Recruiting Strategy

What's The Magic Number Of Interviews Throughout Your Recruitment Process?

What's The Magic Number Of Interviews Throughout Your Recruitment Process?
HireHive Team

HireHive Team


According to a recent BBC article, more employers are now inviting candidates to multiple interviews before making recruitment decisions. Most candidates are willing to embrace multiple interviews to a point. But, high-quality candidates also report that they would pull out of a recruitment drive if they were expected to attend as many as seven or more interviews without a promise of employment. 

You can’t blame them. The majority of job interviews last between 45 minutes to an hour. If you require as many as seven interviews, you’re effectively asking your candidates to work an entire shift without pay. And, you might not even choose them at the end of it.

For candidates who are seeking alternative employment whilst trying to hold down a job, it simply isn’t possible to attend that many interviews. But, how can you find the ‘magic number’ of interviews that provides everything you need without annoying your candidates?

Follow the Crowd

While blindly following the crowd isn’t always a good idea in recruitment, there is something to be said about following ‘norms’ when it comes to interview frequency. After all, if your interview requirements are roughly the same as everyone else’s, candidates will be far more willing to play along. 

Annoyingly, interview averages do tend to be incredibly variable. To get this right, you’ll want to consider standard interview processes for your specific industry, as well as for the position level in question. As a general rule, however, the majority of hiring managers will require between 1-3 interviews depending on the role itself, with the average recruitment drive lasting around 27.5 days

It’s also vital to note that not all of those interviews need to be in person. On average, recruiters will require around one face-to-face interview before making a decision. Outside of that, you can further simplify recruitment for your candidates by also using phone or video interviews according to industry norms. 

Consider Job Complexity

As a general rule, recruitment drives can also vary depending on job complexity as follows – 

  • Entry-level positions: One interview stage
  • Leadership jobs: A minimum of three interview stages
  • Public sector jobs: As many as six interview stages

Ultimately, the more responsibility a new hire would face, the more detailed and varied their interview rounds should be. This reflects things like potential salaries in each role, the number of people this individual will need to meet before accepting a position, and also the amount of detail you require before making your decision. 

After all, with an entry-level position, you predominantly just need to know what that candidate’s like as a person, and what unique skills they possess to make them suitable for the role. By comparison, a complex leadership role will be more reliant on things like multiple board meetings, previous experience, suitability with office culture, and a lot more. In these instances, you may also find that offering too few interviews acts as a red flag for candidates who may feel that you’re willing to hand them major responsibility too easily. 

Set Clear Intentions for Each Interview

Even for more complex job roles, you can stick to more reasonable interview requirements by being clear with your interview intentions. After all, if your recruitment process is all over the place then you’ll inevitably require more interviews to make your choice. You’re also at risk of repeating questions or themes, which is far more likely to see candidates pulling out when you invite them for yet another pointless round. 

Instead, you should make sure that every single interview you offer has a clear purpose, and that you don’t have too many interview crossovers that end up wasting people’s time. As mentioned, this will be much easier to manage with an entry-level role when, if you plan well, you should be able to cover everything in one interview round. 

Even for a more complex role, you can structure even just three or four interviews around focuses such as –

  1. An initial assessment, done via telephone or video
  2. An office walkaround and conference interview done in-office
  3. A final trial or decider interview to confirm your selection

Consider What You Can Keep Track of

Reflecting on each interview and the answers given is a key element of any employment drive, especially if you have two fairly close candidates. But, if you’re offering too many interviews, then you may quickly start to lose track of who said what and where. 

Of course, the right software can help you to keep things straight across multiple interviews to some extent, but wires will still inevitably become crossed if you’re conducting as many as 14 interviews for just two candidates. And, if you’re forgetting what they’ve told you, then you’re wasting everyone’s time.

As such, you should also remain realistic about how many interviews you can keep track of and continue to find value from. Ideally, you want to settle on a number that allows you to cover all of your bases but still easily remember and revisit every answer given when it comes to crunch time. Only then can you justify the amount of time you’ve expected a candidate to provide you with for free.

Perfect Your Interviews With the Help of HireHive

Offering the ideal number of interviews is essential for keeping candidates interested while still ensuring all of the information that you require to make good hiring decisions. With HireHive’s applicant tracking system, it’ll be easier than ever to gain crucial insights from any number of interviews required for a given role. 

HireHive recruiting software is specifically developed to help you keep better track of your applicant journeys. With easy posting to major job boards and access to hiring pipeline processes, you can plan, oversee, and revisit interviews to avoid repeat questions and reduce your interview requirements overall. 

As well as simplifying recruitment in-house, our hiring software can help you to keep high-quality candidates on-side with well-planned recruitment drives that are always free from unnecessary additional interviews. 

Start enjoying those benefits with a free trial of HireHive today.

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