If I had a dime for every time a candidate asked me how many steps would be involved in the interview process, I would be a wealthy, wealthy man. Even 5+ years into the cycle, employers still have a hard time accepting that this is a candidate driven hiring market. They also struggle to realize that their 37 step interview process is attractive to no one, and that they are losing great talent because of it. This is hardly news for those of us on the talent acquisition front lines, and this month's economic data continues to drive home the point.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the September unemployment rate declined to 3.7 percent - the lowest since 1969. And a recent Clutch survey found that about 43 percent of recent hires were offered a position less than two weeks after starting to apply for jobs. Two weeks!! Close to 60% of new hires got their jobs within two months of searching.
I get it... Hiring in an economy where there are more job openings than candidates feels like high stakes poker. Making the wrong hire can cost tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention tons of headaches. As a hiring authority, you want to control the process and make the right hire - not just any hire. With so much at stake, you are right to feel that way.
That said, never forget that an interview is a two way street. Candidates are just as concerned about "fit" as you are, and I guarantee they are interviewing you just as much as you are interviewing them. In the Clutch survey we cited above, 9 out of 10 respondents said the interview process influences their view of a company, and many candidates seek out online reviews of a company on Glassdoor, Yelp or Google.
So what can you do?
1. Evaluate and Plan Before Beginning
Before the ink is dry on the budget requisition, you should already know what the process will look like. Who will sit in on interviews? Will they be individual or team interviews? When will you meet to get team feedback? What is the timeline for hiring? Do we know how much having the position unfilled is costing the company? Partner closely with your recruiter or HR team to develop a plan and execute.
2. Avoid Analysis Paralysis
In nearly 10 years of recruiting, one of the biggest mistakes I see employers make is getting struck with analysis paralysis. Certainly, you should be thoughtful in making a hire. But let's be realistic - when you know, you know. Allowing "best" to get in the way of "better" is a serious mistake. Throwing one more interview in there, just to be sure, is nothing more than you looking for an excuse to disqualify a candidate.
We are big fans of the 3 step Interview process - telephone qualifying interview, an onsite discovery interviews with all stakeholders, final confirmation interview, offer. And if you have the luxury of working with a trusted recruiting advisor, you can often shorten the process by eliminating the telephone interview.
3. Don't Accept "I'm Too Busy" as an Excuse
Interview scheduling can be a nightmare if there are multiple decision makers involved. Ideally, you should pre-plan your interviews well before you even begin reviewing candidate profiles. That way, once you have your top 3-4 candidates selected, you can move immediately to the interview stage. However, in reality, that isn't always possible. Everyone on the team needs to understand the need to be flexible - up front. After all, getting the position filled ultimately helps the team succeed, and takes that "one more thing" off of their plate. We are all busy, so let the team know up front that you expect their flexibility and cooperation in the process.
With a little planning and a pre-defined process, you can have a major impact on shortening your interview process, and bringing on the top talent that all your competitors are fighting over.