Every hiring professional knows the importance of finding the right candidate for the job and interviews are our most frequently used tool to determine who to hire. But are you aware that the average length of most interview processes in the US is around 24 days? Both the employer and potential candidate have to invest a significant amount of time and resources, only to potentially not hire this person in the end.
Job seekers are no longer willing to navigate a lengthy and cumbersome interview process that involves numerous rounds and repetitive assessments. They’re looking for efficiency, transparency, and a seamless experience from start to finish. As a business, it is imperative to refine your interview process to not only meet these expectations but also to stand out as an employer. In this blog post, we will explore how you can improve your interview process to benefit both your prospects and your organization.
Why Your Interview Process May Be Inefficient
There is a lot of information, research, and preparation that goes into interviewing, on both sides of the process. Just because one interview process worked well for one organization or for a certain time frame, does not mean it will continue to be the most beneficial.
First, take a look to see if any of these factors may be contributing to the inefficiency of your interview process:
- Inconsistency: When a consistent structure and process are not in place, interview fairness and accuracy can be diminished. Different interviewers may have varying approaches and criteria for assessing candidates, leading to inconsistencies in candidate evaluations. This lack of standardization can make it challenging to compare and select the best candidates objectively.
- Lack of training: A lack of training among interviewers can significantly hinder the process. In most cases, two-thirds of all interviewers are not trained on interviewing best practices or legal do’s and don’ts. Without proper training, an untrained interviewer may struggle to conduct effective interviews, evaluate candidates objectively, and ask relevant, legal questions.
- Biases: Biases also play a significant role in interview inefficiency. Quick judgments and general impressions formed during interviews can interfere with the quality and objectivity of assessing applicants. These biases can be unconscious and may lead interviewers to favor or dismiss candidates based on factors unrelated to their qualifications or potential.
- Overall inefficiency: Interviewers may not realize their questions or preparedness are actually hindering them. This can stem from interviewers asking the wrong questions and using inadequate evaluation techniques. Ineffective questioning can fail to retrieve relevant information about candidates, making it difficult to make informed hiring decisions. Inadequate evaluation techniques may result in interviewers overlooking crucial skills or attributes, leading to missed opportunities to identify top talent.
There are many other factors that could be contributing to an inefficient interview process, but these are some of the prevalent ones to keep in mind. When interviewing becomes inefficient, it can lead to those multiple rounds of decisions, due to the indecisiveness about which prospects to select.
The Prospects’ Perspective
Before diving into the steps to refine your interview process, let’s take a closer look at what prospects are seeking:
Candidates have busy lives and lengthy interview processes can be a major turnoff. Multiple rounds of interviews, assessments, and delays can cause top talent to lose interest and accept offers from other companies. Efficiency in the hiring process is key to attracting and retaining talent.
Everyone loves transparency; people appreciate knowing what to expect throughout the interview process. Being kept in the dark or experiencing sudden changes in the process can be frustrating and make prospects question your organization’s communication.
3. Respect for Their Time
Just as candidates value your time (the interviewers), they expect potential employers to do the same. Requiring unnecessary interviews or assessments can be seen as a drag in their schedules and an overall lack of prioritization of time.
Candidates want a fair chance to showcase their skills and qualifications. Bias in the interview process, whether intentional or unintentional, can lead to a negative candidate experience.
5. Constructive Feedback
Anyone who goes through an interview appreciates constructive feedback, especially if they are not selected for the position. Providing feedback can help them improve and leave a positive impression on your organization, even if they are not the right fit for the current role.
How to Refine Your Interview Process
Now that we understand what candidates are looking for, let’s explore how you can refine your interview process to meet these expectations:
1. Define Clear Objectives
Start by clearly defining the goals of each interview round and the skills or qualities you are assessing. This helps streamline the process and ensures that each interview serves a specific purpose. This can be as easy as having your objectives laid out and making sure you are hitting them throughout the interview.
2. Create a Structure for the Interviews
A random process yields random outcomes. To begin creating structure, define the job’s primary requirements. Create typical interview questions based on the job requirements once you have discovered them. Use the same questions to screen all candidates for that position. If more than one interviewer is present, all questions should be consistent and address the same employment requirements. Individual interviewers may have their own set of “pet questions.” These should be removed or reconsidered for inclusion in the standard interview. This will improve the objectivity and accuracy of your assessments.
3. Consistent Questions for Reducing Rounds
Consider reducing the number of interview rounds to the essentials. Each interview should provide new insights or information about the candidate. This not only saves time but also respects the candidate’s schedule.
Think about what questions are going to give you insightful information about the candidate, like what their strengths or top skills are, how best they learn, do they work better alone or with a team, how would they describe themselves, how well they work under deadlines, etc. You could even ask them to describe a time when they had to resolve conflict or work under pressure. This is a chance to really connect with the candidate, so feel free to ask specific and unique questions.
4. Judge Candidates on Performance
Candidates want to make the greatest possible first impression. Their goal is to persuade you that they are the best candidate for the position. This sometimes causes people to oversell and make promises they truly cannot live up to.
Recognize that during the interview, candidates are most likely at their best. Promises and previous work experience are not always indicators of future success. You may cut through the smokescreen by asking questions that focus on actual performance outcomes. Inquire whether the outcomes are their own or the results of a team/workgroup. If the job requires a work sample, request one.
5. Use Technology Wisely
Leverage technology to conduct initial screenings, skills assessments, and even video interviews. This can help filter out candidates who do not meet your basic criteria, saving time for both parties. If you do not offer video interviews as an option by now, you might want to consider implementing them (at least for your initial rounds of interviews). There has been a 57% increase in video interviews from 2019 – 2023, and more than half of employers plan to continue to use video interviews.
6. Communicate Clearly
Maintain open and transparent communication with candidates. Share the interview process timeline, what each interview round entails, and what they should prepare for. Keep them informed of any changes and always reach out to them regardless of the outcome. Some recruiters or employers claim they will let candidates know of any decisions that are made but fall short of letting candidates know when they are no longer being considered.
If you do not want to notify candidates when they are no longer being considered, then specifically state a time frame they can track if they do not hear from you.
7. Training for Interviewers
Ensure that your interviewers are trained in conducting fair and unbiased interviews. Implement standardized interview questions (as stated previously) and evaluation criteria to reduce the influence of unconscious bias.
8. Provide Feedback
Offer constructive feedback to candidates, especially if they are not selected. This helps them understand areas for improvement and fosters a positive outlook on your organization.
9. Continuously Evaluate and Improve
After all this, remember to regularly review your interview process to identify bottlenecks, areas for improvement, and feedback from candidates. Adjust your approach as needed to make the process more efficient and candidate-friendly.
The Role of Staffing Support Specialists
Refining your interview process can be a time-consuming endeavor, but it is essential for attracting and retaining top talent. If you find that managing the hiring process is becoming overwhelming, consider partnering with Staffing Support Specialists.
Here at Staffing Support Specialists, we can offer multiple ways to assist with your hiring needs. Whether it is providing access to a pool of pre-screened candidates, managing initial interviews, or even taking over the entire hiring process, we can be a valuable resource to help streamline and optimize your recruitment efforts. To learn more about how Staffing Support Specialists can benefit your organization, contact us or visit our website for additional information.