How many rounds of interviews are enough?

 As you know, LinkedIn is my go-to social media outlet because it’s the only platform that makes sense*. And I love it when professionals generously share their points of view, hoping to make an impact in their little way. 

 But if I were, to be honest, the juice is in the conversations that follow these posts. You will get to read a variety — from intelligent to plain dumb. It’s entertaining. 

 One of the most recent debates was the ideal number of rounds for interviewing a potential candidate. And boy, this post might have had over a thousand comments! Most of them were job seekers or highly-opinionated entrepreneurs with traumatic histories with a recruiter or two.

 Sorry I digress. 

 The consensus was more in line with this: if several rounds are more than 2, candidates should get some compensation for their time and efforts.

 Yeah, why not? 

 While I respect everyone’s intention here, I have to say this — it’s not just the candidate’s time that’s been wasted but the employer’s time too. And if we’re okay with the latter, we’re taking the employer for granted, which honestly doesn’t serve the purpose. 

 I don’t think we need more than a couple of rounds (or maybe three) to assess the calibre of a candidate and make a decision. Recruiters must streamline their processes to ensure that the right players are involved at the right stakes to make the whole experience as smooth as possible. 

 Sure, bloopers happen at all, times and I think an honest apology takes care of it, but that doesn’t mean ‘the system is broken.’ There is a possibility that the recruitment team may decide to go for additional rounds to be sure if they’ve got the right candidate. I don’t think anything wrong with that approach.  

 It’s easier for naysayers to come up with weird ideas like paying the interviewees, probably because they don’t understand the art and science of effective recruiting or building a world-class team. Let me tell you first hand — it’s hard work. 

 And from my experience, I can tell you that the moment candidates whiff some kind of incentive irrespective of the result, they will create a game out of it. I had this candidate applying for a copywriter’s position, and he was willing to take the copy test for payment, to which I promptly agreed. The dude failed the test royally but collected the payment nonetheless. 

 A couple of months later, he applied for the same position and asked to be paid for the copy test again! Boy, he had the nerve! I caught his BS and black-listed his profile in our systems so he could never apply. But the incident is also a strong case of why we shouldn’t incentivize candidates’ time because they will start gaming the design sooner or later. 

 It’s just one of those things about human nature where we figure out the patterns and leverage our knowledge and experience to our advantage. That’s why people leave their jobs every 2-3 years to get a 30% hike because the market respects and reacts to someone’s salary package. We’re subconsciously positioning people with a higher salary package for someone intelligent, capable, and successful. But is that so? Far from it. 

 My argument is simple — interview them until you are completely satisfied to offer them an opportunity. That’s not an excuse for not having robust systems in place that will help you identify the right candidate within 2-3 formal interactions. 

 *At least, for now, things might change in the future as I do see this one becoming a Facebook alternative for people with jobs.

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