Is Your Interview Process Hurting Hiring?

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You wouldn’t enter into a marriage without knowing everything about the person you will potentially spend the rest of your life with nor do you want to hire someone without putting him or her through a rigorous interview process.

With competition fierce to hire highly skilled workers, companies wrongly shy away from tough interview processes fearing it will turn off the would-be candidate. But according to human resources experts, that can be a costly mistake.

“The selection process is much like a marriage,” says Steven Canale, manager, global recruiting and staffing services at General Electric. “The more each party knows about each other the better the chances are for a long and successful relationship.”

According to HR experts, when it comes to interviewing, companies have to strike the right balance between an over the top interview process and a way too easy one.  You don’t want to have the candidate go through the wringer, coming in for multiple interviews that last for hours just because you can but at the same time you don’t want to make a hiring choice after a ten minute meet and greet type interview.

“If you want people to stick around and you want good quality people than a tougher time in the front end will save a lot of headaches at the back end when they are on board,” says Gene Morrissy, partner at executive development firm RHR International. “There should be some kind of balance. There needs to be enough time to get past the front end image.”

Companies typically rush through the interview process for two reasons: out of fear the candidate will walk away or because the hiring manager or recruiter is under pressure to fill the role ASAP. While doing a rush job will ensure someone is filling the position immediately it’s likely it will cost the company more money in the long run because of an increase in turnover.  According to GE’s Canale, if the rigorous job interview process is done fairly and in a timely manner, then it sends the message to the candidates that this is a position worth having.  “The top talent that GE and many other companies seek want to compete and strive for the best position,” says Canale.  “They want it because it isn’t easy.”

Although some companies fear a tough interview process will turn the potential hire off, it’s having an easy one that could have the job candidate running for the hills. Take Goldman Sachs for an example. The Wall Street firm is notorious for its grueling interview process but yet the company gets tons of resumes each day. On the flip side if the company makes the interview so easy and simple the job candidate may question the cache of the company and whether it’s a place they want to work. The easy interviews always create those questions of doubt on the part of the job candidate, says Dane Atkinson, CEO of New York City-based SumAll, a data analytics startup. If the interview was easy candidates may wonder if the company is desperate or if he or she could have negotiated for more money.   At SumAll if a candidate makes it far in the interview process he or she will be offered a paid trial period for a month. That not only helps the company evaluate if the candidate is a right fit but if the potential employee wants to work there.  “People work best when they are doing what they love and we need to find out if they have the real underlying passion and experience,” says Atkinson.

It’s not enough to have grueling interview process alone. Good HR departments will follow up not only on how the interviews go from an internal perspective but also with those who accepted positions and those that didn’t. At GE all candidates who were offered jobs are surveyed each season so the company can get a sense of how it’s perceived and where it can improve.  Canale says companies should have their top talent involved in the interview and selection process and should compare their process to their competitors to make sure they are striking the right balance and hiring for the long term. “Once you are sure that you know your goal, dissect your process and look at all the steps to insure that they are in synch with your objectives,” says Canale. “Look at whether or not your existing process is yielding quality hires that are staying and succeeding within your company.”

Curious to see how your interview process is rated by candidates? Check out your own interview difficulty rating on Glassdoor and see how you stack up against the Top 25 Most Difficult Companies To Interview 2013 List.

Categories: Talent Acquisition
Author:  Donna Fuscaldo

Freelance journalist. @donnabail

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