What is Interview Fatigue and Why is It Causing You to Lose Top Talent?

January 17, 2024

Mari Martinez

Mari Martinez

What does it take to decide you’ve found the right candidate? How many interviews do you need to be able to make the final call? Learn more about how your interview process may be hurting instead of helping you.

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In the world of hiring, there’s a delicate balance between making a hasty (and potentially costly decision) and requiring too much of the candidate to the point where they either withdraw from the process due to interview fatigue, lose confidence in the company due to their inability to decide, or are simply snapped up by a competitor. 

You’ll learn why defining the seat (role) and getting on the same page with your hiring team is critical to success (and why early buy-in stops that one rogue manager from derailing the process at the last minute because of a “feeling”). 

We explore why having a specific benchmark for candidates is a game-changer. It’s not just about pitting them against random contenders. Instead, it’s about understanding how they truly fit the role. No more of that ‘show me a couple more candidates for comparison’ routine! The magic touch is our Whole Person Hiring philosophy – an approach that could give your hiring strategy the edge over other companies looking to fill similar positions. 

We’ll also talk about the perfect number of interviews that it takes to put a candidate at ease enough to partner with you on the search; the result is a more efficient, connected, and profitable search. 

The Challenge of Excessive Interviewing 

The Numbers Speak Volumes 

Recent studies indicate that 82% of candidates lose interest in a job if the interview process is too lengthy. This statistic underscores the urgency for HR leaders, hiring managers, and recruiters to reevaluate their interview strategies and prioritize efficiency. 

The Tipping Point: Too Many Interviews 

While thorough evaluations are essential, there’s a tipping point beyond which the number of interviews becomes a deterrent. A whopping 58% of candidates believe that more than three interviews are excessive, leading to a diminishing return on investment for both the candidate and the hiring organization. At this stage, candidates may feel overwhelmed, leading to increased stress and potential disengagement. 

The Pitfalls of a Prolonged Interview Process 

Increased Competition 

Time is of the essence in the competitive talent market. An extended interview process can inadvertently contribute to increased competition, as candidates actively explore opportunities elsewhere while awaiting a decision. As the saying goes, “time kills all deals,” and organizations risk losing top talent to more agile competitors. 

Insecurity and Questioning Ability 

Candidates are acutely aware of the fine line between showcasing their skills and succumbing to interview fatigue. Prolonged processes may make candidates question their own abilities, leading to a decline in confidence. Beyond a certain point, excessive interviews may even create an environment where candidates feel they are being scrutinized rather than evaluated, impacting their overall perception of your organization. 

Defining the Seat First: A Key to Speeding up the Process 

Before embarking on the interview journey, it’s crucial for organizations to define the role thoroughly. Knowing exactly what the company needs in a candidate helps streamline the interview process by ensuring that each interaction is purposeful and aligned with the position’s requirements. This not only saves time but also provides clarity to candidates about their potential contributions to the organization. 

Don’t Get Lost in the Waiting Abyss 

In the pursuit of the ideal candidate, it’s essential for companies not to fall into the waiting abyss, endlessly comparing candidates against each other. If a candidate stands out as an excellent fit for the role, make a move. Swift decision-making not only reinforces the company’s commitment to efficiency but also prevents the loss of exceptional talent to competitors. Conversely, if there are lingering questions, address them promptly to make informed decisions, rather than prolonging the process unnecessarily. 

A Call to Streamline the Interview Process 

Define a Clear Process 

HR leaders, hiring managers, and recruiters should collaborate to define a clear and concise interview process. Establishing a well-structured framework allows for a comprehensive evaluation without unnecessary delays. This not only respects the candidate’s time but also showcases the organization as efficient and respectful of the candidate’s experience. 

Limit the Number of Interviews 

Consider streamlining the interview process to include a reasonable number of interviews. Aim for a balance between a thorough evaluation and a candidate-friendly experience. This approach not only prevents interview fatigue, but also ensures that the organization doesn’t lose valuable talent to competitors with more efficient processes. 

Communication is Key 

Maintain transparent and open communication throughout the interview process. Keep candidates informed about the timeline, and proactively address any potential delays. Transparent communication fosters trust and shows that the organization values the candidate’s time and commitment. 

The Wrap Up 

  • Define the seat 
  • Get on the same page with your hiring team 
  • Set a benchmark for your candidates so you’re seeing how they align with the role (not how they compare against another candidate). 
  • Provide clear expectations on the length of the interview process.  
  • Refer to step one. 
  • Make a great first offer, or move on quickly. 

As HR leaders, hiring managers, and recruiters strive to attract and retain top talent, optimizing the interview process becomes paramount. The statistics are clear: a prolonged interview process can deter candidates, increase competition, and impact their confidence. By defining the seat first, avoiding the waiting abyss, and adopting a strategic and decisive approach, organizations can ensure a positive and efficient interview experience. In the competitive landscape of talent acquisition, a streamlined interview process is not just a strategic advantage, it’s a necessity. 

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