Dynamic Happenings

Interviewing ‘Offbeat’ Candidates - Pitfalls to Avoid

January 30, 2014 General

There are a few common mistakes most of the interviewers make while
interviewing nerds, geeks, techies and introverts. We all know, this bandwagon
makes for the most productive fraction of the workforce.

You must be an expert by now, but if you really want a candidate with a difference you have to resist giving in to cliché formulas. Use unconventional wisdom. Here are 4 recruitment formulas, which can go a long way to help you make the right hiring decisions, always!

1. Inexpression ≠ Lack of Skills

Being less expressive doesn’t make a candidate any less skillful. Does it? Let us give you an example. If you ask an introvert candidate about his achievements and he shies away, does it mean that he has none? No. There might be a number of reasons for that.

• May be he’s not into self-praise
• May be he’s more concerned with future goals than past achievements
• Or maybe he’s just too busy adding meat to his portfolio than preparing for a pretentious answer

The obvious question that pops up in mind is, if he is not going to tell you, how are you going to know about his skills and achievements? Well, if his portfolio suggests that he’s a good prospect, maybe you should delve a bit deeper and invest some more time getting to know him rather than signing him off as a shy mouse.

2. Doers vs. Talkers

As per a wise saying, “There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. The competition is much lesser in the first group.” So true, there are so few people who do a good job and so many who just brag about it.

Being able to speak eloquently about one’s skills is in no way a parameter to measure his/her skill level. Why do you expect your candidate to be a talker anyway (except of course when you are recruiting for PR profile)? You are going to pay him for doing his job, not talking about his job.

Many interviewers have a tendency to pull a candidate in war of words and if the candidate talks his way out, they get impressed. But by doing this, they make their organization vulnerable to bad hiring. So, look at what he can do rather than what he says he can.

3. Interview Questions × Bias = Missing Out a Good Employee

• Do you presume a woman would rather choose a desk job over a field job?
• Do you think that naiveté of a person affects his IQ?
• Do you make the hiring decision by the first impression?

If you answered yes for any of the above, you may be biased in your perspective. Do not let creed, cast, color or religion of candidates affect your hiring decision.  On the contrary, in this era of globalization you should strive to have a diverse workforce.

Bias always finds a way to your head through that subconscious backdoor. Keep alert. Do not let it blind you. It is injurious to a healthy interview.

4. Nervous / Excited … There’s a Difference

Did one of your questions leave your candidate with fidgety fingers, sweaty palms and shallow breath? You think these are sure signs that he became nervous? Well, not necessary. Psychologists suggest that these might be signs of excitement as well. A candidate might get excited in an interview for a number of reasons such as he suddenly figures out that he FITS into the job profile you just described or he knows the answer of a very tough question you just put to him.

So, how to tell if they’re nervous or excited? Be patient. Let the time do it for you. Only if you let them proceed, you will discover it for yourself. The key is to step back a bit so that they can step in.  If all else fails – just ask – if they are nervous. Let them know, “It’s okay to be nervous.” Just help them through it in your own way!

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