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Interviewing: Do you really know what you are doing?


Why selecting the best candidates NOW may define the future of your company.

Last month, Elizabeth Ambri, Branch Manager of Celebrity Lincoln and I conducted a workshop exclusively for Celebrity Staff clients on why managers should step back and evaluate their interview skills. We explained how doing so could benefit their company and offered specific tips on what they should do differently when interviewing.

I was amazed at the number of responses from owners and hiring managers prior to the workshop who felt they did not need this type of information. One business executive said, “I have been hiring for years and I know what I am doing.” 

That may be true, but even the best interviewers can learn a new tip here and there.  As a manager of a staffing firm, I am privy to “insider information” from job seekers about the interviews our clients conduct and let me just say . . . most of you could use some brush up on your interviewing techniques.

Candidates share details about what transpires at the interview and often ask us for our opinion because some candidates leave the interview not knowing how to feel about the process. While there are some interviewers who are prepared with meaningful questions that help identify if someone will “fit” into their company, most interviewers simply wing it. Literally.

Most of you think that candidates don’t realize that you are winging it, but you are wrong. Candidates can tell when you aren’t prepared to meet with them. They have to wait past their interview time, you don’t have a copy of their resume, you aren’t able to articulate details about the position, or you ask two or three questions and after 10 minutes you tell them you have no further questions. Some of you don’t explain anything about why someone would want to work for you other than, “it’s a job” and this is not a good enough reason.

One candidate shared that the hiring manager they met with told them they could not tell them anything about the company or department because no one told him. He was simply sent in to meet the candidate and had no idea why. Meeting a potential employee like this leaves a bad impression of not only you, but of your company.

In Hire with Your Head by Lou Adler, a University of Michigan State study indicated that the typical interview is only 57 percent accurate. That means that only one of every two interviews actually tells you if the candidate is a fit for your job or not.

What if all of the business processes in your company were only 57 percent accurate? Would you continue to grow or would your customers return if only 57 percent of your services were worthwhile? Of course not!  Any other business process that is this unreliable would have been scrapped years ago. So why aren’t you taking a step back to plan and prepare for your interviews?

Estimates indicate that the average hiring mistakes cost between two and three times the annual compensation of the position. Goeff Smart and Randy Street, authors of the book Who estimate that for management and upper-level positions the average hiring mistake can costs fifteen times an employee base salary in hard costs and productivity loss. 

Now just think, if your hiring is only 57 percent accurate, and the average hiring mistake costs even just two times the compensation, the fastest way to increase productivity and minimize expense is to hire the right people, the first time. To do so, that means you need to step back and evaluate not only your staff, but your interview skills and hiring process. 

Jim Collins said it best in his book Good to Great: “The most important decisions that business people make are not what decisions, but who decisions,” and I couldn’t agree more.

I’ll review the most common interview pitfalls and mistakes made by hiring managers in the next Celebrity Staff blog as part two in my series on “How Smart Hiring Strategies Make a Big Impact on Results.”

Want to join the next one hour seminar available for continuing education credit for free?  Become a Celebrity client!  Contact us today about your upcoming vacation coverage or strategic staffing needs and let us help you identify talent to help your company get ready for the economic recovery.

Patty North, CPC, Celebrity Staff Regional Manager

Patty North, CPC, Celebrity Staff Regional Manager

About Patty North
As the regional manager of Celebrity Staff, a leading staffing and recruitment firm, Patty North has assisted organizations across a four-state region with the development and implementation of best practice strategies in the areas of talent acquisition and talent management. Her collective insight and expertise on workforce planning, garnered from her 15 years in the staffing industry, has enabled clients ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations to improve performance and gain a competitive advantage in their respective markets. Celebrity Staff is based in Omaha, Nebraska with offices located in Lincoln, Nebraska and Kansas City, Missouri.

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