Should Employers Ditch the Second Interview?

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Business woman throwing away paperMost employers follow the standard paradigm of one, maybe two, and sometimes three interviews to find their ideal job candidate. This approach is never questioned and is pretty much the standard pathway that companies follow. Yet, multiple-interview approach should be questioned, because while it allows employers to perform a more detailed and exhaustive level of assessment, there is a drawback in that it can slow down the interview process dramatically, increasing your potential dropout rate. Also, if it is agonizingly slow due to scheduling difficulties it can even be a negative aspect of the candidate experience.

So, if you are finding that you have a high dropout rate, a slow interview process and that it is difficult to get the right managers together, you may find that combining your first and second interview into one power interview may be a better hiring strategy for your business.

Defenders of the second interview will say that if the employee is committed, he or she will be patient enough to go through the first and second interviews, and perhaps even the third. However, top candidates can be committed to more than one company during the hiring process and can accept a job offer with a competitor even while still being committed to you. (Commitment doesn’t have to be exclusive and usually isn’t for top talent). Really, there’s no question that second interviews as part of a slow, protracted hiring process can increase the chance of you being beaten to the punch by your competitors in the search for talent.

Defenders of the second interview may also argue that a more detailed assessment of the candidate can be made, increasing the predictive validity of the hiring process. But, just because a more detailed assessment can occur, it doesn’t always occur. For example, some second interviews can be more of an “informal chat lacking an emphasis on an incremental assessment, and therefore, not increase the predictive validity of the hiring process. This can make it, on occasion, superfluous. Also, there is not much that occurs in a first interview, which could not be performed in one long first interview, is there?

Of course, it’s all well and good calling for the end of second interviews, but what can you in do place; what’s the alternative? The solution is pretty much staring us in the face. Why not create, one longer ‘Power Interview’ where candidates effectively meet HR, line managers and the team and do key assessments, so a detailed 360 degree view of the candidate can be made in one interview. And then rather than do a second interview, the top candidates are offered a 1-day paid work trial perhaps at their current pay rate (so they don’t suffer hardship) which is perhaps the most reliable form of assessment going. This gives them the opportunity to exhibit their job related skills in the real work situation and culture of your office. Done well, you get a more reliable, focused, faster hiring process and potentially a more positive candidate experience.

What do you think? Should you ditch the second and third interview in favor of one power interview and a subsequent work trial? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

By Kazim Ladimeji