As I have been preparing for our monthly HR Webinar (Interviewing for Better Hires), I have come across several great articles that cover what you should do and what you shouldn’t do to hire the best people. As the economy strengthens and the pool of candidates shrinks, managers are going to have to become better interviewers in order to select the right person for the job. Below, you will find part of an article written by Susan Heathfield that might give you a few ideas about how you can be a better interviewer.

For more information about interviewing, please attend our next HR Webinar, scheduled for July 31, 2013.

Randall Barker SPHR CELS is the VP of Human Resources for A Plus Benefits, Inc.

Hiring decisions that result in “bad” hires sap your organization’s time, training resources, and psychic energy. These are the top hiring mistakes to avoid during your recruiting and hiring process. Be aware of the following elements and; your recruiting, interviewing and hiring practices will result in better hires. Better hires will help you develop a strong, healthy, productive, competitive organization.

Here are four mistakes you need to avoid as you work with your candidates from application through interview…

Do Nothing But Talk During an Interview

Every interview needs to have components other than questions, answers and discussion. Walk the candidate through the company. Ask about his or her experience with situations you point out during the walk. In a manufacturing company, ask how the candidate would improve a process.

Watch the candidate perform a task such as separating parts or components to get a feel for their “hands-on” ability. Have a documentation or writing candidate write a description of the steps in one of your work processes. See how quickly a person learns a particular task. Ask how the candidate would approach improving the quality of a given accounting process.

As long as you use tests and tasks that are directly related to the position for which the individual is interviewing, you will earn reams of relevant information to use in your selection process.

Evaluate “Personality,” Not Job Skills and Experience

Sure, it would be nice for you to like everyone at work. But, this is much less important than recruiting the strongest, smartest, best candidates you can find. People tend to hire people who are similar to themselves. They are the most comfortable with those candidates, of course.

This will kill your organization over time. You need diverse people with diverse personalities to deal with diverse employees and customers. Think about the customer that drives you crazy. Isn’t it likely that a new employee with a similar personality would have the same problem? Likewise, hiring a candidate because you enjoyed and liked him or her, as the main qualification, ignores your need for particular skills and experience. Don’t do it.

Fail to Differentiate, Via Testing and Discussion, the Critical Job Skills

How do you differentiate one candidate from another? Everyone has a “wish list” for all of the qualities, skills, personality factors, experience and interests you want to see in your selected employee. You must decide on, and perhaps, test, the skills you most desire in your candidate.

What are the three – four most critical factors for contribution and success given the job, the skills of the other employees and the needs of your customers? Once you have identified these, you cannot “settle” on a candidate that does not bring these to your workplace. Or you will fail.

Develop a Small Candidate Pool

Take the time to build a candidate pool with several candidates who meet the needs of your organization. If you don’t have to make a choice among several qualified candidates, your pool is too small. Don’t “settle” for someone if you don’t have the right person with the skills and experience you need. It’s better to reopen your search.

These mistakes are often fatal to a candidate’s ultimate success within your organization. If you do these activities successfully, you increase the probability of a happy, successful employee contributing what you need from him or her to your organization.

Read the rest of the article by Susan Heathfield here: Eight Hiring Mistakes Employers Make: From Application to Interview