So here’s the thing there are lots of great interview tools and techniques that have been perfected over the years such as behavioural, competency, “informal”, psychometric assessments (which all have a place I must say) but we shouldn’t ignore the fact that a lot of employers and hiring managers haven’t necessarily had the opportunity or time to have fancy interviewing training and that’s ok.

Questions such as “what is your biggest weakness?” and “tell me where you want to be in 5 years time” are often asked.

In my opinion there is a misconception that employers want a very specific answer to these questions, they don’t. They want to know how honest a person is about their capabilities, how self aware and hungry they are to learn from their new manager and if they have ambitions to grow with the company. 

Wouldn’t it be great if a candidate explained that of course they have weaknesses, they are X and Y and they would like support from the employer to help them develop. The interviewee then has a perfect opportunity to describe their strengths.

The most important aspect of any interview for me is that it should be a two way enjoyable process where both employer and candidate have the chance to open up. No business or person is perfect so let’s stop pretending so.

An honest and productive interview can’t happen if the employer has not provided a trusting interview environment from the beginning. So let’s not forgot about warm and personable introductions, eye contact, sitting next to the person not opposite, offering a cuppa, being interested in their journey to your offices, etc. The candidate is more likely to reciprocate that warmth and honesty.

The interview is an opportunity to be honest about the work environment, the role, the challenges they have as a business and how important this role is to the team. How many times have I heard after someone has started their new role that it isn’t how it was described to them during interview. Similarly how may times have I heard hiring managers say that the person they have hired isn’t doing X, Y or Z.

So in order to avoid all of these potential pitfalls it’s imperative for everyone to prepare for the interview and create the right environment.

Employers let’s continue to give an honest interview experience and candidates let’s commit to the interview and everything that entails.