A thorough job interview process is an important tool to help you identify and hire the right candidate. It can help you minimize the odds of making a hiring mistake. But an interview process with too many steps can actually be a detriment.
In fact, too many rounds of interviews or a prolonged interview process can be a red flag for candidates. The longer and more drawn out your process is, the greater the odds that you could have candidates disengage or even accept offers from other employers.
Here are some signs that your job interview process is too long:
1. Candidates tell you it’s too long
As you work through the hiring process, candidates may make comments that allude to the fact that your interview process is extensive, has a lot of steps, or is more comprehensive than other employers. Often, this is a candidate’s way of trying to tell you the job interview process is too long.
2. Candidates drop out frequently
Having candidates drop out as you get further into the interview process is a sure-fire sign your interview process is too long. Candidates are comfortable with a few interviews, but when it gets longer, they tend to disengage and look for other opportunities.
3. Fewer applicants
If you have noticed you do not receive as many applicants as you anticipate, it could be a sign. This is particularly the case if you provide information to candidates about the application process.
If you are finding there is too much overlap in each step in the interview process, it’s a sign to shorten things up. For example, if you have candidates meet with different people at each step, but they ask basically the same questions, there is room to make things more efficient.
Companies need to find the right balance between being comprehensive but also not having an interview process that is too drawn out. Look for ways to streamline your hiring process and make it as efficient as possible.
Mark Johnson on bbc.com provides a good example of how Google reduced their hiring process, saving them time and resources without sacrificing the quality of their hiring decision:
“A streamlined hiring process gives a company an edge in a competitive employment market. Google, for example, recently examined its past interview data and determined that four interviews were enough to make a hiring decision with 86% confidence, noting that there was a diminishing return on interviewer feedback thereafter. Previously, candidates applying for a job at Google could be subjected to more than a dozen interviews. The number of people involved in the process has also been reduced because Google found that four interviewers could make the same hiring decisions that a larger number of interviewers had in the past.”
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