Never-Ending Interviews

For job applicants, the interview process can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. On the one hand, there’s the potential for a new job or even a new career. On the other hand, it can take days, weeks or longer to find out how the interview went and whether the applicant landed the job or even just made it to the next round of interviews.

interview processInterview Timeframes Growing Longer

Unfortunately for job applicants, a recent trend among many employers has been to significantly draw out the interview process to a seemingly never-ending cycle of interviews. Often this process is not even transparent to the applicant who isn’t sure how many rounds to expect or whether another interview will be unexpectedly added to their interview schedule.

For employers, the motivation behind this practice is easy to understand. Hiring and onboarding is expensive, as is muddling through with an employee who really isn’t cut out for the job. Recruiters want to get it right when bringing on a new team member. Hence the urge to be excruciatingly thorough.

Upping the Odds of a “Good” Hire

“Trial and error is bad and costly for companies who are hiring, so they often compensate by making the recruitment process more and more forensic,” writes Mark Johanson in an article for BBC Worklife. “This means conducting multiple interviews to gather valuable information to help them more clearly determine which candidate has the most potential. In the best-case scenario, this is a great investment for all involved: it ensures that the candidate won’t struggle in the job, and that the company won’t have to repeat the process all over again.”

But for applicants, the interview process can be so off-putting that candidates actually withdraw from consideration. After all, in an employee-friendly labor market, why would an applicant with multiple potential employment opportunities put up with an opaque, drawn-out interview process?

Obviously, employers need to balance their need for thorough interviewing against the risk of turning away attractive candidates.

Being Efficient and Thorough to Identify Top Candidates

The solution is really quite simple, at least in theory: be efficient and thorough in the interview process. It shouldn’t take five, six, seven, etc., interviews to evaluate a candidate. If it does, that means the company is not using its time efficiently. It’s likely asking the same questions over and over again or having a candidate sit through interviews with disengaged and ill-prepared interviewers.

Today’s job market heavily favors employees in many sectors. Employers simply can’t afford to put candidates through the wringer unnecessarily, because those candidates don’t appreciate it and likely have other options to turn to if timeframes become too extended.

In this environment, employers that feel they need to thoroughly vet each candidate before extending an offer should strive to do so as efficiently as possible to avoid losing out on top talent.