More Employers Moving to Fewer Interviews

Changes made in response to candidate feedback, Talent Board research shows

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer March 7, 2016

Candidates want a quick and efficient interview process, and employers are responding by knocking off interview rounds, according to research drawn from the 2015 Candidate Experience Awards.

Candidates also say they want more information to help prepare for interviews, to be asked relevant questions only and to receive feedback about where they stand afterward.

About 25,000 candidates replied to survey questions on the interview process, which was one of several components for determining the winners of the 2015 CandE Awards, as they are popularly known. The awards are given to employers that exemplify the best candidate experience. The research to determine the award winners was conducted by Talent Board, a San Diego-based nonprofit organization dedicated to measuring and improving the candidate experience.

Nearly 80 percent of the 200 participating organizations surveyed for the awards said they conduct just one or two interviews for a position, an increase from 63 percent that said this in 2014.

Five-time CandE award winner RMS, a risk management software company based in the San Francisco area, is one of those companies. “Given how fierce the market is, moving fast is an advantage that can help small companies win the day,” said Amelia Merrill, senior vice president of people strategy for RMS. It also shows the candidate that the role and the candidate are important, she added. 

“While keeping the number of interviews at a minimum is important to job candidates whenever possible due to potential scheduling and travel conflicts, what’s even more important in improving the candidate experience is providing a clear and concise interview plan prior to the interviews,” said Kevin W. Grossman, vice president at Talent Board, who is responsible for the Candidate Experience Awards for North America. “This means communicating upfront exactly when and where the interviews are, with whom and the background of those individuals, and providing other video and text resources that will help the candidates be better prepared.”

RMS provides candidates with a list of interviewers and titles, and recruiters prep candidates for interviews. Candidates are also given “simple things like directions to the interview and how to dress. These seem minor but it’s one less thing for the candidate to worry about,” Merrill said.

Additional findings from the research included:

  • 41 percent of respondents said they received no interview preparation or communication before the interview, while 38 percent said that the only communication they received before the interview was the name of the interviewer and basic background information about the company and role.
  • 23 percent said that after their interview, they did not receive any follow-up information or next steps.
  • 73 percent said they were never asked to provide feedback on the interview process.
  • 45 percent indicated they strongly agree that most questions asked during their interview were relevant for the job. “Candidates want to have a discussion. They do not want to be asked the same questions that are answered in their resume or applications,” Grossman said.
  • Phone interviewing is the most-used interviewing method, with 53 percent of companies using this option.
  • Video interviewing conducted by a single interviewer dropped slightly, from just over 4 percent in 2014 to just under 4 percent in 2015.
  • Just under 10 percent of companies said they are using one-way recorded video interviews without a live interviewer. This is the first year this question was asked.
  • 23 of the 50 award-winning companies use video interviewing at least some of the time.

‘White-Glove Service’ for Applicants

The “black hole” experience where candidates don’t hear back from anyone after being interviewed or phone-screened had been media technology company Comcast’s “biggest problem,” for years, said Shelly Gross, senior director for talent acquisition at Philadelphia-based Comcast, a 2015 CandE Award winner.

“We do have an automatic e-mail that goes out to the candidate when he or she is [not chosen to advance], but we want a personal contact from the recruiter before they get the e-mail. Too many fall through the cracks,” Gross said. “So, we’ve made it a policy that every recruiter must reach out to every candidate that has been interviewed or phone-screened about whether they will be going forward in the process. If they are submitted to the manager and he or she is not interested in pursuing, then the recruiter calls to let the candidate know.”

The company also has a dedicated candidate care department responsible for ensuring all activities in support of the hiring manager are arranged, from sending out content to help candidates prepare for interviews to scheduling, logistics and keeping candidates informed about their place in the process. “The candidate care team ensures concierge, white-glove service for an excellent onsite interview experience for every candidate,” Gross said.

Registration for the 2016 Candidate Experience Awards begins this month.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy

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