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Candidate Help & Advice

‘Death by Interview’—What it can Cost YOUR Company

Tired from Interview photo from ShutterstockWhile the overall unemployment rate is definitely showing steady improvement, millions of men and women still are having trouble landing a job, or at least landing one in a timely manner. One primary reason for this is that some companies continue to drag out the entire interview process beyond any reasonable limits and then take their sweet time about making hiring decisions.

Even though a significant number of companies across industry lines have seen substantial improvements in production and increased revenues in the last couple of years, and now have a genuine need to add workers, they continue to slow-walk candidates nearly to death by requiring an inordinate, and oftentimes unnecessary number of job interviews, before making a hiring decision.

This approach, which I refer to as “death by interview,” is probably driven somewhat by a holdover from the “Great Recession” mentality, where for quite a few years the number of job candidates far exceeded the number of available jobs across virtually all industry segments. Companies continuing to drag out hiring decisions may not ultimately be adversely affected by this practice where it concerns candidates in non-critical disciplines, but that certainly is not expected to be the case where candidates in the STEM disciplines are concerned.

STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and refers to candidates who have education, training and/or experience and expertise in these professional disciplines. The time is already fast approaching when the number of positions open for fully qualified STEM candidates will far exceed the number of candidates available to fill them.[1] That’s GREAT news for the candidates, of course. Conversely, though, it has the significant potential to prove disastrous for companies already having a critical need to fill STEM positions but which nonetheless continue to subject ALL candidates—including the STEM candidates—to an unnecessarily lengthy interview process before making a hiring decision.

A Real Life Example of How Dithering Can Cost a Hiring Company

Being in the executive recruiting business this whole issue is somewhat more than merely a philosophical, esoteric one for our executive recruiting firm, The HTW Group. Our firm specializes in market niches that are most in dire need of hiring STEM candidates, NOW, particularly in the engineering and science disciplines. We have already begun seeing GREAT client companies losing out on hiring exceptionally qualified STEM candidates because some of these companies continue to interminably drag out the entire interview and job offer processes. Let me give you a real-life example.

We recently presented a highly qualified chemical engineer to one of our client companies. She was pitted against a number of other highly qualified candidates who were also vying for the position. Our candidate ended up as the finalist. So far, so good.

The hiring company flew this candidate in for a “final” interview. The first day she had two interviews, a 30-minute one and a 45-minutes one. Was she then done? Oh, no. They kept her over for another round of interviews the next day. On day two, she interviewed with seven more staff members, all individually, which meant seven interviews in one day! OK, now was she done with interviews? Unfortunately, no. After the candidate returned home, feeling quite confident that the job was now hers, finally, the company contacted her and said they wanted to fly her back for yet another round of interviews with four more people!

Guess what? As this hiring company dithered with this candidate—surprise!—she got an excellent job offer from another company! As things now stand, the original hiring company stands to lose out on an exceptionally qualified candidate simply because they couldn’t make up their mind to move ahead and offer her the position, when they had chance after chance after chance.

Bottom line: The candidate wins regardless. The original company with the (remaining!) critical hiringneed? We’ll just have to wait and see at this point.

It is hoped that the smarter companies, the leaders in their industries, will recognize the absolute necessity for streamlining their recruiting and interviewing practices, NOW. If they don’t, they run a significant risk of losing out on their fair share of an already diminishing number of STEM candidates to fill a steadily growing number of critical positions within their companies.

Strong voices are warning and a word to the wise ought to be sufficient for companies that have long been leaders in their industries and retain a strong desire to continue occupying that pre-eminent position!

How is your company currently dealing with this situation? How will your company deal with it in the immediate future? The time to act is NOW! It looks as though “tomorrow” could well be far too late because once this train leaves the station.


Going on a job interview soon? Know someone who is? Download Skip’s FREE PDF edition of “How to ACE the Job Interview” by clicking HERE.

Be watching for Skip’s next book in the “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets Series of Career Development/Management Publications, Career Stalled? How to Get YOUR Career Back in HIGH Gear and the Land The Job You Deserve–Your DREAM JOB! Publication is scheduled for September 1, 2014.

[1]The U.S. Department of Labor estimates there will be 1.2 million STEM job openings by 2018, but not nearly enough qualified candidates to fill these positions.