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3 bottlenecks that slow down the interview stage—and how to fix them

August 9th, 2023 7 minute read
Tom Hacquoil
Tom Hacquoil
When competition for talent is high, timing is everything.

Though recruiters try their best to get things done as quickly as possible, great candidates can still get lost in the shuffle. To keep them engaged, it can feel like a constant trade-off between fast and robotic versus slow and human.

Candidates do appreciate efficiency, especially if you can use that time to focus more on personalization. For Pinpoint customers, reducing time in the interview stage by just 5 days can improve candidate Net Promoter Score (NPS) by 20%.

We analyzed over 100,000 jobs and 4.5 million applications through Pinpoint to understand how recruiters can speed up the hiring process and give candidates a better experience.

Identify the bottleneck(s)

First, analyze the stages of your hiring process to understand where you should focus your time and where you can increase efficiency.

For example, before you begin recruitment for a new role, identify what channels have historically brought in the highest quality candidates and the most hires. You can then optimize where you publish future job posts to save your team time and money each time you hire.

Then, assess each stage of your interview process. Where does it slow down and why?

Common challenges include:

  • Coordination across many busy schedules
  • Ghosting and interview no-shows
  • Unstructured interview evaluation

Let’s dive in to understand what causes these bottlenecks and how you can solve them.

1. Coordination across many busy schedules

Juggling one busy schedule is challenging enough—it becomes almost impossible with more people involved if you don’t have visibility into their calendars.

When assessing the speed of your process, consider if interviews are spaced in a purposeful way (to give candidates time to complete an assessment) or due to inefficient coordination.

Take our client OneValley for example: after a merger with Philanthropy U, they had to manage an increasing number of interviews across a more complex team structure. They needed to maintain visibility across the team and improve coordination quickly to keep up with the pace.

By far the superpower is interview scheduling. It’s one thing if you tell people they have to learn a new software—but if you can prove the new tool will save them time, it’s an easy and immediate win.

Chris Kyriacou
People Operations Manager, OneValley

Solution: Automated interview scheduling

With automated interview scheduling that’s connected to your team’s calendars, recruiters can minimize back-and-forth emailing and find times that work for everyone. Hiring managers will also have fewer emails to deal with and greater control over their schedules.

Candidates can then schedule interviews for times that work best for them. To reach candidates who are in other times zones or still in their roles, consider offering some interview times outside of the 9 to 5.

62% of working professionals say they lose interest two weeks after an initial interview if they haven’t heard back. Automated scheduling makes it easy to keep candidates engaged: for Pinpoint users, the average time a candidate spends within the interview stage is just 11 days.

2. Ghosting and interview no-shows

It’s always disappointing not to hear back from a promising candidate, especially once you’ve gotten excited to interview them. But still, 22% of jobseekers have ghosted a prospective employer during the application process.

When candidates aren’t being met where they are, especially if they are not in a traditional office space, they may miss your messages. Without clear information and notifications, they may be unprepared for interviews and won’t be able to show you their full potential.

Just ask our client Icario: Their goal is to perfect the candidate experience, without overburdening their team. Previous tools made it hard to keep candidates informed or engaged, leaving them wondering what to expect in interviews and ultimately wasting everyone’s time.

[Custom text messages are] no work on our end, but it’s another thing we’re doing to make sure that candidates feel prepared.

Rachel Todd
Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist, Icario

Solution: Responsive templates and multichannel outreach

You know more messages will help keep candidates engaged, but who has the time? Automate interview confirmations so candidates always get a clear response and reminder. Include calendar invites with call-in or location details so their time is booked immediately and they have the information they need.

For ad hoc messages, email templates will make it easy for your team to send tailored, considerate, and on-brand responses quickly, without extra admin.

Using SMS alongside email adds another touchpoint to reach candidates who are on-the-go or less inclined to check email.

3. Unstructured interview evaluation

Without structured evaluations, its much harder to determine if a candidate will be successful, which can slow the down the decision-making process. Even if you’ve implemented a rubric for interviews, it can be hard to get hiring managers on board or to chase them for feedback.

River Island swears by structured decision-making and collaboration as key factors of their success. Their talent team has standardized the interview process across 240 locations to maintain visibility over recruitment while empowering hiring managers to own their parts of the process. By increasing team consistency and efficiency, River Island has shortened time to hire by 28%.

Scorecards have supported quick and fair decision-making in stores, ensuring a more consistent approach to who we’re hiring

Hannah Clarke
Talent Acquisition Manager, River Island

Solution: Set workflows for informed decision-making

Design custom workflows and interview toolkits so your team can access the information they need to make informed hiring decisions quickly.

Some ways to make it easier from River Island and other Pinpoint clients:

  • Generate summaries of candidate qualifications for quicker vetting
  • Compare CVs side-by-side
  • Anonymize candidate information to minimize unconscious bias when reviewing CVs
  • Enable notifications to remind hiring managers to submit feedback
  • Report on everyone’s scores in one place to calibrate your team

Develop scorecards to maintain control while empowering your team. With a clear framework in place, hiring managers can easily include other team members in the process while following best practices for equitable evaluation. For the final decision, hiring teams can confidently choose the candidates with the highest weighted scores.

Find the right pace

Its a fine line between a fast process and a robotic process. By reducing time spent on tedious admin, recruiters and hiring managers can invest that energy in delivering more personalized experiences to candidates.

They will appreciate the responsiveness: candidates who receive timely feedback are 52% more likely to engage with an employer again. With candidate surveys, you can get more qualitative data to understand what “timely” means to them, what is resonating, and where you can improve.

As a final word of advice from Sam Lucking, Senior Recruitment Manager at L’Occitane, “It’s about making people feel empowered, informed, involved, and that they’re a priority.”

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Learn how your team can speed up recruiting and improve candidate experience with Pinpoint.

About the author
Tom Hacquoil
Tom Hacquoil
Tom is the CEO at Pinpoint and he's passionate about building world-class teams.

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