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Science Has Discovered 8 Ways You're Blowing It When Interviewing Job Candidates

Looking for a job is nerve wracking. The person doing the hiring is just as stressed.

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Looking for a job is never easy. Candidates spend months sending out resumes and networking to land the right position, often enduring numerous interviews in the process. But job seekers aren’t the only ones who find the process painful. Many entrepreneurs and HR representatives dread hiring because they know it's hard.

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If you consistently find that your ideal candidates turn down the job after the interview, it could be that your interviewing process is scaring them away. Here are eight scientifically-proven reasons your interviews could be hurting instead of helping.

1. You’re distracted by appearance.

Take a serious look at the candidates you eliminate. You may not realize you’re doing it, but studies have shown that physical appearance plays a significant role in whether a candidate is chosen for a job. You may be disregarding your next standout employee based on something as simple as a birthmark or scar.

Related: Is Your Team Not Diverse Enough? This Could Be Why.

2. You misread body language.

Hiring decisions are often made based more on what a person doesn’t say than what comes out of his or her mouth, according to one study. But you may be making assumptions based on poor posture or a lack of eye contact. Know the signs to look for when you’re evaluating someone’s body language, but also keep in mind that looks can be deceiving.

Related: 9 Questions to Ask Candidates' References

3. You’re dragging your feet.

If you’ve ever looked for a job, you know how excruciating the wait can be to hear if you’ve been hired or not. That wait is the highest it has been in years, according to the DHI-DFH Mean Vacancy Duration. In 2016, the study found that the average vacancy duration for a professional job was 26.1 working days, as employers search for the perfect candidate. Although finding skilled professionals can take time, it’s also important to realize that when you delay too long, you may lose the best candidate to a competitor.

4. Just chatting with applicants doesn’t work.

For years, some experts have argued that the standard, unstructured job interviews most businesses use are next to useless in identifying the right candidate for a position. One study found that unstructured interviews could actually interfere with an interviewer’s ability to accurately determine how a candidate would perform in a job. Instead, try something that many companies are doing more and more as they evaluate potential hires. They’re shifting to structured interviews where candidates are asked to try specific duties they may be responsible for if they are hired. Then their work is measured on a scale of some kind. You see this a lot nowadays with startups looking for new engineers.

Related: Having Trouble Hiring the Right Employees? Maybe It's Your Tech's Fault.

5. You aren't asking for work samples.

Although interviews generally fall short in predicting future work performance, work sample tests are much more effective. The type of test depends on the job the candidate will be performing, but it can take you a step beyond what you’d get from a portfolio, especially if you’re hiring a creative like a graphic designer. Another helpful tool is a cognitive test, where you have the candidate answer behavioral questions that help you identify their thought processes.

Related: Want to Work at Apple, Facebook or Other Tech Giants? Here's What You Need to Know.

6. You’re bungling social media recruitment.

Job seekers have changed the way they look for jobs, yet some employers are misfiring in their recruitment efforts. One study found that although 92 percent of businesses use social media to find new employees, 51 percent of those posts go on Twitter, where workers aren’t looking. Most job searchers listed LinkedIn as the site where they’d most expect to see a job announcement, yet only 23 percent of social media-posted job announcements are on LinkedIn, according to the study.

Related: Watch Out! These 4 HR Tool Mistakes Will Cost You.

7. Your process is impersonal.

If you aren’t researching each candidate prior to the interview, you’re in the minority. A 2015 study found that 52 percent of employers use social media networking to learn more about candidates, a number that has increased since 2013. Use what you learn to create an interview style that more closely matches the candidate’s unique personality.

Related: The 5 Traits (Some Surprising) I Look for When Hiring New Workers

8. You’re misrepresenting your company culture.

Culture fit is vital when it comes to finding the right employee. Studies have found that employees who fit with their company culture have a higher job satisfaction level than those who don’t. Yet if you aren’t representing that culture during the interview, you may lose the very employees who would be that perfect fit. For example, If your business is more casual and laid back, yet you show up wearing a suit, the candidate may assume you have a strict dress code. In addition to mentioning certain aspects of your culture during the process, also make sure you convey it in your body language and interview style.

Related: 3 Red Flags to Identify a 'Smooth Operator' Before Hiring One

Interviewing can be tricky, but if you know some of the more common mistakes, you can start to avoid them. Only through learning top interview techniques can you staff your business with the team you need to move to the next level.

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