Enough is enough: How many interviews are too many? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Enough is enough: How many interviews are too many?

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Before you make a job offer, how many interviews do you run job candidates through? And, more important, why?

Some employers schedule multiple interviews due mostly to tradition and habit, which can waste managers’ time, alienate top candidates and unnecessarily lengthen the hiring process.

Sixty percent of job hunters will undergo three or more interviews before receiving an offer, according to a recent Right Management survey. Twenty percent participate in four or more interviews. Only 3% have one interview.

Use the following guidelines to create a strategy for conducting multiple interviews and determining how many are too many:

Limit the number of interviews to three in most cases, or four at the maximum. Some companies have candidates crawl through five or even 10 interviews, says John Sullivan, CEO of Dr. John Sullivan & Associates HR consulting firm.

Schedule all interviews in one day if the candidate will meet with several managers. Top candidates are usually already employed. Some applicants may drop out of the running or decide to accept other offers if you drag out the process.

Collaborate beforehand to decide the questions and topics each person will cover. Interviewers who cover the same topics should approach them with different questions. Repeating the same questions can cause “candidate fatigue” and create the impression management isn’t organized.  

Don’t use multiple interviews as a substitute for traditional employee screening, testing and evaluation—or to compensate for cutbacks in employee screening and assessment.

Implement an online system—accessible to HR, managers and executives—to schedule and track candidate interviews. 

Educate managers about the impact of fewer interviews on recruiting costs and the quality of hires.

Don’t use multiple interviews because of habit, but because they are necessary. For example, multiple interviews may work best for jobs that cut across various departments and require several skills.

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