The most common mistake employers make when interviewing is to interview from a resume.

Think about it – a resume is a marketing document put together by the candidate to get a job – not necessarily help you to find and hire the best person. So, they emphasize the good and hide or disguise the bad. It’s just human nature to do so.

As soon as you look at the resume and say “Tell why you’re leaving your current job” they’re prepared!

Nothing wrong with being prepared, but you don’t want them to control the flow of the interview by what’s on (or not on) their resume – before the interview you want to determine what skills, behaviors, and thinking patterns will make someone an outstanding addition to your team – and then ask interview questions that will help you determine how well the candidate fits your specifications.

Some of the questions you create will be related to their previous work experience and education, but many will be about non-specific situations that reveal behaviors and thinking patterns that are independent of a particular job.

As an example, for a customer service position you might ask “Tell me about a time you had to deal with an out of control customer.” This open ended approach is more likely to reveal something of value to you than if you ask specifically about their last job in customer service.

The goal of your questions is to not only find their strengths, but also to expose and explore any mismatches between the candidate and your specifications. Yes, this is time consuming, but it’s worth it. Modern assessment technology can help you with this by generating custom questions based upon the candidate and the position.

Whether you use custom questions or not, there is one question that you should ask to start every interview. I’ll tell you about it in my next post.

In the meantime, enjoy this short video that shows exactly what I mean.