10 Signs Your Interview Process is Broken (and How to Fix It)

10 Signs Your Interview Process is Broken (and How to Fix It)

You have, what you believe to be, a top-notch interview process. It’s thorough, effective, and gets the job done. But does it really?

What you see as being thorough is actually long-drawn-out. What’s supposed to be an effective process is resulting in employees who don’t stick around long enough to have any real impact on the organization. It gets the job done, in the sense that people are getting hired, but are those people the right people?  

Finding and hiring great talent requires having a top-of-the-line interview process. So, how can you tell if your interview process is in need of some TLC? Here are 10 signs your interview process is broken and how to fix it:

1. The resume leads the interview.

What this means: Candidates could be chosen for the wrong reasons.

The resume, while important, should never lead the interview, nor should it be the deciding factor when it comes to the final hiring decision — especially when you consider that more than half of the 2,000 hiring and HR managers surveyed by CareerBuilder have caught a lie on a resume. According to the survey, the most common areas around which job seekers lie include:

  • Embellished skills sets: 62 percent
  • Embellished responsibilities: 54 percent
  • Dates of employment: 39 percent
  • Job titles: 31 percent
  • Academic degrees: 28 percent   

What’s more, the resume focuses largely on the candidate’s experience. What you really want to hire for, however, is potential — and a resume alone won’t tell you how much leadership potential a candidate possesses. What it comes down to is what you ask during the interview and how the candidate responds.  

How to fix it: The resume should supplement the interview, not lead it. Instead, use the resume to guide the interview and prompt questions. The interview is your chance to look beyond the resume and get to know who the candidate is, as it relates to the job at hand. Focus primarily on who the candidate is and who they could become over what they’ve done in the past.   

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2. Your interviews aren’t being standardized.

What this means: Candidates can’t be assessed or compared properly.

When you’re interviewing multiple candidates — all with different backgrounds, experiences, and skill sets — the conversation can easily trail off into various directions during the interview. Even so, you shouldn’t stray too far from your original interview agenda.

In order to properly evaluate and compare candidates, you have to elicit the same general information. In other words, you have to level the playing field as much as possible. A level playing field makes it easier for hiring professionals to determine how one candidate stacks up against another.   

How to fix it: Your goal, as the interviewer, should be to find out the same basic information about each candidate. To do that, you need to ask candidates the same interview questions. That may mean having a written list of questions you bring to each interview or, alternatively, it may mean conducting a one-way video interview.

One-way video interviews require candidates to answer a series of text-based or pre-recorded questions, in a pre-determined amount of time, ensuring that each candidate is answering the same set of questions and has the same amount of time to answer.

3. One person is making all of the hiring decisions.

What this means: You’re not weighing all of your options.

Hiring is very rarely a one-man job. After all, does anyone really want to leave the fate of the department in any one person’s hands? The new hire will likely be working with multiple people — people who should be involved in making the final hiring decision. By getting more people involved in interviewing and evaluating job candidates, you can rest assured you’re making the best choice for the position, department, and company.  

How to fix it: The interview should be a collaborative process and involve the candidate’s potential manager, colleagues, etc. Consider using collaboration tools to make the process easier for everyone involved. Video interviews, for instance, can be recorded, shared, and rated or commented on, which makes for easy collaboration.  

4. Your interviewers often disagree on candidates.

What this means: You’re not all looking for the same thing.

Some degree of debate is expected when multiple people are involved in the interview process. The problem occurs when interviewers seem to continuously disagree on who the right person for the job is. In this case, it’s not an individual issue, but a company one.  

How to fix it: The most likely reason you can’t all seem to agree on a candidate is because everyone is interpreting the job expectations differently. To avoid this, set clear role expectations and candidate qualifications.

Clear-cut job requirements can’t be easily debated. Additionally, take the time to go over the job description before the interview takes place, to be sure that everyone is on the same page in terms of what you’re looking for.

5. Candidates are losing interest (and patience).

What this means: The interview process is too long.

And it’s getting longer. In fact, a recent research report by Glassdoor revealed the overall job interview process takes 22.9 days in the U.S., and an average of four to nine days longer in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The report, based on a sample of 344,250 interview reviews worldwide, also found that the average interview process has grown by nearly four days since 2009.

Unfortunately, a long interview process could do more harm than good when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.

How to fix it: Keep the interview process short and sweet. Instead of scheduling and putting candidates through one round after another, consider first screening candidates using one-way video interviews.

Screening via video gives you an opportunity to see and learn more about candidates before bringing them in for an in-person interview, while the one-way nature of it prevents unnecessary scheduling conflicts.

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6. You’re hiring skilled candidates, but they don’t fit your culture.

What this means: You’re not assessing candidates for cultural fit.

The most successful hiring professionals realize the importance of evaluating candidates for cultural fit, in addition to skills, experience, and knowledge. If the new hire fails to see eye-to-eye with colleagues, clashes with management on how things are done, and just can’t seem to fit in, it’s unlikely they’ll stick around for long.

Considering 27 percent of the 6,000 hiring professionals surveyed by CareerBuilder said a single bad hire cost more than $50,000, it’s best to evaluate candidates for cultural fit during the interview.  

How to fix it: Ask culture and personality-based questions, to get a better idea of how the candidate will fit within your company culture. Still not sure of the candidate’s cultural fit? Try meeting with them in an informal environment (e.g. professional development luncheons), look into their social media profiles, or speak to professional references to see what they’re like outside of the interview.

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7. Your candidates all sound the same.

What this means: You’re asking run-of-the-mill interview questions that they’ve rehearsed their answers to.

The point of an interview is to really get to know the candidate and how well they might perform if hired for the role. Asking basic interview questions guarantees equally basic responses — responses you’ve likely heard from previous candidates.

How to fix it: While you don’t want to “trick” candidates, you do want to occasionally throw them off guard to see how they think on their feet. After all, scripted answers can only tell you so much about a candidate. Throw a few oddball questions into the mix, to ensure you’re eliciting truly candid responses.

8. There’s a lack of post-interview communication.

What this means: You’re contributing to a poor candidate experience.

The interview process doesn’t end after the candidate has come in for their final interview. Until you’ve informed the candidate of their status, the interview process is still going. Yet, according to CareerBuilder’s 2015 Candidate Behavior Study, a mere 14 percent of candidates feel companies are responsive to them throughout the entire interview process.

How to fix it: Stay in touch with candidates after the interview has ended. Not responding to candidate follow-ups and not giving candidates an explanation of why they didn’t get the job can reflect poorly on your company.

Keeping up communication doesn’t just help create a better overall candidate experience during the interview process, it also keeps second and third choice candidates in your pocket for future positions.

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9. Your interview process looks just as it did five years ago.

What this means: You’re stuck in the past.

The job interview, like any business process, should change and evolve with the times. Advances in technology, especially, have made notoriously tedious interview-related tasks easier than ever before.

And yet, some hiring professionals are still relying on outdated, inefficient processes when it comes to the job interview. But the days of sifting through stacks of resumes, conducting phone interviews, and relying on scattered interview notes to evaluate candidates are a thing of the past.

We need to take advantage of the latest tools and technologies that are designed to make our lives, as hiring professionals, easier — not only for ourselves, but for the newest generation of job seekers who have come to expect it.    

How to fix it: Stay up-to-date on the latest interview tools and technologies and search for ways to incorporate them into your interview process without sacrificing quality. Many of these tools, such as applicant tracking systems (ATS) and video interviewing, are designed to assist traditional interview process — not replace them.

10. Your talent brand has taken a hit.

What this means: Your interview process is turning candidates away.

Talent brand, not to be confused with employer brand, is how talent views and socially brands a company. If your job postings aren’t receiving the number of applicants you had hoped, your talent brand is likely to blame. And a poor talent brand is usually a result of a less-than-stellar candidate experience.

Unfortunately, for employers, a poor talent brand can damage more than just your interview process.

In fact, according to the aforementioned CareerBuilder study on candidate behavior, 69 percent of job seekers say they are less likely to buy from a company they had a bad experience with during the interview process. On the other end of the spectrum, 69 percent of job seekers say they are more likely to buy from a company who treated them with respect during the application process.

How to fix it: Remember that the interview is a two-way street. Just as candidates are expected to impress you, you — as the representative of the company — are expected to impress candidates. Give them a reason to want to join your team.

After the interview has taken place, send out an email asking the candidate how they enjoyed the process. What did they like best about the interview? What could have been done better? This insight will help you create a candidate experience that will attract applicants for days, months, and years to come.

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What are some other signs your interview process might be broken? What can be done to fix it? Let us know in the comments.