A young man has too many ties to choose fromLanding a job can sometimes be a long process. You have to apply and sometimes take 30-45 minute assessments or writing tests before even receiving a phone call. Then, if you are called, you may have to go through multiple interviews. One or two over the phone, then face-to-face, then wait a week and meet with hiring managers again. Exactly how many are too many interviews?

Most companies conduct one or two interviews, depending on the position, yet I’ve heard of organizations taking candidate’s through five and six interviews before making a final decision. Most job seekers are active in that they’re applying for multiple jobs at once. Dragging an applicant through interview after interview runs the risk of him or her accepting a faster offer, especially in this economy. Job seekers simply don’t have the time, or patience, to wait if another job is ready and willing.

While there isn’t a perfect number, limiting your interviews to a certain amount can ensure you hire the best talent, instead of allowing it to slip away in the process. Below are a few tips to guide your company in developing an efficient and timely interview process:

Define Objectives

Every interview needs to have a purpose. What are you seeking to accomplish? If you’re looking to hire a new marketing associate, evaluate all the responsibilities and duties of the position and then determine the best way to screen a candidate for this role. Go over all the questions that need to be asked and see if any are similar to eliminate redundancy. Group the questions to determine a good order. An initial interview can cover the company background, position duties, and duration. A second interview can go over salary, start date and any other information needed before filling the position. Think about whether or not it’s necessary to bring a candidate in again to offer him or her the job or if this can be done during the second interview or over the phone. Specifying the purpose of each interview will help you see whether or not multiple interviews are necessary.

Hold Pre-Interviews

After you have a list of potential applicants, why not call each one to spend 5-10 minutes getting a feel for him or her? Ensure the individual it’s not an interview, just a courtesy call to ask questions about their reasons for applying. This can help you zero in on the applicants you truly need to interview. Online assessments, screens and tests also provide cutbacks because they can weed out unqualified applicants, thus decreasing the number of interviews needed. They will also gather more information for you about an applicant to reduce what you need to learn through an interview.

Conduct Day-Long Interviews

Instead of having someone come in multiple times, set aside time to conduct day-long interviews where you can cover a series of topics and questions, just as you would during initial and follow up interviews. Although this may cost more time for you during the week you hold the interviews, it will reduce the overall time of the hiring process for both you and the applicant.

Be Informative

Inform a candidate at the beginning of how many interviews there could be and stick to this number. Explain that the type of role has X amount of interviews and why (purpose for each interviews). This is a great way to gauge your interview system’s efficiency. If for one role, two interviews seem to work­ —as in applicants are not turned away after learning they may have to go through two interviews —then you may want to keep this number. If you notice four and five interviews cause a loss of applicants you can work on making changes.

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