When Should Organizations Stop Interviewing?

Companies often struggle with long and tedious interview processes that consume valuable employee time, create a poor candidate experience, lead to qualified candidate dropouts, and don’t necessarily result in better-quality hires.

Why Do We Keep Interviewing?

1. Social loafing and decision avoidance: In an interview process involving multiple stakeholders, some individuals may shy away from the responsibility of making a decisive choice. They prefer to distribute the decision-making burden among additional participants, leading to an increase in the number of interview rounds.

2. Lack of data-driven decision-making: Many companies struggle to determine when they’ve gathered sufficient information to make an informed decision. It’s essential to understand the return on investment (ROI) in terms of information gained from each additional interview.

3. Maintaining the status quo: At some point, someone decided that conducting 10 interviews, for example, was a reasonable practice for hiring a developer. Everyone aligned, and this is how it has worked since then. It might be that this person is no longer in the company, but this bad tradition prevails.

Knowing When to Stop

To determine the appropriate time to rain down on the interview parade, it’s crucial to adopt a data-driven approach that facilitates informed decision-making.

Google’s example:

In the past, Google’s applicants had to endure more than a dozen interviews until its people analytics team decided to review 5 years’ worth of interview data to see if it’s worth it.

They discovered that 4 interviews provided an 86% confidence level for predicting a suitable candidate for hire at Google. Beyond the fourth interview, the incremental increase in accuracy dropped to less than 1%.

How to Achieve This

1. Compare interview scores with final decisions: At Google, interviewers assign scores at the end of each interview. That allowed them to correlate the first interview score with the final decision (extend an offer or not), then correlate the first and second interview score average with the final decision and so forth.

2. Assess alignment between interviewers: If the first and second interviewers share a similar assessment of relevant skills, is it truly necessary to conduct a third or fourth interview? In case each of your interviews evaluates different skills, ensure there’s some overlap and critical skills are measured at least in two different tools or by two different perspectives in the recruitment process.

3. Evaluate alignment with other assessment tools: If your recruitment process involves professional tasks or personality or cognitive assessments, assess for alignment between these tools and interview evaluations.

Implementing a Data-Driven Infrastructure

All of the above will be very challenging to do if you don’t have a data-driven infrastructure for recruiting in place. So, first things first: Make sure you’re assessing for specific skills in a quantifiable way. From there, countless possibilities arise to not only streamline the interview process but also gain insights into its predictiveness, identify top interviewers, and more.

Shiran Danoch, PhD, is Founder and CEO of Informed Decisions.

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