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Interviewing Mistakes – How Many Are You Making? | Print |  E-mail

Reprinted from CSP Magazine

Would you tolerate employees that were rude to your customers? I doubt it, because we know it impacts our bottom-line, in fact many of you send in mystery shoppers to ensure smiles and thanks are provided. Now, would you tolerate inconsistent interviewing practices at the store level? Unfortunately the answer for many is yes. Does this area impact the bottom-line – ABSOLUTELY!

For the past several years the industry has been fighting two battles - high employee turnover and the quality of available candidates. To address these challenges changes have been made in areas from training to improving the store culture. But have we really addressed one of the core reasons this continues to occur. Interviewing Skills – The ability to determine if the candidate is right for your store in the first place. A great deal of turnover is due to the fact that the employee should not have been hired in the first place. Even if you only have a few candidates to interview, the way you present yourself, your store, and the questions you ask during an interview will influence how candidates perform and if they stay.

We have found that within one company in the same geographically area of twenty stores nearly every manager interviewed differently. Interviews ranged from 10 minutes to 60 minutes. Interviews were conducted in the back of the store, behind the building, over the soda display in the front of the store, on the phone, to the restaurant next door.

Conducting an effective interview is a skill, a skill that can be developed. Below are five common mistakes:

5 Interviewing Mistakes:

1. Lack of Standard Questions: Not having a prepared listed of standard questions that every candidate must answer can lead to hiring the wrong person. Not only can it be interrupted as discriminating if challenged but also it doesn’t allow you to assess them equally based on the competencies need for success.

2. Lack of Behavior Based Questions: Past performance is the best predictor of future behavior. Best in class organizations conduct these types of interviews at the corporate level, however it’s equally important at the store level. Asking the right questions and the ability to probe will uncover quite a bit about how candidates will perform.

3. Talking Too Much: Often we are so happy someone is applying we do all the talking as a way to sell him or her on the job. (The candidate walks away with the job but not as much respect for the manager. They can see you’re desperate and that creates a certain attitude on the job.)

4. Gut Feeling: Often when we meet someone we get a good feeling about him or her or we find we have something in common like the same high school. This influences us psychologically and we hire them. Don’t do it! Stick to all the questions and be consistent when making the decision. The gut is not always right.

5. Previous Experience: Just because they’ve worked at a competitor and understand the c-store environment doesn’t necessarily make them qualified. You don’t know if they’ll be friendly, responsible, or the reason for your increase in shrink. (Past c-store experience may include how to commit credit card fraud and that’s why they’ve left their last store.)


Some of the top retailers in various industries have attributed their reduced turnover to the interviewing and selection process. Unfortunately when operators are in manager training the curriculum consist mostly of operational issues. It’s never too late! In fact this is a subject that may be best absorbed after managers have had an opportunity to experience interviewing candidates. Good Luck!

 
© 2009 Employee Performance Strategies Inc.
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