Resource Centre Employer’s Corner Interview Etiquette: Bad Habits By Interviewers

Interview Etiquette: Bad Habits By Interviewers

Annoying behaviour by interviewers During interviews everyone is supposed to put their best foot forward, right? Well, it turns out that that is not always the case. Interviewers, just like interviewees are supposed to be on their best behaviour, as much as they are the ones offering the jobs. Why? Because a person has taken […]


Annoying behaviour by interviewers

During interviews everyone is supposed to put their best foot forward, right? Well, it turns out that that is not always the case. Interviewers, just like interviewees are supposed to be on their best behaviour, as much as they are the ones offering the jobs. Why? Because a person has taken their time to interview with you and this is also your chance to show the job seeker why you are the best employer that there is. This is the time to showcase your company’s culture and treating potential employees with disrespect is not the best way to do it. Remember, even job seekers can be converted to clients even if they do not get the job, just by how they are handled during interviews. So, it is in your best interest as an employer to observe interview etiquette. Here are annoying things done by interviewers.

  1. Not paying attention

Being inattentive

An interview should be a session where the job seeker tries to show the employer why they are the best for the job. However, the employer should also show the job seeker why they are the best for the job seeker and why they deserve the job seeker’s talents. It is a two-way traffic.

Some interviewers are in the habit of not paying attention, giving the job seeker the task of wondering whether they are communicating or not. According to one job seeker, the experience was so bad as the interviewer kept picking her nails while another one said that the interviewer was on his phone during the entire interview and was very distracted. Needless to say, the interviewee decided there and then that they would not take up the position even if it was offered to them. Pay attention to job seekers during interviews as they have taken their time to prepare for the interview and come to show you want they are made of. If you pay attention, you are likely to pick out verbal and nonverbal cues which will help you get the best candidate for the job.

Another candidate had a horrible experience during a panel interview where some of the panel members looked totally unprepared and did not pay attention to the proceedings. Once it was their turn to ask questions, they looked confused and asked questions that had already been asked. Needless to say, the candidate wanted to do a huge eye roll but chose to politely repeat their answers in brief instead.

  1. Coming in late


According to one job seeker, her interview was scheduled to take place at 10 am. However, the interviewer showed up at 3 pm with no apologies and acted as if it was the duty of the job seeker to wait on them. Well, that job seeker may be desperate to get the job or may be patient but, what does that tell the job seeker about your time management skills? Do you think the job seeker will ever take any timelines seriously? You come across as a company which does not respect time and the job seeker will not take you seriously either.

  1. Lecturing job seekers

Conduct during interview

An interview should be a conversation not a monologue. But some interviewers take that opportunity to lecture job seekers about what is wrong with their generation and give them endless stories about everything. It is okay to share stories with job seekers to help them relax but when you give endless lectures, you come across as a person who does not listen and no one will want to work for such an employer. Take your time to listen. Let the job seeker sell themselves and give them ample time to reflect on their answers. Ask intelligent questions to help job seekers expound on their points and steer the conversation towards a fruitful discussion.

  1.  Being unprepared

Being unprepared

Just like interviewees, even interviewers can be unprepared. Maybe you were pulled into an interview last minute and you have no clue what is going on, or you just do not understand what is going on because you did not do your homework. Either way, you end up wasting the interviewee’s time and they will not take you seriously. Make sure you do your homework before the interview. Understand the job and what the ideal candidate should look like. Do not go into an interview and ask irrelevant questions which make you look disorganised at best, and ridiculous at worst.

  1. A rushed interview or an extremely long one

Interview etiquette

A good interview should not last for no more than 45 minutes at most and should not last for less than 15 minutes. Basically, it is neither a marathon and neither is it a grilling session. Some interviewers schedule the interview with other engagements and they end up rushing through the interview, which does not give the interviewee ample time to adequately respond to the questions being asked. Such an interview ends up being a waste of time for the interviewer who may not get time to adequately respond to the questions asked and in some cases, the interviewer cuts the interviewee short while answering questions.

On the extreme end are interviewers who seem to have too much time on their hands. They will sit there and ask endless questions, sometimes repeating themselves, which drags the interview on for hours. A good interview should be well-balanced, with all the important questions being asked. It should ideally last for 30 minutes, unless it is a high profile job which will require the interviewers to delve deeper into the candidate’s experience and plan for the available position.

  1. Asking personal questions

Lack of privacy

As one candidate put it, why would an employer want to know someone’s number of kids, their marital status, what they did over the weekend, or where they spent their Christmas holiday. Apart from the fact that these questions are really unprofessional, they are also annoying and and are an intrusion on one’s privacy. Unless such questions are related to the job at hand, then there is no reason for an interviewer to ask someone whether they are married or single.

  1. Asking generic questions

Interview questions

It is okay to ask questions such as, “Tell us about yourself” and “Where do you see yourself in five years.” however, and especially when dealing with an experienced professional, such generic questions can be a bore as they only prompt generic answers and they do not help you to delve deeper into the experiences and skills of the interviewee. Generic questions show that the interviewer is not prepared for the interview or does not understand the role. It amounts to a waste of time as the interviewer does not really get to understand what the candidate is bringing on board and neither does the candidate get to sell themselves well.

Interview etiquette is very important for both the interviewer and the interviewee. However, some interviewers do not accord interviews the respect they deserve, leading to a waste of time or some good candidates reject the job altogether. When conducting an interview, it is important to give the process the respect and attention it deserves.

In your experience, what are some of the most annoying interviewing habits that interviewers have?

Njeri Karanja
Notification Bell