A few years ago, we wrote about job candidates who reach the final interview stage and never receive a job offer.
When this happens enough times, it begs the question: Are these people messing up the final interview, or is the company’s interview process ineffective?
For companies that invest hours interviewing job candidates, a poorly run hiring process is an expensive mistake. Not only is there an opportunity cost tied to wasting your employees’ time, but there is a reputational risk.
In this post, we discuss what causes companies to be indecisive in hiring, and what they can do to avoid long, drawn-out hiring processes.
Four Sources Of Hiring Indecision
Clarifying The Need
When companies remain indecisive after multiple interviews with a candidate, it’s most often due to lack of clarity around what they’re looking for in the role.
You’d be surprised how many companies know they need to hire someone, but they can’t define the job or create a cogent job description. Despite this, they still proceed with the hiring process.
When this occurs, companies are reluctant to make a hire because of a vague feeling of uncertainty stemming from their inability to pinpoint what is important in the role.
The Unicorn Hunt
On the opposite end, we see companies with unrealistic expectations that turn job descriptions into wishlists that can’t possibly be filled by a single person.
It’s either too much work, or they’re searching for a unicorn candidate that exists only in mythology. In this scenario, companies are slow to make job offers because they keep hoping they’ll find someone who checks all of their boxes.
Failure To Communicate
Third, some companies know what they want and have reasonable expectations, but they do a poor job communicating the position. This leads to a slew of applicants that are a “bad fit,” which further delays the hiring process because companies feel unsatisfied with the candidate pool.
All Hail The Committee
Finally, there are situations where a company does have a well-defined job description that is reasonable in scope, and the role has been effectively communicated, yet they still can’t reach a consensus on a candidate after the final interview.
In these cases, it’s because the company has decided to use a “committee approach” to hiring. This is when there are “too many cooks in the kitchen,” and everyone who speaks to the candidate has a different idea of what is necessary for him/her to be successful.
While it’s helpful for candidates to speak to a variety of people inside a company since this provides the candidates with useful context, there’s a difference between asking for specific input and requiring buy-in from everyone before making an offer.
So whatever the reason for this practice, from a true request for buy-in to the hiring manager not having to feel solely accountable for the hiring results, we recommend companies ultimately choose one person who has the final say in the hiring process.
In all four cases, experienced recruiting firms can be helpful by:
- Asking companies the right questions to better define the role(s) they need to fill
- Benchmarking the company’s job req with other similar companies to set expectations
- Acting as the company liaison with candidates to clearly communicate the position
- Adding an external layer of confidence in the candidate selection process
Key Hiring Advice
Lastly, here are two key pieces of insight to help you and your team avoid becoming paralyzed by indecision in your hiring process:
- The Perfect Candidate Doesn’t Exist: For nearly all roles, there are many types of candidates that can succeed. Don’t get stuck thinking there is only one perfect candidate. If you find that person and s/he doesn’t sign the offer letter, resist the urge to search for an identical candidate. Instead, just find someone who can do the job well. Keep your options open.
- Don’t Wing The Interviews: Interview with purpose and intention so you can uncover how well a candidate’s skills fit the job scope. Identify clear objectives for the interview. Be clear and direct. Otherwise, you may not get a sense for how qualified a candidate is for the role, and you could fall into the hiring trap.
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