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​Interview Processes: neither a marathon nor a sprint

  • Publish Date: Posted over 1 year ago
  • Author:by MERJE

Our Overcoming Recruitment Challenges series has touched on many aspects of the hiring process so far, from finding the right candidates to creating a great pre-employment experience.

Another key piece of a successful recruitment puzzle is the interview process itself; an area many businesses fail to optimise and thus lose already-hard-to-find candidates.

It’s true that you’re hiring route should be rigorous enough to identify the very best person for the job, but going too far can result in discouraged interviewees or putting people off altogether, which is certainly not the aim of the game!

After all, the candidates interviewing for the role are your potential future employees, so this is where they will build their first impression of you as an employer. It’s vital that their experience is a good one to ensure that they’re truly bought in to the opportunity and committed to the hiring journey, reducing the chance of them considering other options or choosing another job offer over yours.

Here are three key things to review and optimise in your current recruitment journey:


The best candidates can be off the job market in a matter of days. There is no time to wait around for the application deadline to pass or someone who is on annual leave to return so they can attend the interview.

Book interviews in as soon as a great CV comes in. If one hiring manager isn’t available for a few weeks, ask someone else to interview in their place. Can’t find a date that everyone is free for a face-to-face interview? Do a video call instead.

Otherwise, while you’re waiting days for someone to respond to your email or weeks for that once-in-a-blue-moon interview date, your competitors are sweeping in and taking your candidates off the job market.


It can be very easy to plan your hiring process and get carried away with interview stages with HR, the hiring manager, the team, the CEO, plus sessions for personality tests and competency assessments…

If there are too many hoops to jump through candidates will lose interest, either not applying in the first place, dropping out midway through, or not giving 100% effort, all of which means wasting their time and yours.

Keep your interview stages to the essentials, combine interviewers into one meeting where possible, and don’t bombard people with unnecessary tests or gruelling in-person interviews when a quick phone call would suffice.

We’ve found that a 10-minute introductory phone call, followed by 1-2 video/in-person interviews, when structured with carefully considered questions, should be more than enough to assess a candidate’s suitability.


From technology to availability, throwing away the rigid interview process and embracing flexibility will maximise your ability to attract, interview and secure the best professionals.

With candidates in today’s market having a multitude of job opportunities to choose from, any employer whose interview process is unpalatable or too rigid and doesn’t work with their day-to-day will be rejected.

However, if you’re open to tweaking the interview process for individual requirements, not only does this make your pre-employment journey more accessible, it shows that you care about people and are willing to flex when needed, which reflects what you will be like as an employer in the long-run.

Think about:

  • Video calls instead of face-to-face interviews

  • Alternative interview formats (e.g. 121, multiple interviewers, group assessment centres, competency questions, loose discussion, structured Q&A, etc.

  • Allowing longer interview/assessment times for those who need it

  • Health & safety considerations (e.g. Covid precautions)

The long or short of it

Ultimately, optimising each of these aspects of your recruitment process can have a big impact on your success rates, reducing the number of drop-outs and helping your business to hire the best candidates in the job market.


This article is the final in a series sharing advice and guidance for clients to overcome the recruitment challenges they’re facing in the candidate-driven employment market.

Check out all the articles to see hints and tips for different stages of the recruitment journey to help you build a successful process:

Introduction: Why is hiring so tough right now?

  1. The dos and don’ts of making a job offer

  2. Stop losing talent at the last hurdle!

  3. Where have all the candidates gone?

  4. Harmonious hiring relationships

  5. Bonus! Interview Processes: neither a marathon nor a sprint