When it comes to making mistakes, it’s easier for interviewers to get away with plenty than it is for candidates to get away with one. The numbers back it up!

About 74% of employers say that they have hired the wrong person for a position at least once, and the average cost of this mistake is a whopping $15,000 per candidate. But that’s not all. The average cost of losing a good hire is double that!

Bad interviews are blots on your employer brand and might be an unrecognized plague on your hiring success. One study suggests that 69% of candidates will not join a company if they have a bad interview experience. The same study reveals that 82% of hiring managers believe there is little to no negative impact of a bad interview process on the company.

See where this is going?

Hiring mistakes are costly, both in the short and long term. While it may take you a while to restructure an impeccable hiring process, here are some easy-to-avoid errors that your interviewers can stop making today.

Ghosting or being late to interviews

It’s common for hiring managers and interviewers to believe that leaving candidates waiting makes a strong statement. By being late, you’re tilting the scales of power and reasserting your control over the process. Sounds accurate, right?


Needless to say, unless there are unforeseen circumstances beyond your control, you should always show up on time and get started when the interview is scheduled. Remember that at this stage, candidates are still weighing you up and you know nothing about them. You might be pissing off the next Steve Jobs.

But beyond that, candidates just don’t take this lying down anymore. The vast majority will simply end the process if you try to make a power play of keeping them waiting for no reason.

Not being in sync with the hiring team

Candidates can tell when you haven’t spoken to the recruiter or hiring manager. Being unprepared for an interview and out of sync with what the candidate has been told reflects poorly on everyone. The subtext is that you didn’t care enough to make the effort to find out, or that your company is in a shambles when it comes to communication.

But there’s another possible aspect to this. If you don’t know what the rest of the hiring team is doing, they might not even be lining up qualified candidates. This is a serious productivity concern, and the only antidote is staying in touch constantly to avoid any kind of negative first impressions or time wastage.

Venting workplace frustration to candidates

This is unfortunately more common than most HR and talent acquisition professionals will admit. A frustrated, tired interviewer against a helpless candidate can only end one way: badly. They are far more likely than not to take their ire out on candidates, turning what should be a conversation into a passive 30 minutes of boredom. Or even worse, a lecture.

This is far from what the ideal interview process looks like (hint: it really should revolve around the candidate). While empathy and a genuine conversation are the key, it’s not so easy to conduct interviews during crunch times or after several others on the same day. Be mindful of your interviewer’s workload and be sure to limit how many candidates they speak to in a given period.

Not paying attention to candidates

Here’s a blueprint of a good interview:

  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Listen to every detail
  • Ask a relevant follow-up question
  • Listen to the answer intently
  • Repeat the process

Instead, many interviewers come across as disinterested or detached, leaving a significant dent on the morale of the candidates. These are people who’ve probably invested a significant amount of time and energy on your interview. Interviewers owe it to candidates to show genuine interest, be present, and complete a fair assessment in order to help hiring managers make the right decisions.

Asking unreasonable or inappropriate questions

If you’re comparing two different cars, you have to use the same parameters. Brand history, mileage, etc. If you judge one by how far it’s gone and the other by who manufactured it, you aren’t going to make a fair assessment.

When it comes to interviewing candidates, the answers you seek serve as these baseline variables. If you keep changing them from candidate to candidate, you’ll soon lose track of what you were trying to figure out in the first place.

Unfortunately, this is also a quick path to biased, unfair and inappropriate interview questions. Without a standard operating procedure, it’s difficult to be objective. That doesn’t mean you have to ask every candidate the same questions, but you should be trying to assess the same things.

  • Have a predefined list of assessment points for each candidate and add additional questions based on individual career history.
  • Complement this with a relevant marking or rating scheme to help keep track of different candidates and how they perform.
  • Focus on qualifiable aspects like attitude, aptitude and interpersonal skills.
  • Set an acceptable bandwidth to personalize the interview only after you cross the first three steps.

Scale back error, scale up hiring

A poor interview experience can take more than it leaves behind and cause irreparable damage. Websites such as Glassdoor allow candidates to share negative reviews within seconds, meaning your employer reputation is tarnished before the interviewee leaves your parking lot. If you truly want to succeed, help interviewers approach each session objectively.