Interviewing Myth #6: Talk 50% of the Time

Do you want to hire better? If you’re a CEO, a manager at any level, or a Human Resources professional, of course you do. This blog is part of a series dispelling 10 myths about interviewing candidates for hire – “myths” because they are common recommendations for the “best” ways to interview… but from our experience, they are wrong.

Authors and trainers say, “To maintain rapport and build trust with candidates, you and candidates should talk about half the time, 50-50. This makes it a normal conversation, most comfortable for both of you.”

No way! An employment interview is not a “normal” conversation. Interviewers want to get honest insights into all competencies necessary for someone hired to be a high performer. The candidate wants to get the job. There is typically a horrible “dance” that goes on in which candidates too often try to con interviewers, confident they will get away with their con. Interviewers know this and try to ask clever questions to dig out the truth. Fortunately, Topgrading has solved the two problems of candidate dishonesty and weak verification of candidate claims, but those are topics for other blogs. So, for the rest of this blog, please assume that the context is healthy: you, the interviewer, need to ask a lot of questions in order to get deep insights, and your candidates WANT to honestly answer all those questions in order to get the job so they do NOT want to have a friendly “chat.” You don’t need to ask trick questions and candidates know they cannot con you because, thanks to Topgrading, you will be talking with their managers.

In a Tandem Topgrading interview, the candidate’s entire education and work history are covered in detail, plus there are additional questions. For a mid-manger the Tandem Topgrading Interview is apt to last 4 hours, but only if the interview pace is fast.

Recommendation: In hiring interviews, talk 10%, so candidates talk 90% of the time.

Before the interview, maybe at lunch, you each might talk half the time. If you’re driving with a candidate to another location, part of a company tour, 50-50 works fine. Make it clear before a long interview that the sole purpose is for the interviewer to get a full understanding of the candidate. Candidates of course have their questions, and before or after this interview they will be answered. Okay, in almost all Topgrading Interviews there are a couple of times the interviewer, maybe learning about some big concern the candidate has about something, should give a pertinent insight into the company. But say, “After this interview we will have time for you to ask all the questions you want.”

I hope these tips help you avoid costly mis-hires!

Interviewing Myth #1: Don’t Interview Behind Your Desk

Interviewing Myth #2: Take Few Notes

Interviewing Myth #3: Be “Neutral” In Interviews

Interviewing Myth #4: In Interviews Never “Lead the Witness”

Interviewing Myth #5: Maintain Constant Eye Contact

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