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How Many Interview Steps Is Too Many?

Creating an effective interview process is essential for any organization's success in evaluating and hiring the perfect candidate. Balancing the number of interview steps is a crucial factor that directly impacts the candidate experience. In this blog post, we will explore the significance of interview steps in the hiring process and provide guidance on maintaining a streamlined approach while prioritizing the candidate experience.

When determining the optimal number of interview steps, several factors come into play. These include the complexity of the role, the size of the organization, and the seniority level of the position. While a one-size-fits-all answer is challenging, it is possible to establish some general recommendations that can guide you towards an effective interview process.

To ensure a positive candidate experience, it is generally advised to limit the number of interview steps to a range of three to five. By doing so, you can strike a balance between thorough evaluation and efficiency, preventing candidates from feeling overwhelmed or fatigued by an overly protracted process.

Streamlined Hiring Process with 3 Interviews

Let's break down the recommended number of interviews to have:

  1. Screening Call or Phone Interview: Kick the process off with a screening call or phone interview. This initial step allows you to assess the candidate's basic qualifications, skills, and interest in the role. It provides an opportunity to gauge their suitability before moving forward, and also provides an opportunity to answer questions they have about the position or the company.

  2. In-person or Video Interview with the Hiring Manager: The next step involves an in-person or video interview with the hiring manager. This interaction enables a deeper exploration of the candidate's experience, skills, the will to perform the job, and cultural fit. This step should provide both parties an opportunity to assess mutual interest and determine if they are a good match for one another.

  3. Final Interview with Additional Team Members: To gain additional insights, the final interview should only involve team members who have a unique ability to assess material portions of the role as it is defined in the job description. This step should involve no more than 4 interviewers for an IC role or 6 for a Senior Leadership role. This allows the company to do a deeper assessment of a candidate’s abilities, and gives the candidate exposure to team members that can offer their own perspectives on the company, the role, and the culture.

While these three steps serve as a strong foundation, it's important to adapt the process to specific roles and organizational requirements. Some positions may warrant additional steps such as a skills assessment or reference check to further evaluate the candidate's capabilities and qualifications. However, it is crucial to weigh the value these steps add against the potential impact on the candidate experience.

The Impact of a Lengthy Interview Process

A lengthy interview process can be off-putting for candidates of all skill and talent levels, especially when they receive multiple job offers. Candidates are more likely to gravitate towards companies with streamlined and efficient hiring processes that provide them with a positive experience. By keeping the number of interviews within a reasonable range, you increase your chances of attracting and securing highly sought-after talent.

Remember, the interview process should accomplish two primary objectives. First, it should provide candidates with sufficient information to make informed decisions about the role, the culture, and the organization. Second, it should enable the hiring team to accurately assess a candidate's skills, qualifications, and cultural fit. Striking a balance between these objectives is vital for a successful hiring process.

Achieving an optimized interview process entails thoughtful deliberation on the number of steps involved. While the ideal count may differ depending on circumstances, it is generally advised to adopt a streamlined approach of three to five steps. This approach ensures efficiency, respects the candidate's time, and cultivates a positive experience. By striking this balance, organizations can attract top talent, leading to successful hires and long-term employee satisfaction. Now, who doesn’t want all that?


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