Why should you use a two interview employee candidate process? Why not one interview for the right candidate or three sessions to be certain? Both good questions and I’ll answer them. But let’s begin with why two interviews.

Why a Two Interview Employee Candidate Process?

Background Checks

It gives you time between interviews to conduct background checks. Yes, you could make a hiring decision and then conduct a background check, but why go through the hassle of beginning the new hire enrollment and then tell the candidate they don’t qualify? We recently saw how that works in our federal government where people have access to secure documents before a background check is completed. And the same goes for driver’s license checks, credit checks, and even checking references. How to Avoid Costly Bad Hires

Give the Candidate Time to Think

Wait what? Give them time to think!? You may be thinking, “No, I want them off the market. I want to hire her!” Have you ever hired someone on the spot and they didn’t show, or worse yet lasted two weeks and cost you time and money? The True Cost of Employee Turnover. I know I’ve made mistakes, and I’m not saying the two interview system will eliminate every questionable hire, but it will reduce it, especially if you share the pitfalls of the job and send them home to think about it.

“Share the pitfalls of the position don’t downplay this. Tell it like it is. If there’s frequent overtime, weekend work, travel, late hours, etc., — divulge it. No job is perfect, so share the pitfalls. How can a candidate make an informed decision without all the information?” — 8 quick Tips on Conducting Employment Interviews.

I end the first interview telling the candidate to go home, consider the position including the pitfalls and then set a time for her or him to call me the next day.

Two Heads are better than one

It might be a dated saying, but it’s true, two heads are better than one. That’s why I believe two different staff members, or teams of staff should conduct the interviews. One may see things the other missed. I also prefer someone other than the candidate’s future direct manager to conduct the first interview. For example, when HR completes the first interview they can eliminate unqualified applicants without wasting the time of the departmental manager. I also believe it’s important for the direct manager to be part of the interview process so she or he are involved in the hiring decision and set the tone of the working relationship with the new recruit. First interview HR second supervising manager.

Why Not One Interview or Three?

So, why not one interview? My answer is all of the above. Why not three or four interviews? I believe in most cases everything you need can be accomplished in two sittings. Conducting additional interviews might be overkill, and, especially if the recruit is exceptional, you risk the chance of the candidate being taken out of the market by another.  So, conduct the first interview, complete a background check, send the candidate home to think about the good and bad of the position, and then if they want the job you’ll know you have a stronger commitment than you would have hiring on the spot. Is the two interview system perfect? Nope, no way. However, it’s more thorough than a one interview plan, and that can save you time and money.

Photo by Johanna Buguet on Unsplash