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How Many Candidate Interviews Are Too Many?

How Many Candidate Interviews Are Too Many?

How Many Candidate Interviews Are Too Many?

Posted on 16 November 2021

Did you know that according to a recent survey carried out in the UK, as many as 30.9% of candidates feel that there are too many stages in the hiring process? Or to be more specific, there are too many interviews. 

Of course, with the average cost per hire being somewhere in the region of 40% of an employee’s base salary, we fully understand why employers take great care in the hiring process. But are they being a little too careful? 

The current state of affairs

The jobs market is ultra-competitive right now with the vast majority of suitable talent being passive candidates. While this means that the talent an employer is targeting may not be in a major hurry to change positions, it doesn’t mean that they’re prepared to wait around forever. 

According to Glassdoor, the average person spends about 27 days in the actual interview process with some employers holding 5, 6, or even 7 interviews before making a final decision. Bear in mind, this isn’t the overall hiring process but just the interviews alone. 

That’s an incredible length of time that will leave any candidate feeling exasperated. And that leads us to a major issue. 

A longer process limits employers’ options

Some companies live by the endless-interview ethos and it works for them. Companies like Google and Facebook (Meta) are notorious for interviewing candidates to the nth degree. But because a huge number of people view these companies as their dream employers, they can hold as many interviews as they like, and no one will bat an eyelid. 

However, the same can not be said for less heralded employers or SMEs. While these companies are often amazing employers who nurture their employees, they may not have that ‘Silicon Valley’ appeal that the big guns have. 

What this means is that a candidate who has to jump through too many hoops to work at an SME or company with no significant employer brand appeal will just drop out. 

This reduces the talent pool for the employer who may already be struggling to find suitable, available talent for their vacant roles. 

As you can imagine, this can result in a longer time to hire and also increase the employer’s cost per hire. Not what you would call an ideal scenario. 

A candidate’s perspective

As an employer or recruiter, you must put yourself in the position of the person who has applied for the role. Something that you should be doing anyway to improve your candidate experience. So what are they thinking?

While many candidates understand the necessity of multiple interviews, what they may not understand is the need for repetition in these interviews. 

Candidates who have gone through long interview processes have noticed that interviewers often ask the same questions as their colleagues. With regards to the technical aspects of the role, this is, of course, acceptable. But the same, seemingly innocuous questions asked again and again suggests a lack of communication among the hiring panel. This, in turn, doesn’t reflect too well on the employer and could inadvertently push the candidate to remove themselves from the running. 

A seemingly endless interview process can also suggest that an employer is slow to take action, another aspect that some candidates may view negatively. 

You can see where this is going, right? Candidates who are suitable for a role don’t want to feel that their time is being wasted or that their skills and experience aren’t valued. 

So how many interviews are just right? 

That’s a little like asking ‘how long is a piece of string?’ 

The truth is that the hiring process is so nuanced that it’s impossible to give an exact number of interviews as an ideal. What works for some roles may not work for others even if it’s the same employer. 

What we would recommend, however, is keeping an eye on the timing. If you absolutely must have five interviews for a role, then try your best to hold them all on the same day or as close together as possible.  

And if you’re a candidate, then there’s no problem asking your prospective employer if they can try to accommodate you in this way. After all, you will need to take time off from your current role to attend the interviews so this makes absolute sense. 

It’s also important to come to a decision as quickly as possible. Taking a week or two to get back to the candidate following a round of five intensive interviews is not a good look especially given that all your hiring panel have met them in person. So strive to make a decision as early as possible. 

One final piece of advice we would give to employers is to analyse the data. A significant number of candidates dropping out of the running voluntarily could indicate that your interview process is too lengthy for the role in question. 

Look for feedback

Don’t just make assumptions based on your data, ask for feedback. This means asking both unsuccessful and successful candidates how they felt about the interview process and specifically asking about the number of interviews. 

If you're a candidate who is asked for feedback, make sure that you give an honest answer. Try not to be swayed by your success (or lack of success) in the interviews. It’s only through honest feedback that an employer can hope to improve their interviewing process and as result, overall candidate experience. 

Whether you’re an employer that is struggling with your interviewing process or a candidate who has been through one interview too many, we’d like to help. So get in touch today and let Software Placements help you navigate your way through the interview process. 

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