Sometimes, I hire bad interviewees. And you should too!

Don’t be afraid to hire a bad interviewee.

One of my favorite things about recruiting in the corporate environment is an invested, long term interest in making quality hires. The collaboration and alignment of the talent acquisition and management organizations is essential to identifying and acquiring great talent. Part of the value talent acquisition can bring to the table is our extensive experience interviewing and hiring quality candidates. Since we do this for a living, we should absolutely be experts with an ability to bring some additional insights to our management partners. In the coming months, I am going to have a series of short posts outlining some tips that I share with interviewing teams to make them more effective during the hiring process. They might even help you!

This week my advice is not to be afraid to hire someone that might have had a bad interview. Anyone with any experience interviewing is familiar with the behavioral interviewing approach – the classic, “tell me about a time when” or, “give an example of” questions. When you use this approach, you’re typically looking for the candidate to outline the situation, the task, the action and the end result. The problem is that we often fall into a trap and instead of evaluating a person’s ability to do the job, we’re evaluating their ability to answer questions. This is a certain value in behavioral interviewing, but it is important to look past the surface of a “bad” response.

On many occasions I’ve received feedback from hiring managers that a candidate was too nervous, or was unable to provide specific examples in response to their questions. Whether it is an entry-level candidate or a seasoned professional, being nervous is part of interviewing. It is also possible that there was a misunderstanding or (bear with me here) you did not ask an answerable interview question.

In short, this tip is about examining your intentions so that you’re evaluating candidates on culture fit and ability to do the job vs. the ability to answer your questions. When you can see past a poor interview and instead see a good employee, the payoff is often big for all parties involved.

Happy Hiring!


(this article originally appeared on LinkedIn)

Posted by Brendan Orf