The Top 10 Interviewing Mistakes Restaurant Operators Make

  1. Failing to Create a Job Description: How can you hire the best person for the job if you haven't defined what "the best" is? In addition to listing tasks and responsibilities, job descriptions should spell out the skills, attitudes, and personality traits that are key to success.

    (While a librarian and a waiter both need to have good customer service skills, only one of them needs an outgoing personality.)

  2. Asking Illegal Questions: Write out your interview questions, review each one, and ask yourself: "What does this have to do with the person's ability to do the job?" If it's not job-related, don't ask it.

    (If you need someone who will be on time every day, don't ask: "Do you have a reliable daycare provider?" Ask: "Other than personal illness, how many days were you late for work in the last six months?")

  3. Relying on First Impressions: A study by the University of Chicago found 90% of interviewers make a hiring decision within the first 14 seconds of meeting the applicant.

    (No wonder so many bad hiring decisions are made.)

  4. Forgetting Who Needs to Make an Impression: Applicants today are picky about where they'll work. Interviewers need to sell applicants on the job and the company.

    (Applicants report major turnoffs are interviewers who are not prepared and being kept waiting.)

  5. Hiring Based Only on the Interview: Another study concluded that hiring decisions based on inter-views are only eight percent more reliable than flipping a coin!

    The best predictors of success on the job are testing (53%), a temporary job assignment (44%), and the reference check (26%). Experience is reliable only 14% of the time and age is the least reliable predictor of success (-1%).

  6. Positive Biases: A bias is the instant bond you feel when you find out someone is from your home-town - even though its population is over 500,000 and you've never met before.

    Biases cause us to hire who we like best instead of the person who is best for the job.

  7. Not Asking the Right Questions: Every unprepared interviewer in the world says: "Tell me about yourself," and then asks: "Where do you see yourself in five years?" And every job applicant has rehearsed answers to these questions.

    The best questions to start with are: "Tell me about your first paying job. What three things did you learn from it?" Use the same questions to take the applicant through all of their subsequent jobs. The answers paint a vivid picture of the person's work ethic, commitment, and drive.

  8. Talking Too Much: Most interviewers forget that they can't learn anything while talking. Rule of thumb: The applicant should do the talking at least 80% of the time.

  9. Interviewing from the Application or Résumé: When you conduct interviews with either of these documents in hand, you tend to simply confirm the information the applicant has already provided (instead of learning what you need to know).

  10. Emphasizing Experience & Education: Harvard Business School determined that the combination of information, intelligence, and skill account for only seven percent of business success. Attitude alone accounts for the other 93%.

    Far too few interviewers ask attitude questions like: "I know you would work harder or longer hours if asked, but, just in the course of your normal workday, what have you done for an employer that is more than what was expected of you?