HR Tips: First Mis-impressions + 3 Things to Look Out for When Interviewing - Zupnick Associates

(By: Brittany Brooks)

It’s true, first impressions are everything, and if you’re a hiring manager or part of the HR management team, first impressions may even be an essential element of your interview process. Unfortunately, it leaves room for us to fall prey to a common pitfall in recruitment, the first misimpression.

You may have encountered this at some point in your hiring journey. The candidate looked impressive on paper and interviewed well, but their overall performance is mute or dismal once you hire them. The situation throws you back into the hiring process sooner than you hoped and the impact reaches further than that.

But you can avoid this common pitfall by reading into a few first impressions that can be tricky at times.

1.Not so sweet resume lies

HR management and hiring managers should watch out for resumes that look too good to be true. There are instances where a candidate may overembellish or completely fabricate their resume. May lie about:

  • Events
  • Titles
  • Credentials
  • Dates
  • Employers 
  • References and so much more

It’s okay to ask for proof of their credentials (e.g., diploma, respective degree, certification). Don’t be afraid to call previous employers to verify dates, titles, and if they worked there. You can also use skill assessments and quizzes to ensure they have the skills and experience for the position.

Not to shame or place blame on anyone, but there are hiring managers that shrug off checking a candidate’s references when they get too busy or altogether. If you’re not careful, it could come back to haunt you.

Some candidates gamble on their references not being checked, so they may give you a flat-out fake reference. It sounds like a dumb move, but it does happen! Other candidates may forget to update their references and leave a “not so good” one behind, but you run the risk of hiring this person if you don’t check.

Red Flag: Be alert for resumes using wording similar to your job description, especially if it doesn’t match their listed skill set and experiences. Be very alarmed if they copied the description verbatim.

2. Painting a rosy picture

We’ve all made mistakes at some point in our professional careers, and we might even joke about it now. With that said, it’s quite startling when a candidate never talks about their weaknesses or mistakes. We’re all human, and it’s only natural to make a mistake, so let’s hear it. 

Hearing how they corrected the situation and moved forward speaks volumes about them as an employee and a person. Ask about their weaknesses, mistakes they made at previous jobs, and what they could improve on. It shows their potential for growth, their brutal honesty, and gives you an idea of what to expect from them.

Beware if they take credit for every successful project and good deed. There’s a possibility the candidate is taking credit for someone else’s work. A good rule of thumb, if it doesn’t make sense or add up, take a deeper look into their work history and references.

Important: Asking for a candidate’s mistakes and weaknesses isn’t to point out their flaws. HR management should use it to gauge the candidate’s character, determination, experience, and how they correct their errors. 

3. Only talk about themselves

With this common pitfall, it is possible for hiring managers to be impressed with the candidate’s achievements, stories from work, qualities, traits, and whatever else they choose to divulge. However, you’ll want to pay attention to the fact that you’ve only heard about them.

The candidate must have worked with someone else along the way, so why are we only hearing about them during the interviewing process?

Ask questions about times when they worked in a group or had to incorporate a coworker to complete a project to get the conversation flowing in a different direction. You want someone that recognizes that they work on a team and operates within that fact.

However, look out if they never mention specifics concerning their skills and experiences and how it all relates to the position you’re hiring for.

Red Flag: Beware of candidates that make vague or broad sweeping statements, especially regarding their skills and experiences. This could be a fabrication or they may not have the expertise they are trying to portray.

Once you hire your ideal candidate, they may be eligible for employee benefits in 90 days, depending on your company policy. Feel free to reach out to Zupnick and Associates to see what’s available for your company!

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