Two Interviews Is the Magic Number for Job Seekers

How many interviews is enough when it comes to hiring someone? American job seekers and employers agree that more than one interview is necessary when filling open positions, but while candidates say two should suffice, some hiring managers believe that number should be closer to five.

This is according to a recent survey from The Harris Poll commissioned by Express Employment Professionals.

Participating job seekers understand the interview process isn’t “one and done,” as 83% believe they should participate in more than one interview before receiving a job offer with two in five (41%) ideally participating in two interviews. Very few expect more than five interviews.

Conversely, 4 in 10 hiring managers (40%) say candidates can expect to go through two interviews before receiving an offer while 15% say job seekers can expect to go through five or more interviews at their company.

Both groups agree multiple interviews are beneficial for several reasons including job seekers’ ability to ask follow-up questions (56%), gain information on the position (56%), meet other employees within the company (47%) and ensure the company culture is a fit. Hiring managers say these extended opportunities allow them to better evaluate candidates’ personalities (50%) and skills (48%), ensure their fit with the company’s culture (47%) and get other employees’ perspectives on the prospective colleague (41%).

Taking too long to extend an employment offer, however, could also have consequences.

Job seekers say the drawbacks include the additional time added to the process (52%), delays landing a job (45%), adds additional costs (39%), could accept another job offer in the meantime (32%) or may become fatigued or disillusioned with the business (27%).

Hiring managers add that lengthy interview processes could also lead to subjective decision-making (26%) or biases (24%).

Finding the Right Balance

In the middle part of the country, Express franchise owners Greg Sulentic and Alyssa Chumbley have seen a significant increase in applicants recently, and Sulentic says “oddly enough, it’s taking slightly longer to fill jobs.”

“Even though we have far more candidates available for every position, clients are being more selective and taking longer to make hiring decisions,” the Nebraska franchisee added. “The urgency has dissipated.”

Just a few states away in Indiana, Chumbley says her clients have fewer openings and want to find individuals who are better long-term fits for their organization.

“Companies believe if they slow up or add more steps in the interview process, they will have a better chance at identifying these applicants,” she said. “However, the competition for talent is still fierce, so dragging out the timeframe of hiring people may not be the best solution to compete in this market.”

Regarding a lengthy hiring journey, both Sulentic and Chumbley see the benefits of thoroughly vetting an applicant.

“Internally, we require a minimum of four interviews with four different staff members,” Sulentic said. “When staff members are involved in the decision-making process, their buy-in improves, and they’re more willing to develop and train the incoming new employee.”

Don’t wait too long to extend an offer, however, or you may lose top talent to competitors.

“Time is money, meaning the more time you allow to pass in the hiring process, the more likely the candidate will be approached with another opportunity,” Chumbley said. “This adds to a decrease in loss of production for the client. Keep the candidate thoroughly engaged if you so choose to extend the hiring process to limit the risk of having to start the search over again.”

It’s easy to want to fast-track filling open positions, but making bad hires is costly in time and money, according to Express Employment International CEO Bill Stoller.

“Finding the balance between getting to know a candidate and facilitating too long of an interview process is tough but worth it to create a tenured, invested workforce,” he said.


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