Streamlining the Interview Process

Many recruiters have experienced the knock-down drag-out fighting of going through many rounds of in-person interviews. The main problem with having rounds upon rounds of these interviews is that new information about the candidate is rarely uncovered. Plus, the individuals involved in the interview process are taken away from their jobs to conduct these time-consuming interviews.

To get a better picture of the time taken away from a resource use perspective, think about having four people on the interview team. Each in-person interview lasts two hours and there are five candidates.

4 Interviewers X 2 Hours X 5 Candidates = 40 Hours for Each Round

Now, if there are four rounds of these in-person interviews to make a hire, this interview process costs an approximate 160 hours of resource use, which is equivalent to four whole weeks of PTO. That’s expensive!

X4 Rounds = 160 Hours (Four Weeks of PTO)

Obviously not all companies fall into that exact analysis, but some are even worse off. Take some time to figure out where your company falls in that calculation to see if interview process improvement is needed or not. There are two main steps to improving resource use when it comes to interviewing efficiently and effectively: time management and interviewer training.

Time Management

The first step begins with time management and replacing panel interviews with meet and greets and then one-on-one interviews the rest of the day. It is a good practice for the interviewee to meet the entire interview team at the beginning of the day if possible; however, having panel interview limits the time for each interviewer to be able to ask questions and it can make the atmosphere intimidating for a great candidate.

A better solution is to pair each interviewer and candidate for a 30 minute to one hour timeslot, allowing each interviewer to be able to have a more productive conversation with the interviewee with limited distractions.

Article Continues Below

Interviewer Training

The next step to interview process improvement is training the interviewers. Some Fortune 500 companies elect to implement interviewer training programs to try to cut down interviewing time and improve the quality of hire. Educating all interviewers, not just hiring managers, is a great way to help ensure each interviewer is able to elicit information more efficiently and effectively from a candidate in one interview. Often the biggest challenge for interviewers is their lack of ability to ask the right questions to get the information needed to make a solid hiring decision, which can be taught through an organized training program. This in turn helps allow a hiring team the ability to make a solid hiring decision after one or two rounds of interviews versus four or five.

Think about the math here. If there is only one round of in-person interviews with one-on one time slots, resource use for the current staff goes down significantly.

5 Interviewers X 1 hour X 5 Candidates = 25 Hours for Each Round

Even with two rounds of in-person interviews, resource use can be substantially reduced from 160 hours to only 50 hours per hire. If your organization does not currently offer an interviewer training program, interviewing and hiring may be a much larger expense than is necessary.

Ryan Phillips is a technical writer & sourcing researcher at AIRS. She lives in Helena, Montana. Joining AIRS in 2010, she transitioned to the role from the internal recruiting team at The RightThing. Phillips began her recruiting career working for a technical recruitment staffing firm in the Silicon Valley, where she recruited for IT, Engineering, Marketing, and Accounting. She later moved into the RPO field, where she did mainly niche engineering recruitment for Microsoft. She works on curriculum development for all AIRS courses, including the industry-leading AIRS Certification classes. She also continues to consult with RPO clients on their social media branding strategies, as well as support the internal RightThing sourcing team to develop client specific sourcing strategies.


6 Comments on “Streamlining the Interview Process

  1. Great article! It’s true, endless rounds of interviewing can really take a toll on your bottom line. Plus with these interview processes taking so long, you just might miss out on the great talent you’ve been looking for when another, faster offer comes around. That’s why utilizing one-way video interviews, where employers pose written questions candidates answer on video, as a first round interview is a good idea. This way if the candidate is all wrong for the position, you don’t have waste any valuable time. This allows you to focus on only the most qualified and fitting candidates for your open positions.

  2. Thanks Ryan. Really good. I’d like to see objective evidence that shows a consistent need/benefit for more than two interview rounds of 3, 45-60 min interviews or 2-3 hours max each round. If you can’t figure out in that time if someone is competent and won’t drive you crazy in the long run, there’s something wrong with your process/interview team…


    Keith “Keep “Em Short & Sweet” Halperin

  3. Wow, after seeing how long the interview process takes after you add it all up, I feel bad for all the times I did not accept a position as an developer! I was a choosy worker and put a lot of recruiters through the ringer. Hopefully this makes up for it:

    Browse to Freelance Anything – Post jobs for free. Receive bids and candidates for any type of work. Good luck guys. You are important to the process!

  4. There is also another side of this issue that we all seem to be missing and that is the reputation of the employer. I find more and more candidates simply refusing to entertain the process when the reputation of employer is one of many interviews, lengthy processes and lack of timely feedback. With the advent of public forums (ie: Glassdoor, which is now a Facebook application) within social media, this is becoming a more prevalent problem. In the short term, it’s a reputation issue and an expense issue. Forbes Magazine recently quantified this at a median point of $40,000 per incident. Businessweek significantly higher. In the long run, this sort of protocol can also cost a company top talent. Statistically the companies (employers) who can make clean, quick, decisive decisions are the ones moving forward, retaining solid reputations, keeping losses at bay and attracting and retaining top talent.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *