One of the goals of an interview should be to uncover the interviewee’s strengths and weaknesses. For the purpose of this post I’m going to focus on uncovering inconsistencies and exploring red flags. A big barrier to accomplishing this is the time constraint that most interviews are under. You have a lot to cover and a comparatively short timeframe to accomplish it. This internal clock compels the interviewer to keep moving even when they notice something amiss. The outcome? Either the interviewer gets a bad vibe and just drops a potentially great candidate or they overlook the warning signal and make a bad hire.
Before moving on to another candidate or advancing the candidate to the next step in your interview process, you’re going to need to address this issue.
In the words (paraphrased) of one of our clients – “I’m going to keep asking about this issue until I’m satisfied with their answer or I’m satisfied that they don’t have an answer.” He doesn’t care if doing this prevents him from asking all of his questions. Schedule a follow-up phone or in-person interview to fill in those blanks that you didn’t get to if necessary.
So what if you realize that you have a concern after the interview is over? Don’t just drop the candidate; go back and vet this concern. If there’s another interview in the process scheduled, join the next interviewer in that meeting. Or have a follow-up phone conversation. Do this before you’ve totally fallen in love with the candidate. You’ll have too much momentum and desire to hire the candidate (especially if this has been a difficult to fill position) when you’re four interviews and 3 weeks into the process.
The follow-up to finding a clear “Red Flag” or concern is when should it be a knock-out and when should you proceed with the candidate? I address this here – “Where Most Interviewers Go Wrong (Part 2)”.