Recruiting for Your Small Business: 4 Interview Don'ts

Written by: Abby Rosenberger
Originally published on October 22, 2014. Last updated July 26, 2022.

dontIf your small business or startup company has decided to hire an employee, you may already have an idea of who you are looking for and what interview questions you will ask. Although many small business owners, hiring managers, and startup entrepreneurs go into the interview setting thinking they hold all the power, this can be a vital mistake. The job market may be competitive, but so is the competition among employers competing for top talent. This is especially true for small businesses and startups who are competing with larger, corporate companies who have lots of experience recruiting and interviewing employees.

In order to avoid turning off or scaring away top job talent, there are certain interviewer faux pas you should avoid. Here are four mistakes to avoid when conducting interviews at your small business or startup.

1. Don’t go in unprepared

Chances are, the candidate you are interviewing has invested a lot of time and effort into preparing for the interview. From researching your company, to selecting the right outfit, to going over interview questions, your potential candidate has probably spent hours or even a few days preparing for their interview. If you are unprepared for the interview, this can be a big turn off to your potential candidate.

Make sure you have at least read through their resume and prepared a list of applicable questions to ask them. Spending the first few minutes of the interview reading over their resume can be a red flag to job candidates that you are unprepared, or do not view this interview as a priority. In addition, coming in unprepared is just unprofessional, no matter whether you’re hiring for an executive or entry level position.

2. Don’t leave candidates in the dark

While it is vital that you are adequately prepared to interview your candidate, it is also important to provide them enough information to be prepared for the interview. For example, if the candidate is interviewing with you and a panel, be sure to let them know. Going into an interview expecting a one on one conversation and finding out that they are interviewing with a panel would scare many candidates off.

In addition, be sure to inform potential candidates of your company’s dress code. Walking into an interview wearing a business suit when the entire company is in jeans can be a bit awkward. Let your potential candidates know what to expect so that they may adequately prepare for the interview.

3. Don’t rush through the interview

As mentioned above, your potential job candidate has likely invested a lot of time and effort into preparing for the interview, not to mention the time they are taking out of their schedule to attend the interview. If you rush them through the interview, this could be a potential turn off for the candidate. If it appears that you have more important candidates to interview or more important things to do, your job candidate may feel as though they are not valued as a viable candidate for the position.

4. Don’t talk too much

This is a common mistake that many interviewees make, usually out of nervousness. However, the interviewer can be just as guilty of this interview faux pas. By monopolizing the conversation and making it all about you and your company, the candidate can’t explain their credentials and skills fully. In addition, the candidate may not have a chance to ask the questions they need to know about the company or position in the allotted amount of time.

Additional resources:

5 Easy Tips for Hiring the Best Employees

Small Business Tips for Interviewing Candidates

Small Biz Tips for Social Media Recruiting


Originally published on October 22, 2014. Last updated July 26, 2022.


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