Four interviewing myths

Hiring great people can be tricky and there is a ton of information out there about what are the best ways to interview prospective candidates. Unfortunately you are going to run into a lot of conflicting opinions about the best way to conduct interviews. Here are four interviewing myths that you might want to avoid.

I ran across an interesting blog post (actually quite a few interesting posts) at a site called The posts were written by Barry Shamis who has been working in the hiring business since 1984. He has been exploring, testing, learning, teaching, and writing about the hiring and recruiting process for decades and he has some pretty good ideas that sometimes fly in the face of standard industry opinions.

One article I ran across, Interviewing Myths, brings up some interesting points (you can read the full post here).

Barry’s first myth is something we should all consider when hiring a new employee; interview behavior equals job performance. This is something that we often forget and yet is so obvious. Just because someone does well (or not so well) in an interview doesn’t necessarily translate to how well they can perform on the job. Interviews are stressful (for both the candidate and the interviewer) and the situation is unique. Keep that in mind as you make your decisions.

The second myth is; open-ended questions are best. As Barry points out, once you have asked an open-ended question you have essentially lost control of the interview, the answers you get may not be the answers you need from a prospective employee, and finally, they put the candidate under tremendous stress. A potential sales person might stumble when they have to ad lib but in the real world they would never go on a sales call without being fully prepared ahead of time (at least they should be prepared).

The third myth is one we probably all fall victim to; gut-feel makes great decisions. If someone triggers a strong gut feeling – either positive or negative, Barry suggests you stop and ask yourself ‘what triggered these feelings’ and ‘how do these feelings translate into how well (or poorly) the candidate will likely perform on the job?’ He doesn’t say ignore your feelings altogether – if you something about the candidate drives you crazy during the interview you may be stuck with them for a long time to come.

Finally his last myth; you should evaluate candidates against each other. As Barry states in his post “if you have a good profile, have asked good questions in the interview and evaluated properly, you only need to compare candidates against your standard, not against each other.” Of course you need to create a meaningful profile of the ideal candidate ahead of time and Barry has many other posts on his site that can help you do that.

Interviewing new hire candidates can be stressful and tiring. For most of us interviewing is not something we do on a daily basis. It’s worthwhile doing a little research into interviewing techniques and is a good place to start.

Guy Wright

Guy Wright has been covering the technology space since the days when computers had cranks and networks were steam powered. He has been a writer and editor for more years then he cares to admit.


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