How to Avoid “Death by Interview”

When it comes to recruiting, you want to do your vetting right. But getting too many people involved in your interviewing process is like sentencing your top candidates to “death by interview”. Learn how streamlining your process can stop you from losing great candidates.

We all are aware that the more people that are involved with a process, the more difficult it will be to come to a final decision. This is especially true in recruiting. Although there are benefits to obtaining multiple opinions on a candidate, it’s also easy for top candidates to fall into the dreaded “Death by Interview.”

What is “Death by Interview?”

“Death by interview” refers to the excessive process of enduring multiple interviews and repetitive questions. When added to the candidate’s natural uncertainty that is typical during the interviewing process, it results in a negative candidate experience.
Ultimately, the repetitiveness is a result of the fear of making a wrong hire, which can be extremely costly to the organization. The more opinions or chances that an interviewer has to examine the candidate’s background or experience, the less uncertainty is associated with the decision. By the time the interviewer has finally made a decision, it’s possible the candidate has already moved on.

Consequences of Not Being Streamlined

  • Slow hiring and the increase risk of losing top candidates to competing offers
  • Interview fatigue for both the candidate and manager
  • Candidates not being able to take off the time associated with multiple rounds of interview losing interest in the role
  • Longer feedback windows caused by pending other candidates trip through the various levels of the interviews
  • Candidates highlighting the pains associated with your interview process online, which could dilute your brand
  • Repetitive interviews give the perception that the company is unorganized or disjointed

How to Prevent Death By Interview: Stop Scheduling Too Many Interviews

In order to avoid this negative side effect and avoid losing top candidates, it’s crucial to narrow down exactly who in your team is needed during the interview process. Taking a step back to “interview” your own process will be the first step to correcting any lapses that are occurring.
The key to streamlining your interviewing process is by making sure that your existing team is fully trained on the interview process and aware of their role so that a decision can be made after one full-cycle interview with the candidate, possibly two if there are a couple of candidates who stand out. It is pivotal to have assigned topics or areas that each interviewer will be discussing with the candidate. When interviewers head into the interview without a guideline, the interviewers will most likely pose similar questions and come out of the meeting with a limited profile of the candidate. When the interviewers are streamlined and plan focused, it will result in the ability for the interviewers to collaborate and share detailed information about each targeted area.

What Should the Interview Team Look Like?

  • The direct manager for the position
  • A member of senior level leadership
  • A team lead that the candidate will be working directly with

This is my opinion on who will need to be involved in the interviewing process and undoubtedly will experience unique situations or positions where this common rule of thumb does not apply.  The member of senior level leadership can be fully involved in the interviewing process or serve as the final “thumbs up” for the decision to extend an offer. I like to have the candidate meet with one of their future peers because I believe it creates a more casual outlet for the candidate to dive into the company culture and the “day in the life” overview.
The ultimate goal is to have all parties completely aligned and understand what their individual role in the interviewing process will be. This will allow your organization to drastically cut down the “time to fill” and reduce the risk of losing top candidates to the “death by interview.” Adversely, if the experience for the candidates is a negative one, it could have lasting effects on the organization.

Brandon DeWitt
Brandon DeWitt

Brandon DeWitt is a Talent Acquisition Manager at Criteo Criteo. Prior to that, Brandon was a Talent Specialist at OpenView, focused on recruiting engineering candidates, and also previously served as a contract recruiter for CVS Caremark where he sourced candidates in a variety of functional areas nationwide.
You might also like ...
HR & People
Competing in a Sellers' Hiring Market: Using Transparency and Authenticity
To say that the hiring market is incredibly tight right now is an understatement. We are truly in a seller’s...
by Meg Johnson
Reopening vs. Remote-first: How Three Companies Are Handling Their Return To Office

Planning for your next phase of office life? Here’s how three companies are handling office reopenings.

by Carina Rampelt
HR & Leadership
Mastering the Art of the Exit Interview

Read on for some tried and true advice on how to conduct candid, productive, and insightful exit interviews.

by Casey Renner