Why 3 might be the magic number when recruiting

Why 3 might be the magic number when recruiting

 13 Feb 2019

Recent research gives the ideal number of people involved in the interview and selection process (from the hiring side) as 3. 

Why?  Well, it gives the balanced benefits of effectiveness and thoroughness whilst retaining speed and agility.  So how do your recruitment processes match up?

  1. It gives different perspectives and viewpoints of a candidate

Many of us, whether we admit it or not, make decisions based on our intuition.  We get a ‘feel’ for whether the candidate will ‘fit’ in or not.  Our intuition is important but it is shaped by our own previous, personal experiences and our own unconscious bias and therefore may not be helping us to make an objective, insightful decision.   We tend to be drawn to those who share some of our traits and those with whom we have some affinity – important barriers to a diverse workforce.  

Getting the input of others with different perspectives and interpretations is vital – ideally the 3 would comprise the line manager, another key stakeholder plus more objective input from HR or a member of your in-house recruitment team (if you have one).  Similarly adding in other objective data such as psychometric testing (we used game-based assessments from Arctic Shores) can also make a great contribution. 

85% admit to having made a bad hiring decision - we all know that making a bad recruitment decision can be very expensive for a business – not just the quantifiable cost and time involved with recruiting and re-recruiting but the disruptive impact it can have on morale and others in the business, the lack of productivity and the subsequent question marks about your lack of judgement.

  1. The process is thorough and professional but still nimble

From a candidate perspective, have you ever been in a recruitment process and ended up meeting 7 or so different people, going through endless interviews whilst the company tried to decide if you were the right person for the role?  You might have felt exposed to the business and gleaned different perspectives but did you get the feeling that the long process might have been indicative of how decisions are made in the business?

Candidates want to feel they have had the chance to meet different people, ask questions and assess the opportunity and the company but still want to be impressed with a professional yet nimble process.  When you’re trying to attract great talent into your business, considering and mapping the candidate journey can be an enlightening process.  I was with a business yesterday who email all candidates who have been involved in an interview with them (successful or not) asking for honest feedback about the candidate journey.  Amazingly, over 75% respond to give them valuable data to continuously improve their processes. 

We have all been candidates as some stage so with some thought we are perfectly able to view a process from the other side of the fence.  But beware - it may not be as pretty and as slick as you think! 

Remember always that the recruitment process is a window for the potential new employee into your business – showcasing your culture, ways of working, the calibre of people and decision-making style amongst other things. 

  1. Long, delayed processes rarely secure the best candidates

From the client perspective and as a business – great candidates, likely to have the most beneficial impact within your business are often not around for long.  Dither, elongate the process, ask them to meet just one more person and you are likely to be beaten to making an offer by a business with a more nimble and speedy process. 

And why would you dither?  58% of hiring managers report severe difficulties in attracting talent with the right skills to match their business needs.   So, get everything in place before you start – job descriptions, person spec, salary parameters and additional benefits as well as interview dates in the diaries of the decision-makers – because longer processes often don’t result in a better hire, the best candidate(s) may well have exited your process long before its conclusion.

And just finally, a Glassdoor report highlights the slowest hot spots in the UK as Guildford (33 days), Reading (31) and Birmingham (30) – the average in the UK continues to rise and now stands at 28 days.  But none compare with Paris where the average duration to hire, for all role levels, was reported as close to 40 days.  Finally, we may not be totally surprised that the UK sector with the longest hiring duration is Government.


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