You’ve been putting in a lot of work to find and recruit the best talent for an important position that’s just opened up at your company. You’ve gone through all the appropriate pre-interview steps –  putting a call out for candidates internally and externally, asking for referrals, vetting resumes for red flags, and dwindling the number of resumes down from a stack to a few. You’ve used pre-employment testing tools to learn more about your candidate’s personalities, working styles, aspirations, and competencies. You’ve called in your candidates for interviews and – nothing. Candidates aren’t accepting the job after the interview, or they’re not responding to calls for an interview – something has gone wrong, and all the work you put into finding the perfect candidate has gone to waste. The average cost-per-hire in 2016 was $4425; that’s a lot of money and effort lost on candidates who don’t reply. In this post, we’re going to try to find out what went wrong.

The Process Is Taking Too Long

You’ve got a stack of highly qualified candidates that you’re excited to hire. The problem with that is that highly qualified candidates are going to be getting job offers from multiple potential employers simultaneously. If they’re the cream of your crop, chances are they’re the cream of someone else’s, too. A study conducted by Glassdoor found that the average interview process takes almost 23 days. When you’re looking to hire the best candidate, you must get your interview process to under the standard, lest someone else snag your dream employee before you get the chance. 

There are a couple of important conclusions you can draw from this. The first is that it’s essential to narrow down that pile of resumes as quickly and efficiently as possible. That doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice accuracy, though. Go over your testing protocols and your system for weeding out resumes and make sure there isn’t an overabundance of redundancy (though some redundancy is useful, as it helps verify past work). Prioritize your tasks to help increase productivity through this stage. Find ways to make the pre-employment screening as efficient as possible. 

The second conclusion is that you should be conducting your interviews as efficiently as possible; have a number of viable candidates, and schedule them for an interview within a short time frame from one another. Optimally, you want to offer someone a job within 48 hours of interviewing them – if you can narrow that window to 24 hours, the candidate will know how interested you are in them. Someone who works at Anago Cleaning in Winnipeg agrees, saying that when the best candidate is found, it’s best to try to hire them right away – sometimes it even pays off to offer them a job on the spot.

Interviews Are Going Badly

People who are being interviewed who have never interviewed anyone themselves might tend to think of the process as being one-sided, and of course, they’ll try to put their best foot forward to impress you. But those of us who have been working in HR-related fields for a long time know that the company, as well, needs to put its best foot forward to attract the best candidates. You may be unintentionally dissuading great candidates during the interview process.

There’s a style of an interview a lot of companies use – the unstructured interview. There are a lot of perceived advantages to this style.  By asking questions as they come up and engaging the candidate in a conversational style, you hope to catch a glimpse of them as they really are, not as a candidate being interviewed for a job. The problem is that while this method scores highly for perceived effectiveness, it gets a remarkably low score for actual effectiveness. According to Harvard Business Review, unstructured interviews are one of the least effective ways of predicting on-the-job performance. What’s worse, the unstructured interview might dissuade your candidate from taking you up on the job.

One of the biggest deterrents for candidates is a feeling that the interviewer has implicit biases that could affect their time at the company. These biases could be anything: sexism, racism, ageism, or any number of other unfortunate -isms. To be clear, having those biases doesn’t make the interviewer incompetent or unqualified; most people have biases that affect their thinking and judgement. The key is to make as many efforts as possible to recognize and reduce or eliminate those biases. This is one of the reasons systemic interviews are so effective. When each candidate is asked the same questions, it reduces the likeliness that bias will play into the tone of the interview.

Your Analytics Are Wonky

One of the tricky things about candidates dropping off during the interview process is that it can be caused by a myriad of different factors. This post highlights two of the most common factors, but it could be other things, ranging from how much you’re offering candidates for the position to what day of the week you’re choosing to interview candidates on. You need to be gathering data about who is accepting offers, when they’re accepting them, and why. That means you need a lot of information, which in turn means you need the right analytics. According to Forbes, one of the most overlooked types of analytic is offer acceptance rate – in other words, how often job offers are being accepted by your preferred candidate.

This metric is helpful because you can compare it to other companies in your industry as well as to businesses at large. A particularly low offer acceptance rate is an indicator that there’s something seriously wrong with your interview and post-interview process. A metric that’s average or better may mean you’ve just had bad luck this time around. You should also always ask candidates why they chose not to accept a position that was offered to them – this information can also help you uncover any weaknesses in your processes.

Getting as much data as you can help you adjust your interviewing tactics as well as your pre-interview process. You can even correlate offer acceptance rate with data from pre-employment testing and with the data from discussions you’ve had with candidates who rejected the offer. That’s the joy of analytics; the more information you have, the more useful the conclusions you can draw. The extra effort will be well worth it when you start consistently landing high-tier candidates.