How Many Interviews Should It Take to Make a Hiring Decision?


by Mark Smith

4 months ago


As I write this blog, I am sitting in the people2people Sydney CBD office, more specifically with our permanent accounting recruitment team. One of our consultants was speaking very confidently about a head of finance role he is recruiting. He often works on CFO, Finance Manager or Financial Controller positions and today his confidence was particularly high as a candidate had just let him know that she had successfully navigated a second face to face interview. She had also invested over an hour on an initial phone interview, before proceeding to two ‘face to face’ interviews.

So is it reasonable for both the candidate and our people2people consultant to feel confident about securing an offer of employment for the role after this number of interviews? What should be considered a normal or reasonable number of interviews before a decision to hire is made?

Research on this is pretty thin on the ground. A Google search will reveal a cavalcade of Reddit and Whirlpool posts with people asking what exactly is normal?

So, in an attempt to apply some rigour to this process, I have extracted the numbers from the people2people database, JobScience. Since May 2011, people2people have been engaged to recruit  6,962 permanent vacancies. During the same time, we organised 10,902 interviews with hiring managers. This equates to 1.56 interviews for every permanent role listed. So therefore, for the sake of argument, I would suggest on average there are two face to face meetings before an offer is made.

Confidence is a strange thing and it can be crushed very quickly. So after a volley of positive comments, the confidence of my accounting recruitment colleague was dashed by a few words in an email

“do you think we can see (name of candidate) for another interview?”

If you are hiring staff and you need more than two face to face meetings, you may want to consider whether your interview technique is appropriate for you to make a hiring decision or whether you have given your recruiter the right brief. It may simply mean you are not seeing the right candidates!

On average, two interviews should be enough for you to make a hiring decision and if you need more than that, consider reviewing your processes. 

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