidate if you honestly represent the position.

Do you have savvy interview tips for 2014? Do you have interview horror stories? Tell us about them!

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