A recruiter’s interview length is important for managing their daily grind and for keeping the time-to-fill metric on the lower end. So, we must ask ourselves, how much time do most recruiters take to decide on a candidate? Is it the optimum time for both speed and quality? Let’s find out. Recruiters can save time by using our free online recruiting system. Recruiteze is number one for reducing the time it takes to track, interview, and hire candidates. Start your free trial today.
The Time It Takes Recruiters to Decide
A 2015 study by Frieder, Iddekinge, and Raymark published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, revealed that in a 30-minute interview 60% of 166 interviewers made their decision in the first 15 minutes.
Of that 60%, 26% decided in the first five minutes and 5% were sure within the first minute.
The remaining 40% came to a decision after 15 minutes or even after the interview was completed.
These figures inspire some questions. When recruiters decide halfway through the interview or sooner, what purpose does the rest of the interview serve? Why the difference in times between recruiters?
The survey doesn’t answer the first question, but it does address the second.
There are several factors that influence the amount of a recruiter’s time that they decide on a candidate.
The structure of the interview plays a big part in it. A list-based interview where the recruiter asks each candidate the same questions inspires the recruiter to give their decision more time. You know so and so number of questions still remain and it stays in the forefront of your mind to compare the answers to those of the other candidates. When a recruiter uses a more freestyle, conversational approach, it is very easy for a spark to go off with a decision about the candidate whenever it is tempted to strike.
More experienced recruiters often make faster decisions than ones newer to the task, though a less experienced recruiter can be greatly swayed by rapport with a candidate.
The number of candidates being interviewed at a time, and the order of the candidates being interviewed play a pretty frightening role in the decision-making process. It turns out the likelihood that a recruiter will make a quick decision increases as they interview more candidates in a stretch. The first few may be given more careful consideration, but as the recruiter gets tired and bored, and maybe even a little panicky if they are struggling to find someone they like, it may be difficult to stick it out for a longer time without getting out the hook or a ribbon.
More to It
Recruiters have so many responsibilities to juggle and targets to meet. Often the demands of the job are contrary to each other: select the best candidate, but don’t take too much time, and make sure your interview process is factual and measurable. Hiring managers and clients may make demands that are impossible to meet. You put all these pressures on someone’s head and then throw them into interview after interview and it is understandably difficult to not make poor decisions, and sometimes rush through interviews.
Imagine you’ve got a hiring manager breathing demands down your neck, the time to fill metric looks terrible, and you’re up to your ears in interviews. Like we wouldn’t all sometimes be tempted to go, “Next!” when a candidate does one thing to discourage us? Or to get too excited about a candidate who seems promising or appeals to us on some level?
Time to fill rates are currently awful. Sometimes it takes months to hire for a position. Recruiters are juggling trying to make a sound decision on a candidate with not overworking themselves each day and driving the length of time to hire to its maximum. This is a hard balance to strike.
There are so many candidates to go through. For each job posting, recruiters are swamped with candidates. Once upon a time, there were so few talented and skilled individuals to meet the job demand that existed that recruiters could send in nearly anyone who proved they knew about the right things or had skills in the right areas. Today, the candidate pool is vast, and there are too many candidates to choose from to just go, “they can do it.” We must consider hard and soft skills, cultural fit, emotional intelligence, and more.
Outdated approaches to hiring make recruiters’ jobs more difficult. If they are trying to find candidates who are 100% perfect for the job or ones with all the right skills and the right pay expectations, they may end up interviewing more people for that position than they need to, getting burned out, and then having to do more interviews when the poor candidates they choose don’t stay and they must hire for that same position in that same company again in a couple of months. I’m tired just writing that.
What Should Be Done About Ultra-Quick Decisions
While there are many factors that lead to recruiters making ultra-quick decisions on candidates, the situation is not out of our control.
Value efficiency above all else:
- Don’t interview each candidate more times than is necessary.
- Don’t ask candidates the same questions in the phone interview and the in-person interview.
- Automate as much as possible.
- If multiple people must interview the candidate, try to have group interviews.
- Grade candidates by a universal scoring method.
- Make notes through each step of the process so you don’t have to reread resumes and communications each time you review the candidate.
Further, if you are having difficulty finding candidates, don’t ask more questions, ask better questions. You may even want to adjust the questions to fit the candidate.
CareerBuilder worded the concept well, “Good questions are essential but are fallible.” Many hiring managers think that asking good questions will result in good answers and that’s it. Listening, observing, and adjusting the interview is as important as a list of good questions. By noting how the candidate reacts to the questions, and listening intently to the details of the answer, the interviewer can learn much more about the individual and reduce hiring errors.
Rethink your expectations. Maybe you’re stuck back in the days of finding an ideal candidate who already has the experience, skill set you need, and is in the optimum pay bracket. Maybe you know better, but the hiring manager or client you’re working with doesn’t. Either way, get ready to feel some relief because more and more companies and recruiters today realize the importance of finding the candidates with emotional intelligence, soft skills, who fit with corporate culture more so than hard skills alone. You can take an enthusiastic candidate with the right mindset and slightly less experience and go much farther than you can with a candidate with the right experience but a poor attitude. Think of the interview as more of a test of the candidate’s talent, drive, and personality. As long as you can provide proof to back up your decision, you’re good.
In a previous post, we said, “Instead of *finding* that ideal candidate, how about *making* that ideal candidate? What do I mean by that? I mean, hiring for potential and training for skills.
If you are struggling with the tendency to hire based on your own rapport with the candidate, seriously consider a strict, list-based interview process.
Save yourself much pain and agony and break up interviews into smaller, more manageable chunks. Frieder, Iddekinge, and Raymark suggested that you not do more than four consecutive interviews at a time.
Much like the efficiency point I made above, focus on finding the right candidate the first time. No matter how tempting it is, don’t rush through a decision. You’ll have a lot less on your plate if the candidates you hire stay on the job and you don’t have to hire for that same position for that company for a while.
Optimizing your job advertisements is also an important time and sanity saver. With well-targeted job ads, you can attract the right candidates and have ill-fitting candidates weeded out before clicking “send resume.” This means that with just a little time investment to do the targeting and ad creation, you can spend less time sourcing and weeding out candidates and spend more time nurturing relationships with good fitting candidates. With our free online recruiting system, you can write unlimited hassle free job ads. Try it today for free.
Many recruiters are making decisions on candidates too quickly, most in the first half of the interview and some in the first minute! While contradicting expectations, an abundant candidate pool, and terrible time to fill rates make it difficult for recruiters to thoroughly interview candidates without getting burned out, it is possible to do better. By putting efficiency above every other consideration and rethinking how we select candidates, we might save ourselves some time and restore our sanity.
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