Interviews - What number is enough?

A potential candidate and a recruiter are like two individuals who wish to connect in an assemblage of more recruiters and candidates. They need some kind of medium to get in touch. But, the medium is divided into several steps that recruiters need to follow. Apparently, these defined steps are very important in execution of the recruitment process. They need to first source the candidates and then they may or may not end up with a stack of resumes, which heavily depends upon the level of perfection in their primary process. The next important part is to screen the resumes. It is quite amazing that one can assess the quality of the candidates by referring to the summary of their academics and work history. The next part is obviously the interviews. But things start to turn hectic and significant at this step.

The most astonishing fact is the large amount of time technical recruiters spend on interviewing unqualified candidates, which is alarming because the same time can be utilized in the engineering productivity. It is strictly not advisable to lose productivity because of extra time that spends on vetting the skills of unqualified candidates.

Lets take help from statistics for better understanding of this problematic situation. According to Carl Sweet, Marketo‘s Director of Talent Acquisition, 8 interviews for 1 hire is the sweet spot. He even presented the required number of interviews for different departments. For finance positions, the ratio is 120 candidates: 15 interviews: 1 hire; and for engineers the ratio is 20 candidates: 5 interviews: 1 hire. Now, think of the loss of productivity if the average no. of interviews was 10 instead of 5. Even 5 extra interviews add extra pressure on the engineering team.

We do know recruiters spend endless hours in different process in recruiting the best candidate for a position. But, all the efforts miss the mark if they do not end up with a good hire. Thus, interview plays a major role in the course of action intended to get the best hire. One option is to interview as many candidate as possible so that they don’t lose out on hiring a potential hire. Unfortunately, it puts lots of pressure on the engineering team and their time which lead to compromising on their productivity. Certainly, no company wants to settle on their engineering team’s non productivity.

The most feasible solution is to reduce the number of interviews such that engineering team gets to test the candidates without compromising on their productivity. It calls for the the right number of interviews to be taken for a single position.

According to the research conducted by Glen Cathey, SVP Talent Strategy and Innovation at Kforce, the right number of candidates to be sent for an interview is approx 6% of the number of candidates recruiters require to achieve their target number of hires. Which boils down to the figure of 4-7 candidates per one position.

The illustration clearly depicts the approx number of candidates that should be considered for an interview. Considering 25% response rate from the sourcing and further selection for interview, the process seems quite doable without any extra loss of engineering's time.

To achieve that, sourcing and screening of candidates play a major role in having the best candidates for an interview. This way not only do recruiters save the engineering time, but also set the required goal so that the recruitment process becomes hassle free.