Interviewing for Success, Part 1: What Are Your Biggest Interviewing Challenges?

“Interviewing is a game. As the interviewer, you have a job offer to give to somebody. The way you win the game is to get the offer away from someone else.” – Mel Kleiman

I recently sat down with Mel Kleiman, founder of Humetrics (, to pick his brain about the challenges to hiring. Mel is the author of Hire Tough, Manage Easy, and has spent the last 30 plus years doing research, consulting companies, and training countless business owners and hiring managers on how to effectively recruit, select, and retain employees. Our conversation was focused on hiring challenges.

Although we touched on various challenges to hiring, the challenges all fall into three main categories:

1.     No clear picture of what you’re looking for

When companies set out to hire, they usually don’t have a clear real picture of what they are searching for. Hiring managers may be given a list of requirements in terms of skills and experience, but those requirements don’t speak to the capacities and attitude of a successful hire in that role. For that reason, companies often hire people who are okay, or people who will end up leaving.

Imagine if you’re tasked with putting all the pieces of a jig saw puzzle together. How long do you think it would take for you to fit one piece to the next until you have a complete puzzle without knowing what the puzzle should look like? There’s a reason why we look at the picture on the cover of the box to guide us – it makes us more efficient and effective in our task.

The same can be said about making the right hire. Companies should identify the attitude in addition to the skills needed to be successful in the role. Once that is established, it will be easier for hiring managers to qualify candidates and more importantly, hire the candidate that is best fit for the organization.

2.     No understanding of why someone should join the company

Finding the candidate you want to hire, however, is only half the battle. The other half is getting them to join the company. Like Mel mentioned above, interviewing is a game. If you are at the point where you want to make the candidate an offer, the candidate has already won his or her part of the game. In order for you to win, you need to get the candidate to accept your offer instead of someone else’s.

An effective way to do that is to know why employees join your organization. Maybe the company has a strong professional development program; maybe it’s great benefits and flexible hours; or maybe it’s a supportive work culture. Whatever the reasons may be, having a list of the reasons allow hiring managers to speak confidently to those points and highlight the ones that are most appealing to the candidate to encourage the candidate to join the team.

3.     No investment in hiring; no training for hiring managers

In general, training for interviewers is nonexistent, or not very good. The number one interviewing methodology today is behavioral interviewing. The issue with behavioral interviewing, as Mel pointed out, is that unless the job is in the exact same place and situation, you’re probably not getting what you need. Additionally, people now have the propensity to tell you exactly what you’re looking for; if the applicant did their homework and prepared for the interview, they will no doubt have prepared responses for all the popular behavioral questions you will ask them.

Interviewing is about gathering the information you need to make the right decision. This means asking the right questions and having a standard process to qualify applicants and move them through. The questions you ask and the hiring method you use depend on your company (there are plenty of written resources on hiring). What’s important is to pick one, think through how to implement that system in your organization, and most importantly, train your hiring managers on how to interview in that hiring method.

These three main challenges discussed here are common and more prevalent than organizations care to admit. Which one(s) is your organization struggling with?

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our “Interviewing for Success” series: How are companies interviewing their candidates?