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Never-ending Job Interviews Are On The Rise But This Is Why It’s a Problem

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This pandemic has severely affected the job market with the Great Resignation.

However, the job market is slowly showing signs of recovery with many people returning to the workforce and others in the midst of job search. Be it as it may, there is a trend in job interviews these days which is on the rise and may not be good for either a company or a candidate.

The said trend is a phenomenon named “never-ending interviews” which is an occurrence where there are many rounds of interviews for one particular role. Two to three rounds of interviews may be alright for most of us, especially if the job is higher on the career ladder. But when it gets to the fifth or sixth round of interviews, it may be detrimental to both the organisation and the prospective candidate.

In a LinkedIn post by Mike Conley that has gotten over 2.6 million views, the software engineering manager reveals how he had to pull out of a position he coveted as the company had just too many rounds of interviews.

 

“I decided to pull my name for consideration because they were working to schedule rounds 4-9 of the interview process with me.”

 

He elaborated and said that the reason why companies are doing so is that they are afraid of hiring the wrong candidate and when that happens, then it would result in monetary loss and wastage of time. Ironically, this process is also a waste of time for both the company and the candidate.

It turns out that this sentiment is shared by other people in multiple industries as the comments section is brimming with people sharing their disdain at the same process.

This practice of never-ending interviews is widespread and we do understand the logic behind it as companies would like to make sure they are hiring the best candidate out there and they would want to make sure that they are consistent. However, Paul McDonald, a Los Angeles-based senior executive director at Robert Half says to BBC that the act of stringing along candidates, also known as “breadcrumbing” will result in a loss of candidates.

 

“They’re risking losing candidates because there are so many opportunities for them.”

 

In a survey by the global staffing firm, 26% of the respondents have said that they will be leaving bad reviews anonymously on the companies that they believe are “breadcrumbing” them. This will definitely result in a bad reputation for the company which may deter other candidates from applying.

Some companies may not be stringing the job seekers along on purpose but rather, there may be unforeseen circumstances such as a change in direction or a change in management that is out of the company’s control. On the other hand, there are some that do so because they are indecisive.

Paul McDonald added that this indecisiveness provides an insight into the company for prospective candidates.

“If the decision-making process is this difficult for the organisation – if they’re not able to pull the trigger after three or four interviews and you’ve done everything asked of you and they’re still unsure – then that’s a key indicator of what it might be like to work for that organisation and those managers.”

As mentioned above, the optimum number of interviews is a maximum of four. This has been proven by a study done by Google where they looked at their past interview data. Back then, it was standard for candidates to be subjected to a dozen interviews when they want to get into Google, however, the company’s study revealed that four interviews were enough to make a hiring decision with 86% confidence.

Jenny Ho, an experienced head-hunter of Singapore-based International Workplace Consulting, has said that the optimum number of interviews differ for the position offered. For director level, it’s three to four rounds and for roles below director level, it’s a maximum of three but two is most preferable.

Not only that, the head-hunter has said that the number of people involved in the interviewing process also matters and they should be, the employee’s would-be direct manager, their supervisor and human resources. If it’s for a C-suite position then it would be best to include the other C-suite executives and if possible, some tenured employees. However, it’s important to not get too many people involved as the study by Google has found that panels of four interviewers will make the same decision as panels of more than four interviewers.

Jenny Ho added, “there is this concept that there must be a better candidate out there, so [companies] get more interviewers involved and, sometimes, they just end up more confused.”

Hence, companies should have a hire-by date from the start of a recruitment process to eliminated indecisiveness and also because the best candidates only transition the job market for a short period of time, said Dr John Sullivan, an HR thought-leader from Silicon Valley.

Ideally the hiring process should not be time-consuming and taxing for both the company and job seekers. Hence, companies should change up their process in accordance with the studies and job seekers should also be on the lookout for red flags when enquiring about career opportunities. 

Half the Sky's mission is to supply the tools that can give every woman the ability to build a successful career and be fully prepared for the future of work. So, that they can lead a healthy, prosperous and more balanced/blended lifestyle of their choosing.  By building your confidence, you’re setting foundations to empower yourself and your career.  The world is your oyster, and it starts with you. 

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