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What are the common Interview problems? (+How To Overcome Them)

Andrew Langat
February 24, 2023
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"There is a way to do it better — find it." — Thomas Edison

The interview process is a mirror through potentials - employer and employee - get to size each other up. Each party arrives at this stage with great expectations of being a perfect match.

However, things don't always go as per the script leading to hiring the wrong candidate.

According to research done by career builder, interview problems are common, leading to up to 74% of companies hiring the wrong person.

How do hiring managers avoid these scenarios and ensure the process is fair and delivers the right person?

This article shall detail the nine common interview problems and how to improve your they can be overcome.

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9 Common Interview Problems and How to Overcome Them

Here are the ten common interview problems and how to overcome them

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1. Lack of Proper preparation

That a lack of proper preparation is a sure way to fail aptly applies to the interview process. Whereas most emphasize the need for job candidates to prepare adequately, it is the onus of the hiring manager to prepare adequately.

It is important not to be cocky and assume that a cookie-cutter approach will always work like clockwork. This is because not two job interview processes are the same; you will encounter candidates with different personalities and skill sets.

Without proper preparations, you will likely make errors such as wrong scheduling, a hiring process without a clear pattern, and a poor job description(remember that a job description is part of the interview process).

How to overcome a lack of preparation

To properly prepare for job interviews, do the following:

  • Learn how to organize an effective meeting. Remember that job interviews are meetings and should follow the format of effective meetings.
  • Take time and research the candidates well. Know their full names, do a Google search, visit their LinkedIn profiles, read their blog post if available, etc. This will also give you adequate time to discover red flags.
  • If you a hiring manager and you need an interview panel. Only add persons who enrich the process(e.g., better technically placed). Avoid adding buddies or using the same people for each interview process.
  • Don't sacrifice quality over speed. This means that you should make the recruitment process as detailed as possible. For, rely on something other than the common interview questions found online(most candidates know this), but develop standard interview questions.

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2. Interviewer Bias

Humans are generally hard-wired to have biases.

Some of which we unconsciously hold. Unchecked, they affect how we approach the interview process.

Biases can manifest in different ways, from the interview questions, confirmation bias, racial bias, affinity bias, portraying the wrong body language, etc.

For example, the interviewer might decide that the interviewee has inconsistency in their work because they fail to perform well in a given interview area(horn effect).

How to overcome interview bias

First, understand that having bias is human. Secondly, learn how you can avoid biases you hold. This can be through seeking a leadership coach or self-education on what entails biases. With this, do the following:

  • Practice objectivity and avoid the temptation to fall for superficial evaluations. This means the entire interview must be structured objectively - avoid the frivolous, and aim to get the right person for the job.
  • When doing panel interviews, get people with diverse backgrounds. This can be a wonderful way of eliminating an unconscious bias. For example, having a mixed-gender panel can eliminate gender bias
  • Have structured criteria for scoring candidates. The more standardized the process, with a scoring system, the lesser the chances of biases affecting the outcome.

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3. Interview Fatigue

Interview fatigue refers to the mental and physical exhaustion that job seekers experience during the interview process.

It is a common phenomenon, especially when candidates must attend numerous in-person interviews.

These fatigues can be caused by factors such as the pressure to perform well, unclear interview questions, poor communication from the interview panel, poor interview skills, the need to travel to and from the panel, etc.

How to overcome interview fatigue

To overcome interview fatigue, do the following:

  • Space interviews strategically: space out interviews in a way that works for both parties. This is best done during the preparation stage and learning about time management.
  • To adequately prepare, estimate the time taken for each interview stage. e.g., if the first stage interview takes 20 minutes, do you need the candidates to be in person, or can you do it over the phone?
  • Schedule regular breaks: After each interview, take a break to rest, relax and reflect. This gives you time to recharge and ensures you approach each interview process with the same level of clarity.
  • For priority candidates, accelerate the process as other potential employers may snap them. Do this by eliminating unnecessary steps.
  • Give room for flexibility. For example, the agenda is not accomplished as scheduled. Create time for this. Although this can come at a cost to the company, it will ensure the process is comprehensive.
  • Limit interview stages. Whereas this can vary depending on circumstances, the fewer, the better. A study done by Google established that a maximum of four interviews are enough to make a hiring determination.

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4. Unethical Interview Behaviors

Unethical interview behaviors refer to any practices or actions during a job interview that is unfair, discriminatory, violate the candidate's rights, or are illegal.

Some examples of unethical interview behaviors include:

  • Discrimination based on race, gender, disability, sex, etc.
  • Soliciting for personal favors. This can range from bribes, sexual favors, or threats.
  • Sharing confidential information with third parties. This violates the right to privacy and can be classified as illegal behavior. Confidential information can include health status, contact details, and financial status.

How to overcome unethical interview behaviors

To overcome unethical interview behaviors, observe the following:

  • As part of company policy, clearly state the code of ethics that governs the recruitment process.
  • Clearly structure interview questions to avoid questions that violate personal space. Questions such as marital status, sexual orientation, etc.
  • Give room for anonymous feedback.

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5. Asking Bad Interview Questions

Bad interview questions can negatively affect the interview process. Not only does it intimidate candidates, but it also leads to a loss of reputation. Some examples of bad interview questions:

Personal questions: Ask questions that add no value to the interview process. Asking about marital status, religion, political views, or sexual orientation. For example: "How is your childhood affecting your career?", "What is your greatest weakness?"

Leading questions can create bias or confusion in the interview process. For example, asking questions such as "Why did you leave your last job?" may lead to negative or biased responses limiting the ability to assess the job seeker's objectiveness.

Hypothetical questions: Asking hypothetical or can be confusing and add no value. For example: "tell us about when you were happiest at your previous job?"

Closed-ended questions: Asking closed-ended questions that only require a yes or no answer can limit the candidate's ability to provide a detailed response and may not be useful in assessing their qualifications.

How to avoid asking bad questions

To avoid bad questions, use the following:

Prepare a list of job-related(relevant) questions: Before the interview, create a list of questions directly related to the job position and the candidate's qualifications. Focus on questions that assess the candidate's skills, experience, and abilities to perform the job duties.

Ask open-ended questions: open-ended questions allow the candidate to provide detailed answers. This enables the candidates to give honest answers as they don't feel constrained. An example of an open-ended question is "tell me about yourself."

Listen actively: Listen to the candidate's answers and ask follow-up questions based on their responses. Some of the skills for active listening include: maintaining eye contact, listening without judging, and not interrupting.

Train interviewers: Provide training on best practices, how to test for problem-solving abilities, company policy, best practices, etc.

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6. Not Interviewing and Understanding the Whole Person

This means considering other aspects that make an individual. This is commonly known as hiring the head, heart, and briefcase.

The Head encompasses a person's cognitive abilities that can be measured in an interview process. For example, are they able to conceptualize the business process?

The Heart represents the interest and values that align with the company ethos. This can be tested via structured interview questions.

The Briefcase represents a candidate’s knowledge, skills, and experience.

This is important because the job seeker will come as a package once you make a hiring decision.

How to interview and understand the whole Person

To interview the whole person, do the following:

Look for nonverbal cues: Keenly watch for body language and facial expressions. Pay attention to these cues as they reveal an interviewee's personality.

Use empathy: Try to put yourself in the interviewee's shoes and see things from their perspective.

Check for emotional intelligence. This is especially important if you are recruiting for a leadership position. Emotional intelligence in leadership can comprise a high degree of social awareness and relationship management.

Check out the soft skills. For example, ask the candidate, "how is your work ethic?"

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7. Poor communication Etiquette

Poor communication etiquette in interviews can significantly affect the interview outcome. Some examples of poor communication etiquette in interviews include:

Poor Body Language: The body language speaks volumes about your professionalism. Avoid slouching, fidgeting, or avoiding eye contact with the interviewees.

Using Unprofessional Language: Using unprofessional language during an interview can be a major turn-off for the interviewer.

Interrupting the job candidate: Interrupting the candidate shows a lack of respect and listening skills.

How to properly communicate with the Interviewing candidates

  • Use the correct body language. Sit up with your back straight, make and maintain eye contact, and show enthusiasm through facial expressions.
  • Use correct language. For example, avoid using slang, profanity, or offensive language. Keep your language professional and polite.
  • Don't interrupt candidates. To stop interruption, allow the candidate to finish their sentences and ask your questions afterward.

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8. Not offering Timely Feedback

Not offering timely feedback to job candidates after an interview can negatively impact the candidate's experience and can induce anxiety and fatigue.

Here are some reasons why offering timely feedback is important:

Improves candidate experience: When timely feedback is offered, candidates will likely have a positive experience.

Enhances candidate engagement: Timely feedback engages the candidates in hiring and maintains their interest in the company.

Enhances employer brand: A company that offers timely feedback brings an image of professionalism, respect, and care. This can positively impact the company's employer brand and attract top talent in the future.

How to offer timely feedback

Here are some tips on how to offer timely feedback to job candidates after an interview:

Set and manage expectations upfront: Inform candidates when they can expect feedback during the interview process. This could be immediately after the interview, same day, or within a certain timeframe.

Use a standardized feedback template: A standardized feedback template helps ensure consistency in feedback. The template should include specific feedback on the candidate's strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.

Offer constructive feedback: Feedback should be constructive and specific to the candidate's performance during the interview. Be sure to focus on their skills and qualifications rather than personal attributes. Also, provide specific examples to illustrate your feedback.

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9. Not Managing Job Candidate's Expectations

Not managing job candidates' expectations during hiring can lead to misunderstandings, frustration, and negative experiences.

Here are some reasons why managing job candidate's expectations are important:

  • Builds trust: Being transparent and honest with candidates about the hiring process and job requirements builds trust and credibility. It demonstrates the company's commitment to treating candidates fairly and respectfully.
  • Reduces candidate drop-off: If job candidates are unclear on the hiring process and what to expect, they may drop out before completion. This can lead to a smaller pool of candidates, further prolonging the hiring process.
  • Improves communication: Managing job candidates' expectations requires clear communication about the process and the job requirements. This can improve communication between the hiring team and the candidate and ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Attracts top talent: Companies that manage job candidates' expectations well are more likely to attract top talent. Candidates want to work for companies that treat them respectfully and communicate clearly during the hiring process.

How to Manage job candidates' expectations

Here are some tips for managing job candidates' expectations during the hiring process:

  • Be transparent: Before recruiting, be transparent about the job description, what qualifications and skills are required, and what the company culture is like. This will help candidates decide if the job is a good fit for them and avoid misunderstandings later.
  • Provide a clear timeline: Before interviewing candidates, it's important to provide a clear timeline of the hiring process, including when candidates can expect to hear back after each stage. This can help manage their expectations and reduce anxiety and frustration.
  • Communicate regularly: Regular communication with candidates is key to managing their expectations. Let them know when you have received their application, when they can expect to hear back, and what the next steps will be. This can be done via email, phone, or text message.
  • Be responsive to questions: Candidates may have questions or concerns throughout the hiring process. It's important to be responsive and provide answers as quickly as possible. This can help to build trust and keep candidates engaged in the process.
Inspiring, isn’t it ? Want to learn more about connecting self-awareness to professional development? Get in touch today.

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Let Highrise make the Process Seamless.

Interviews can be challenging and stressful for both parties. Coaching can be an effective way to overcome interview problems.

At Highrise, we offer coaching services that help you give & receive feedback, communicate better, develop authentic leadership, and develop leadership development and recruitment strategies to facilitate your thought process.

Explore our membership today.

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Andrew Langat
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Andrew Langat is an experienced content specialist in Leadership, Productivity, Education, Fintech, and Research. He is an avid reader and loves swimming as a hobby. He believes that quality content should be actionable and helpful.