After The 4th Round Interview…

I had a client recently that was undecided about a candidate after the 4th round interview.  They were thinking that maybe a fifth round would make the difference.  I told them that it wouldn’t.  In fact, it was a mistake to allow them to get to four.

Do you know what the fourth round interview says about your process?

It says that your process is broken.  No one needs four rounds of interviews to decide if a candidate is the right candidate for your organization.  A fifth round, or any number higher, is just adding insult to injury.

Here’s what anything beyond the third round interview says to your candidate:

 – “Hey, come work us, so we can totally frustrate you with our indecision culture.”

– “We need more interviews because we don’t have our shit together, but please don’t notice that.”

– “You are so mediocre we just can decide if we should pass on you, or hire you.”

– “I bet you can’t wait to come aboard and be a part of this process in the future!”

– “We like to where down candidates to see who ‘really’ wants out jobs!”

Organizations that can’t figure this out are always interviewing second tier talent.  Organizations that are talent attractors have determined that less is more.  Have a concise process. Move quick. We’ll get it right, more than we’ll get it wrong.  If we get it wrong, don’t take long to make the correction.

The reality is, is that 99% of your interviews should never need to go beyond three interviews.  It looks like this:

1st round – This is your pre-employment screening/assessments  and phone interview. Perfect placement for video screening tool (HireVue, WePow, etc.).

2nd round – Face-to-face with hiring manager and any other key stakeholders (i.e., people this person might support from other functions)

3rd round – if needed-  Face-to-face, phone, skype-type interview.  Executive sign off.  Really only needed if your line executive doesn’t have faith in the hiring manager.

More interviews after this point, yield negligible additional information, and actually might be a detriment to your hiring decision.  Why?  Here’s what happens happens after you talk about someone for so long, they turn into a piece of crap!  This is normal human and organizational behavior, by the way.  We start out talking about all the good qualities and experiences the person has, and how they can help us.  We then start searching for hickeys and, no matter what, we will find them!  Then we start talking about what’s wrong with the person and before you know it, that great candidate, becomes a piece of garbage and not good enough for your organization.

They’re not really garbage.  They’re still the really good person you initially interviewed.  We just let it go too long, and discovered they have opportunities and we don’t want to hire anyone with ‘opportunities’ we want perfect.  This is what happens after round three in almost every organization I’ve ever witnessed go to four, five, six, etc.   It might be the biggest misnomer by candidates who feel the longer you go in the interview process, the better the chance of an offer.  It’s untrue!  If you don’t get an offer after the third round, your percentages of getting an offer fall exponentially every round after!


8 thoughts on “After The 4th Round Interview…

  1. Pingback: Be thankful more recruiters are saying this: Requiring 4-5 interviews is simply abusive – The Skeptical Guy

  2. Very well said. I can totally relate. I was interviewed for a position by my potential Immediate Manger, got invited again to be interviewed by 5 of the team members i would be potentially working with. Got a 3rd interview with the VP and Chief of Accounting staff. Then got a final interview with the CEO the organization. I still did not get the Job. Total waste of time. A week later, i got a phone call form my potential manager saying how i would have been the perfect candidate and how she wanted me to work for her, but there were some things she just could not explain. Sadly, i think it was an issue with race and the people i was going to be serving in that community. Thanks again for the blog. It was quite an experience and total waste of my time. No regrets though. 🙂

  3. Loved reading this because I just went through this painful process with a large, highly-matrixed, highly successful organization that I really wanted to work with and for. Nine interviews later, yes nine interviews, and one with an HR Manager in Prague who shared with me that she wouldn’t even be in that position after a month (why are we talking then) and I became garbage and wasn’t hired in the end. All the while friends and family saying, and me kind of agreeing, that no one makes it this far with all these executives and doesn’t get chosen – wrong. Too many cooks in the kitchen and too much to muddy the waters. It’s unfortunate but I remained gracious and professional and my silver-lining is I can ace any interview with anyone from around the globe:-) Thanks for sharing!

  4. Seems to be symptomatic where no one wants to take responsibility for making a decision so in the event it goes wrong, everyone can say “it wasn’t me”

  5. I had a close colleague interviewed by over 40 people before he was hired. He was very gracious through the whole thing. By the time he got to me (well into the 40s), I apologized for our terrible HR practices. He joined us anyway.

  6. So true, there has to be a study on this. my guess would be that a company has too many layers of people who have to sign off or feel they contributed to the hire.

    And if you talk about the pope long enough, he turns into garbage as well.

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