The Death Of The Long Interview

Sep 17, 2022

When it comes to interviewing candidates for a job role, how long do you take? Not just for one of them, but for all of them? How long does it take you to do the rounds of interviews, and decide which candidates move on and which don’t make the cut? If a candidate is successful, how long will they have spent in the interview cycle in order to get there?

What if we said that the interview process for many businesses now starts at 7 weeks, and can go on over 3 months?

Yeah, we know. That’s far too long, especially for the candidates in today’s market. If you want to attract top talent and keep them interested long enough to actually hire them, then you need to speed up your recruitment process.

Why Is Recruitment Taking So Long?

Sadly there’s no one reason the interview and recruitment process has been stretched out for so long – it’s more of a combination of factors. The time between receiving and application and contacting a candidate has gone up as more demand is being placed on businesses. Time between that initial contact and a telephone interview, and then again time between telephone interviews and in-person interviews, which can range from days to weeks. If your company is doing second interviews, then there is a significant gap between the first candidate doing their first and second interview. If you’re a business that’s doing even more rounds of interviews, then a) why? And b) it’s going to take even longer. And if you then need time to put together offers, it just adds up.

Then factor in just general business things. Staff absences. Key decision makers being on holiday. Interviews having to be postponed due to a heavy workload or a busy period. The more people there are involved in the process, the more likely it is that someone will be unavailable and hold the whole process up. Not to mention that most businesses won’t start looking for new recruits until someone has already left, which means people are already stretched trying to cover that gap. All in all, it’s not exactly surprising that some businesses find it difficult to get through the whole cycle in 3 months or less.

Why Long Interviews Don’t Work

On paper, that whole process doesn’t look great. But from a candidate’s perspective, it can be even worse. This is because many companies don’t communicate with their candidates in-between stages, or tell them if they aren’t successful. So many assume if they hear nothing for a week or two that they haven’t been successful, and go looking elsewhere. With the talent pool being limited and the demand for talented professionals at an all-time high, the longer your interview process takes, the more likely it is that your ideal candidate gets a better offer.

That’s it – the crux of it. Long interviews don’t work because you will lose great candidates to other businesses who can move faster. Do you need any more reason to get a move on?

How To Speed Up Your Interview Cycle

Once you’ve done all the right prep work, you should be ready to start interviewing candidates as soon as possible. The more efficient your interview process, the better, as this will ensure speed and get you better results. Here are a few things to bear in mind before you start reaching out to arrange interviews:

Prioritise Recruitment: Recruitment isn’t your run-of-the-mill activity, and it probably isn’t something you’re doing every day. So it’s fairly easy to let your focus slip, then suddenly you’ve been doing it for 3 months with no end in sight! That’s no good. Instead, when you’re ready to recruit, make sure you’re able to give the process your full attention. Avoid recruiting during busy periods, and perhaps have someone else take on some of your responsibilities during the recruitment and interviews.

Be Realistic: We always talk to clients about what they want from a role, and of course, you want the top candidate for it every time. But are you offering an opportunity that those top candidates would actually look for? Or is your role better suited to a junior or intermediate-level candidate with room to grow? Unrealistic expectations can make the interview process drag on and can lose you some brilliant candidates in the process, so make sure you’re being realistic.

Keep Your Shortlist Short: Shortlists from interviews should be just that – short. The more candidates you have in the process, the longer it will take, and the more confusing it gets when it comes to decision time. Remember, if you don’t find someone suitable in round 1 of interviewing, you can always do another round! So try to keep your interviewing shortlist manageable.

Communicate With Candidates: One of the biggest complaints I hear from candidates is that they do an interview and then never hear from the company again. This might be ‘standard practice’ in a lot of places, but it’s also rude, and it puts the candidate in a difficult position. Do they call you back and check-in, or just give up and move on? Once you have decided a candidate isn’t suitable, let them know. All it takes is an email, but it really makes all the difference. Similarly, if you want them to go through another interview, let them know that too!

Use A Recruiter: If you’re struggling to manage the recruitment process and it’s starting to make your head spin, you can always outsource it. Recruiting specialists (like us) work closely with your business to understand exactly what you need, help you draft job descriptions and then proactively search for candidates that fit the bill – so that you don’t have to. We can also guide you through the interview and onboarding process, so you always have someone to support you and keep things running on track.

At Wildcat Careers we work with both candidates and businesses, which gives us a unique insight into the struggles both parties face when it comes to interviews. We use that knowledge to help you design and manage a recruitment process that will actually attract top talent and allow you to fill vacancies fast. If you’d like to know more, just get in touch with the team today.


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