Hiring managers have to walk a slippery tightrope when it comes to the length of the interview process. On the one hand, you want to ensure that you have done your due diligence and have found the right candidate. On the other, you don’t want to overextend the hiring process, which could lead great candidates to either become alienated or find another position before the process is completed.


In trying to find the right candidate, some companies take their interview process too far, forcing candidates to jump through a long series of screening, phone, video, in person, and even dining interviews. Your company can avoid this by following a few easy steps.


Base Your Process on the Position

The level of the position you are filling should determine the length of your interview process. Lower-level employees should go through a less intensive process than managers, and likewise, managers should go through a less intensive process than executives. Limit yourself to a maximum of two rounds of interviews for anyone not in a management position and max out management roles at four rounds.


Be Transparent from the Start

When you first reach out to a candidate, manage their expectations for the interview process by explaining how many sessions it may include, how long each session may take, what each step entails, and how long the process overall may last. A candidate who knows the process ahead of time will be able to determine whether your timeline will mesh with theirs and will encourage patience with the process.


No Unpaid Work

It’s tempting to have candidates prove their worth with work but be careful if you choose to give them an assignment. Many candidates, especially in IT, know the value of their time, and there is a growing trend to reject positions that demand unpaid work before getting the job. There are two ways to test a candidate’s skill that will keep everyone happy: One is to do a short skills test during the interview (no more than an hour); the other is to pay them an appropriate hourly rate for the work you want done.


Stick to One Final Round

If you are torn between two candidates, you can feel free to bring them in for one final round of interviews—but if you need more than one final interview to decide, it will send a message to the candidates that you are on the fence about their candidacy and may be putting off making a decision. This can create a negative impression of your company, and you also risk losing out on one or both good candidates.


By simplifying and clarifying the interview process, you will keep desirable candidates engaged—and save your organization significant time and resources during the hiring process.

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