7 Interview Tactics That Scare Off Candidates

7 Interview Tactics That Scare Off Candidates

In interviews, it is usually assumed that the employee needs the employer, and not the other way around. This is not always true. Some candidates who show up for an interview in your company might have a huge influence on the future of the organization. Unfortunately, many employers do not realize this and end up losing top level talent because of using interview tactics that scare off candidates.

Identifying these poor strategies is the first step in avoiding them. Here are 7 tactics you should avoid in your interviewing process:

  1. Keeping Applicants Waiting for Long

Applicants usually put in a lot of effort to get jobs. On the day of the interview, they will wake up early and get to your office long before the scheduled time. Not all the applicants are out of work. Some actually sacrifice time to get to interviews, and if they value their time, they will surely not be impressed to sit outside for hours.

Top talent applicants are, especially aware of their capacity and they know that their services are in high demand. If they feel that your workplace does not respect employees, they will look elsewhere without hesitation.

  1. Having a Big Group of Interviewers

Job applicants arrive at the office very nervous already. Some employers feel the need to have a large group of interviewers, probably to mask their own nervousness.

This can scare the candidates to the extent that they fail to respond to questions correctly.

The interviewee also gets a subconscious need to remember who is who in the team, and this can end up confusing them terribly. And that’s not all. Having too many interviewers also creates a group mentality that can make you hire the wrong people very easily. It is generally accepted that the maximum number of interviewers in a panel should be three.

  1. Poor Preparation

It isn’t just the applicants who need to prepare for the interview; even the interviewers need to be ready for it. If you just brush through the papers and resume right before the applicants get in the office, the interviewee will be able to tell. The worst give-away is spending the entire session asking generic interview questions. Even if you are inexperienced in the field, you should know the expectations of the employees before they walk through the door.

For example, if you are employing people for a position in a medical establishment, you should know what the average salary for a pharmacist is in your area, in order to make the right offer.

Lack of proper preparation signals to potential employees that the organization does not value staff members. This can scare off top level candidates easily, especially because they usually take a lot of time and effort to study the company and generally get ready for the interview. They will definitely not appreciate being treated so poorly. In addition, going through the papers before the interview will give you more time to analyse the candidates and figure out what you need to ask in the session.

  1. Selling the Position Hard to the Candidates

This is another one of the interview tactics that scare off candidates. Top-level employees are usually hunted and rarely even apply for open positions. Some, however, are unaware of their real value and may be out of work right after graduating or finishing school. When they show up for interviews, many employers note their talent and turn the session into a sales meeting.

Doing this makes the employee nervous, especially if they don’t have much experience in their field. In almost all cases, people apply for positions in your company because they value and respect it. Making the company look desperate for their services can easily scare them away. It makes them wonder whether the organization is really that good.

  1. Having a Poor Setting for the Interview

The interview environment is the first real contact of the candidates with the culture of your workplace. If they find the place untidy or too disorganized, they are not likely to want to work for the company. In addition, the current employees and the interviewers need to keep their language modest and official.

Even if you normally use informal or offensive language, it is best to keep things professional with candidates since that is what they expect. You can let them know about the culture but showing them is not the best way to get top talent to work for you. Ideally, the place should look its best on the day of the interview.

  1. Making the Interview Too Easy and Brief

The interview should be tailored to get the best candidates for your company. Top level applicants get nervous when the interview is too simple and basic. This gives them a feeling that the company did not intend to get very highly qualified candidates. The interview sessions should also not be hurried.

Take your time to learn about the applicants and explain to them the benefits they would get if they work for you. Highly qualified employees do not usually intend to leave the company soon. Instead, they need to know what their future in the company looks like. They want to assurances that they can grow their careers in your establishment.

  1. Failing to Close the Deal

Once the interview is over, you should be able to tell if a candidate would be a good addition to your team of employees. If this is the case, you need to close the deal fast. Otherwise, the applicant will sense some doubt on your end and might choose to spend more time searching elsewhere. You need to make an attractive deal as fast as possible and close it there and then in such instances.


Interview tactics that scare off candidates should be avoided at all costs. They can ruin the employment process and even make you get the wrong employees when you could have attracted top talent to your team. Companies have stiff competition over great employees. Because of this, you need to spend more time and effort in the interview process so as to identify highly qualified candidates, and close the deal as fast as possible.


Cassidy Hennigan

Cassidy Hennigan is a former recruiter, who's worked in the HR department of a multinational for over 7 years before turning to freelancing. She recently started organising career development classes. Cassidy teaches about increasing productivity techniques and developing interpersonal skills and she writes for SalariesWiki. You can also find her on Twitter.

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