I’ll Give You My Shoes If I Get the Job…and Other HR Tales of Interviewing Mistakes

HR professionals are the ones who are on the front lines when it comes to bringing in new people to join the workforce. They are also the ones who have some pretty funny stories to tell. When dealing with people, you just never know what to expect. Here are just a few tales of interviewing gaffes to make you smile.

Sharon Armstrong is an HR business consultant and author of The Essential HR Handbook. She recalls one candidate who greeted his interviewer by saying, “I really relate to short women,” and another who offered the interviewer the shoes off her feet if she got the job.

One HR director recalls a job seeker who asked to be reimbursed for the gas and parking expenses he had to spend for attending the interview. Another recruiter needed to hire an assistant. One candidate he interviewed had the ideal mix of industry experience and skill. However, the recruiter later learned that the candidate had been rude to a member of the staff in the waiting area. It was too late, and the hire had been made. The result was not good. His new assistant was a nightmare. He was often late, would disappear for hours on end and make inappropriate comments to staff. It all ended in the employee being let go and the recruiter being back to square one.

Seriously, all kidding aside…

Harvard Business Review estimates that as much as 80 percent of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions. So, what can employers and hiring managers do? Once hiring managers realize they have hired the wrong person, they tend to look back on warning flags that they ignored, because he or she was perfect on paper. For instance, a gut instinct may have communicated, “He’s a little off, but man can he sell.”

Next time, avoid gut-level decisions and focus on collecting more objective data. For example, consider implement the following into your applicant screening process:

  • Cut them off at the pass. Start with a selective screening process that will save you the time of interviewing a candidate who is not a good cultural fit. You want to do this before the interview takes place.
  • Oh behave! Conduct behavioral interviews. An unstructured interview is not good for anyone. To get quality hires, it’s key to conduct more structured interviews and processes.
  • Ditch the phone calls. Online reference checking is more predictive that traditional phone-based reference checking.

By incorporating just a few simple steps, you’ll save time, hiring headaches and you won’t have to worry about shoe size.



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