Is your interview process your downfall?

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Is your interview process your downfall?

Or in other words – you are not Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Meta or Apple, so what can we learn from the big boys, the companies everyone eligibly wants to work for?

Google used to have a 7-stage process whereas companies like Meta, Netflix, Microsoft did much shorter ones and it forced Google to change as they were missing out on talent to their competitors.

Google used their vast amount of data to devise the “Rule of 4”. The rule simply states that a maximum of four people should be involved in the interview process.

It was found that you could accurately predict whether a candidate would be hired by the company after four interviews. After that, an additional interview wouldn’t change this probability, which was predicted to be 86% accurate. In fact, for each additional interview, you are only wasting the time of everyone who is involved with the process, and very little extra is likely to be gained from the fifth or sixth interviews.

Long, drawn out interview process with 5 / 6 stages cause headaches for everyone – candidates, clients and recruiters.

A companies interview process gives potential employees an immediate insight on how you operate…..

A smooth, efficient, two way, clear, fair and logical process lets candidates know you are a smooth, efficient, two way, clear, fair and logical company. If someone works for you, they can expect that to translate into their working life, whether it be your approach to projects, reviews, team structure or policies.

A convoluted, drawn out, confusing, one sided, impersonal, intense process lets candidates know you are a convoluted, drawn out, confusing and impersonal company … you get the idea.

What is an appropriate number of interview stages? That will vary on role and level, but at each stage it should benefit the candidate as much as the company.

As an average for contract roles, we tend to see a 2 stage process – Ideally this will happen within the space of days, not weeks – the contract market moves quickly.

For permanent roles, the typical process for our clients who tend to secure the top talent will be quick but thorough, 2 or 3 stages.  First stage call with the hiring manager or maybe a technical team member to assess tech skills, second stage face to face with hiring managers then a third HR / Senior stakeholder to tick the boxes. Ideally within 2 to 3 weeks. Offer soon after and speedy paperwork.

What can cause the process to fall down, resulting in candidates dropping out the process?

  • If your process has 5 or more stages and takes over a month to complete.
  • First stage interview with someone who can’t answer the candidates’ questions or who isn’t experienced enough to properly assess technical skills.
  • Technical Tests – including verbal reasoning or maths tests if not a grad role. Coding tests that take people multiple hours of their own time? Big turn off, especially with experienced people.
  • Taking a week between each interview stage.
  • Having to be interviewed by everyone separately, 6 people in the process shouldn’t mean 6 individual interviews. Arrange it so the candidate interviews with 2 interviewers in one stage.
  • Leaving a critical skill assessment to the end – need someone fluent in German? Assess that at the first stage, not 4 stages down the line.
  • Assuming interviews are a one-way process where the candidate should be impressing the company, without thinking you need to impress them too.
  • Taking a long time to get contracts out after offers are verbally accepted.
  • Not accepting candidates feedback on your process

We could share so many horror stories that have cost clients good people and usually it comes down to the interview process – these are examples of where talent has been snapped up elsewhere.

  • Your competitors could be at the stage of offering a candidate after 2 interviews, while you are only on interview 3 out of 5.
  • Candidate has 2 offers on the table, one company gets a contract out within 24 hours, 7 days later then are still waiting on the other – which do you think looks more professional?
  • Candidates prioritising interviews with an actual person rather than a 3 hour home tech project.
  • Getting frustrated that after 4 interviews they now have to interview with the Head of Something based in the US that they may only meet 3 times a year as its “process”.

At som3 we work with clients of various sizes and sectors – it isn’t one size fits all and we are not all Google with a well-known name to chuck around. We will work with you to advise on your process, on what your competitors are doing, candidate feedback on your interviews and how to improve the candidate’s experience.

At the end of the day – we all want the same outcome!! Top talent placed into top companies.