I have had several people relate to me that before becoming clients of mine, they had experiences such as “You should have seen this person in the interview! They were amazing! And then I had to fire them two weeks later. What did I miss?” The answer to this burning question is that many hiring managers and executives do not realize the power they hold being the interviewer.

When interviewing a candidate, it is really important to remember that you are in charge of the entire experience. Usually, the interviewer controls the time of the interview, the date, the day of the week, the location, the agenda, the questions, the structure, the process, who is on the team, the outcome of the decision to hire and whether or not the candidate will ever find out if they got the job. In all aspects, the interviewer is in total control – and the candidate knows it. They are fully aware of the imbalance of power occurring within this isolated incident. This type of “power” over another adult rarely occurs in our society, and when it does, there is usually extreme violence involved. As a result of lack of exposure to this type of control, most of us do not realize this dynamic in an interview. How can we? We have no experience with it.

This means that the candidate, who is nervous, anxious, worried and vulnerable, will do whatever it takes in order to please the interviewer and secure the future position. Once the candidate gets the job, this power difference is dramatically reduced- shifting and creating a whole new dynamic. The new employee becomes comfortable and relaxed in the new work environment, becoming their true selves, and sometimes with disastrous results.

Because I interview as a profession, I understand this dynamic. I teach my clients about this power difference and what they can do to reduce it. For example, at the end of each interview I inform our candidates about when they can expect an answer from us about our decision. I then follow through and give them the decision as promised. I inform them of the agenda for the interview. I give them options for interviewing times. When they show up 15 minutes early, I am ready to begin their interview 15 minutes early. I have their resume and cover letter in front of me for reference, but my real purpose is to actively listen to them. I do not withhold information from my candidates, especially when the answer is “no”.

In order to see your candidates’ reveal more of their true selves and to determine if they are the amazing employee you are seeking, give some power back to them during the interview process. Reduce this imbalance that occurs (whether or not we are aware of it) and create an atmosphere that encourages the candidate to not feel quite so at the mercy of the employer. Treat them with the respect and dignity that they deserve and they in kind will perform, when hired, powerfully.

Author's Bio: 

Beth Smith graduated from the University of Texas in 1995 with degrees in History and Social Work, a minor in English, and additional course work in psychology, philosophy and child development. She has won awards for Women Who Make a Difference in Boulder, Business Owner of the Year, and Certificates of Service for The Hill Alliance and The Responsible Hospitality Group. Beth developed the Response Analysis System™ that has proven effective with 91% of hires still employed by the company after 12 months. Beth Smith has conducted thousands of interviews using her proprietary Response Analysis System™.