Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Finding Good Interviewers Is Hard

Most people probably think going to an interview is hard.  For me, this has never been the case.  I've always been able to do well in interviews thanks to the fact I stick to my basic interview tips.

But the thing I'm finding to be very difficult is to find good interviewers.   I think most people are worse at being the interviewer than being on the other side of the desk.  What types of problems do I find?

  • Not going to the interview prepared

  • Not asking relevant questions

  • Not reading the job description

  • Having no goal in mind on what they want to discover about the candidate

  • Being non-committal in their feedback (not able to give a strong hire or no hire)

I think the problem for most people is that most people are never trained in how to give a good interview.  People are just told to go to the interview and ask questions.  So they ask questions that are not very good or or so general that they provide very little value.  Questions like, "Are you a good listener?"  How is the candidate going to answer anything but "Yes!" to that?

I'm not saying everyone has to be a great interview.  People just should not be put in that situation if they are not prepared for it.  I blame the company more than I do the people giving these bad interviews.  What do you think? If you interview people, did you ever get any training?  If not, how did you learn to give interviews?


  1. Most interviewers use their hunches about the candidate. I completely agree that many interviewers have no goal in mind on what they want to discover about the candidate. They talk to the candidate to see what unfolds. On my most recent interview, I spent more time talking about non-work related topics than the actual position. I had to steer the interviewer back to the job with my questions.

  2. part of the problem is the hiring manager doesn't always give clear direction either. But even when I have given very clear instructions on what I want each interviewer to get out of the interview, I often end up with very little that I asked for. Otherwise smart people give me really bad feedback.

  3. I find most interviewers just come in with a set of generic questions. "What are your weaknesses?" "Why do you think you you can do this job?" "What are your strengths?" They ask all candidates the same questions then compare which answers are the best. These generic questions are not bad per se... but the ultimate decision to hire relies heavily on interpersonal connection.