Employee Turnover: 5 Interviewing Mistakes that Lead to Early Resignations

employee turnover

Have you ever had an employee quit, and they stated that their reason for doing so was, this isn't what I thought the job was going to be, or I didn't know that I had to do those things? In my experience, these are reasons that I’ve heard used quite frequently during exit interviews. When I ask a hiring manager why they didn't explain these things to the candidate during the interview process, I typically hear this response: I didn't want to scare them away. Well, isn't it better to scare them off during the interview rather than 2-3 months after you have invested the time, effort, and money into hiring, on-boarding, and training the new employee?

What do these statements really mean, and how can you avoid hearing them?

Here are five reasons why employee turnover occurs and what you can do to correct it:

1. The interviewer talks more than the candidate.

This is also known as the "show up and throw up" approach. This typically occurs because the interviewer doesn’t have a delineated process to follow, and they do not take the time to properly prepare. This lack of preparation can also cause the interviewer to be nervous. Stress and fear of the unknown can trigger some interesting human behaviors, including the need for incessant nervous chatter. Some people cover their feelings by filling the air with words, a condition sometimes called logorrhea. It is therefore essential to invest in some hiring manager training workshops and take time to prepare for each and every interview. Please realize that not being trained and prepared is costing you a lot more.

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2. The interviewer "sells" them on the job.

Every interview should begin with a brief overview of the company, the role, and why this is a great opportunity. The problem is that many interviewers spend a majority of the time "selling" the candidate vs. interviewing the candidate. Do your selling in the beginning. Then explain what the job actually requires and see if the candidate is qualified to perform those requirements.

3. The job description lacks critical details.

Most job descriptions are too vague. They lack critical details about the job that are crucial in determining if the candidate can do the job. If you don’t know what you are seeking, how will you ever find it? The interviewer is not able to clearly explain the job, and the candidate is not able to demonstrate to you if they can do the job – a lose/lose scenario for both parties. 

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4. The interviewer asks irrelevant hypothetical questions.

We have all heard them, and many of us have asked them: If aliens landed in front of you and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any position on their planet, what would you want? In a small room, you have a refrigerator. If you left the door of the 'fridge open, would the temp in the room fall or would the temp in the fridge rise? These types of questions are designed to determine critical thinking skills, and while they can be useful, they tell you very little about the candidate’s ability to execute the role successfully. To understand that, you need to ask specific questions about the actual tasks they will perform, e.g., tell me when, where, and how you did this, and most importantly, what were the results of your efforts

5. The interviewer never determines if the Candidate WANTS to do the job.

This is one of the biggest mistakes made by almost all interviewers, including many professional recruiters. Think about it this way: there are many things that we can all do really well and can describe in detail how we did it, why we did it, and what the end result was during an interview, which sounds fantastic to the interviewer. But if the interviewer were to ask if the candidate enjoyed doing these things, they would find that the answer a lot times is NO WAY, I just do them because I have to. If the candidate only has to do them occasionally, no big deal. But if they were aware that perhaps 40% or more of the job entailed doing those types of things, then as I have experienced over the years, many of them will self-select out of the process.

To make better hires, provide candidates with all the details of the role, including an estimate of how much time they will be devoting to certain tasks and what resources they will or will not have in order to accomplish these tasks. 

I like to use the expression, I hire the best people, but none of them can stand working for me. This means that you need to let the candidate know about your or their supervisor’s personality – the good, the bad, and the ugly. This enables the candidate to also make a well-informed decision about whether or not they want to do the job. The ideal candidate will see these things as challenges as opposed to road blocks. These aspects of the job should not be surprises that they find out about a few weeks or months in.

What do you do to halt employee turnover early in the hiring process? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.  

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