Some things in life can be done by “winging it,” where spontaneity is the name of the game. Perhaps it’s an unplanned road trip along the Pacific Coast Scenic Highway. Or an impulse purchase of something you’ve had your eye on for some time.

However, spontaneity doesn’t prove fruitful when it comes to interviewing for your open positions and may only lead to difficulties down the road. Failure to plan ahead and prepare for interviews can only create risk for you and your organization.

Mistakes in hiring do happen, but the more a manager can prepare in advance of the interview process, the better apt they are to hire the best candidate for the position and avoid unnecessary turnover that can cost thousands of dollars and impact the bottom line.

In Juli Bacon’s book, Six-Word Lessons on HR Practices for a Productive Workplace, Lesson 4 provides easy tips on avoiding questions and interviewing mistakes that could lead to costly hiring decisions.

Would you believe that many hiring managers often fail to create a job description for the position they are looking to fill? That would be analogous to hoping to make a perfect sourdough bread from scratch and not using a recipe to identify the necessary ingredients.

Starting with a detailed and legal summary of the position essential functions, job qualifications and physical requirements is a legal must, but it also proves extremely beneficial to narrow down your candidate questions.

Mistake #1: Asking the Wrong Questions
Speaking of interview questions, it is extremely important for hiring managers and those involved in the interview process to steer clear of any illegal and inappropriately designed questions that might land your business in legal hot water. The EEOC, Equal Pay Act and the Washington State Fair Chance Act are all laws that protect a candidate from being discriminated against based on their protected class, their gender, their family situation or their past criminal record.

Questions such as “How old are you?”, “Do you have children? Are you married?” or even the question of current salary are all to be avoided because they are viewed as discriminatory in nature and are illegal based on the federal and state protections.

Family life and current salary should be irrelevant as it relates to the role you’re trying to fill. Asking questions about the candidate’s job qualifications and ability to do the job are what matters when hiring the best applicant for the job.

Mistake #2: Lack of Transparency
The group interview process is a great way for hiring managers to utilize a team effort in recruiting a new team member, allowing them to gain valuable feedback from those individuals the candidate may end up working with. However, another common mistake hiring managers often make is failing to inform the candidate upfront what to expect throughout the process.

Interviewing for any new job can be nerve-wracking and difficult for even the most qualified of candidates, but showing up to an interview uninformed about what to expect is a problem a hiring manager can easily avoid. Hiring managers should be transparent with the candidate at all stages of the interview process, from the initial screening, to the first in-person interview, and to the end decision making communication. If planning to utilize a group panel or rotating team interviews, the hiring manager or recruiter should mention that upfront so the candidate isn’t caught off guard and put into an uncomfortable situation.

Mistake #3: Talking Their Ear Off
Clear communication and explanation of the job details and company culture is a critical component of the interview process. It’s as much about them as it is about the job and an interview is meant to be a two-way means of job and company fit for both the applicant and the hiring manager.

However, a hiring manager’s role in the interview process is to ask questions, then listen, listen, and listen some more. Silence can be golden when interviewing. Asking thorough follow-up questions is an opportunity for the manager to assess and drill down in the applicant’s experience, knowledge and skills. If a manager is too quick to jump in or fill the silence, they may miss out on nuggets of information that can be used to determine whether that candidate is a good fit.

Mistake #4: Untimely Follow-Up
There’s nothing worse for both an interested and qualified applicant and the hiring manager when communication seems to dry up after the interview. That can happen on both ends. A candidate can end up “ghosting” a hiring manager and disregard the attempts to reach out. Or, on the flip side, a hiring manager can allow too much time to pass before following up with a candidate about the status of the position.

Be courteous and respectful with your follow-up communications. Even if your internal hiring process takes longer than expected, reach out regularly to those you’ve interviewed to let them know where things stand, even if you haven’t made a decision yet.

The worst thing that can happen if you don’t is losing the candidate that you want.


Recruiting the right candidates takes effort, investment of time and money. Our recruiting experts are here to assist your business and to help you bring in the best candidate and best fit for you open position. Contact us now