It has been happening a lot lately. A person is interviewed once, twice, three times for a job…then a panel interview and perhaps even a long wait after that for a decision. In the meantime, the candidate for the job is getting cold feet. Does this company have a hard time making a decision? Does it take a committee to make a decision at this place?
Finally the candidate calls they have taken another job elsewhere. The long process of hiring has made them continue their job search and found a company that made a decision in a reasonable amount of time. Usually the hiring company is upset. They really liked the person and were just days or weeks away from a job offer. They just needed two more people to meet the person. They just needed one more lunch, one more dinner or one more question answered.
Hiring the wrong person for the job is a costly mistake. It is prudent to interview, check references, ask lots of questions to get to know the person as best you can. There is a point; however, where a leap of faith is taken. There is no crystal ball. If you have done your homework, you have done all you can do.
Large companies are the worst offenders of the practice of many multiple interviews. The thought process is the job applicant needs to meet the hiring manager, other department heads (their peers), executives, and perhaps even the department that would report to them.
If your company has people come back for more than 3 interviews before a job offer, consider doing these things:
- Have managers share notes about previous interviews so they are aware of the questions asked and answers. They can then add real value to the process and focus on a different set of questions.
- Try to avoid panel interviewing. This is quite stressful for the applicant and seldom gives a reliable read of their personality. To condense the number of interviews, it may work to just have two or three people meet with the applicant. If you need a large conference room to accommodate the panel, in my opinion, it is too large.
- Think about what your process will be before you start it. Often it seems companies make it up along the way. The result is asking the applicant to come back time and time again to meet this person or the other. Try organizing who really needs to approve the applicant and ensure it is organized into no more than 3 interviews.
- Make sure you are asking open ended questions and the time is spent with the candidate talking the most. Inexperienced interviewers will end up spending so much time telling about the company or position when the interview ends they feel they still don’t ‘know’ the candidate.
- If other department heads are meeting a hire for your department, let them know what you are expecting. Perhaps you just want to make sure they are comfortable with this hire and can work with them. Perhaps you want them to question a skill out of your realm of expertise. Perhaps you just want another set of eyes looking at the candidate. Clearly communicate this before the interview so you don’t have to bring the candidate back again if your objectives for the interview are not met.
Interviewing is stressful. It is important to recognize this fact and be sure your process is streamlined so it will yield the best candidate for the job. Applicants are prepared for up to 3 interviews and then expect to have a job offer or be told they are not moving forward in the process.
Always be courteous to job applicants by letting them know of your decisions. After interviewing 4 times with a company, it is reasonable to expect a decision. However, the most common complaint we get is from people who never heard back from the hiring company after multiple interviews. This is not a good representation of your company.
Review your interview process and ensure your company is well represented by having a streamlined process where a decision is made and communicated in a reasonable length of time.
Partner with Talis Group on your next hire and we can help you through the decision process. We know our candidates strengths and weaknesses and can help you make the right decision.