In the current market for talent, your interview process could be making you stand out for all the wrong reasons — or all the right ones.
Getting your interview process right depends on equipping your interviewers with the right resources, training, and knowledge to provide a rigorous, consistent and fair process — every time. And when you’re getting that process right, you’ll start to see the payoff in five key areas:
- Faster time-to-hire
- Improved candidate acceptance rate
- Better quality of hire
- Reduced bias
- Increased efficiency
of candidates are more likely to accept a job following a good interview experience.
of candidates turn down a job due to a bad recruiting experience.
the cost of lost productivity each year due to employee disengagement.
Better interviews mean faster time-to-hire
Time is money — and from a hiring perspective, there are few things more frustrating than the candidates that got away.
Acting fast in this market is critical. When top candidates are fielding fistfuls of offers, the organizations that are primed to interview at speed will come out on top. They have the agility to move fast, and the ability to quickly schedule an interview, reach a decision, extend an offer and hire their number one candidate.
This velocity impacts every link in the hiring chain — faster time-to-interview translates directly into a reduced time-to-offer and time-to-hire. Candidates are more likely to have a good experience, and less likely to drop out of your process.
Meanwhile organizations that are struggling with interviewer numbers will experience slower hiring velocity. Candidates are more likely to self-select out of the process. Organizations have more unfilled seats for longer, meaning they’re unable to execute on strategic objectives.
And, as Metaview CEO and co-founder Siadhal Magos explains, training new interviewers often compounds the problem — especially when hiring needs outstrip capacity to get new interviewers trained up.
Better interviews improve candidate acceptance rates
In the age of social media, candidate experience is everything. And when a candidate has a bad one, they’re far more likely to tell everyone about it and sever their relationship with a brand completely.
Your interview process plays a huge role in creating that first impression. Candidates quit the hiring process for a number of reasons — but a lengthy wait is usually top of the list. Organizations with a slow and inefficient interview process will struggle to hire quickly, but this is magnified by candidates opting out of their process when the wait is too long.
In short, it’s a double jeopardy — and word gets around fast on Glassdoor and Twitter.
But that’s not all. The second biggest reason that candidates are likely to quit an interview process or reject an offer is due to a poor quality interview.
According to a 2019 PwC report, almost half of candidates turn down a job offer due to a bad recruiting experience.
A report by Greenhouse found that 36% of respondents considered well-prepared interviewers as a key part of a positive candidate experience.
A 2020 Glassdoor industry analysis found that candidates are more likely to accept a role after a challenging — or high rigor — interview.
An IBM whitepaper found that candidates who had a positive experience of the interview process were 38% more likely to accept a job offer.
Let’s focus on that key word — acceptance. As one of the first points of contact in any hiring process, well-trained interviewers can be the difference between a bad experience and a good one. But not only that, they have a direct, positive impact on a candidate’s likelihood of accepting your offer. Angela Miller, head of recruiting at Instabase, already knew this critical link — that’s why her interview process was designed to protect candidate experience at all costs.
Better interviews mean better quality hires
Culture is paramount for talent attraction. It cultivates belonging, forms tight bonds between teams, and outlines shared beliefs, values, and ways of operating. Great ones are linked to improved job satisfaction and increased retention.
But culture is a collective effort. How organizations preserve and nurture it is key to their ongoing success — and part of that comes down to establishing whether a candidate will add to yours, or take away from it. This is down to evaluating organization-employee fit — or culture-add.
Organization-employee fit represents the values, motivations, and attitudes that a candidate or employees bring to your organization. It goes beyond technical skill or ability, and instead focuses on how candidates solve problems, how they interact with team members, or react to simple scenarios, like getting an interview answer wrong. And for many organizations, it’s a central pillar of their hiring process.
Well-trained interviewers know how to pick up on that signal. They’re aligned to your organization’s values, and know how to dig deeper and surface those candidates with the specific combination of skills and cultural alignment that will benefit your organization.
Poorly-trained ones, on the other hand, are more likely to fail to identify the best candidate for the role, resulting in a mishire. We know from research that untrained interviewers are more likely to hire based on gut feel, and demonstrate overconfidence in their ability to evaluate and hire the right candidate.
In the best case scenario, a candidate might just become an underperformer in your team. In the worst case? A slew of poor quality hires might actively dilute your culture, leading to reduced business performance and an inability to achieve your strategic goals.
And then, says Scott Nelson, head of software recruiting at Anduril, the risk is that your culture becomes unrecognizable to those already there. Your existing employees will start to lose trust in you.
 John E Sheridan, ‘Organizational culture and employee retention’, The Academy of Management Journal (1992).
 Jennifer Chatman, ‘Matching people and organizations: Selection and socialization in public accounting firms’, Administrative Science Quarterly (1991).
 Richaurd R Camp, Eric Schulz, Mary E Vielhaber and Fraya Wagner-Marsh, ‘Human Resource Professionals’ Perception of Interviewer Training’, Journal of Managerial Issues (2011).
Better interviews reduce the likelihood of bias
Overconfident, under-trained interviewers represent a definite risk to your culture — but they also open you up to bias and discrimination.
Biases are ingrained at a subconscious level. They’re the reason we might think twice about walking down a poorly-lit path, or pick a particular menu item over and over again. In the real world, they’re sometimes helpful. In the interview process, they’re not — and unconscious bias training can only go so far to mitigate the impact of an untrained interviewer.
Studies show that overconfident interviewers are far more likely to succumb to personal biases, resulting in them taking more hiring risks and ending the interview process before finding the best candidate for the role.
And while your interviewers might not be aware of the biases at play in their decision-making, your candidates can spot it a mile off. In studies, candidates are far more likely to believe they were evaluated fairly if an interviewer sticks to a structured process. Well-trained interviewers are more likely to stick to a structured process than untrained ones.
The bottom line: Well-trained interviewers are more standardized in how they evaluate candidates time after time. They are more consistent in the questions they ask, and ask higher rigor questions overall. Bias is less likely to creep in — paving the way to fairer hiring outcomes and a more heterogeneous organization.
But when interviewers don’t learn to check their biases, they’re far more likely to hire someone more like themselves, creating a more homogeneous organization. Organizations with high levels of homogeneity are more prone to groupthink. They’re less likely to be innovative. They also perform worse.
Biased hiring practices have a knock-on impact on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) goals, explains Margaret Buj, lead technical recruiter at Mixmax, and interview coach who has helped organizations including Typeform scale their interviewer training.
 Edgar E Kausel, Satoris S Culbertson, Hector P Madrid, ‘Overconfidence in personnel selection: When and why unstructured interview information can hurt hiring decisions’, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (2016).
 Michael A Campion, David K Palmer and James E Campion, ‘A review of structure in the selection interview’, Personnel Psychology (1997).
 Derek S Chapman and David I Zweig, ‘Developing a nomological network for interview structure: Antecedents and consequences of the structured selection interview’, Personnel Psychology (2005).
 Naomi Ellemers and Floor Rink, ‘Diversity in work groups’, Journal of Product Innovation Management (2016).
Better interviews improve business velocity
We know that when organizations don’t have a big enough pool of interviewers to lean on, they reduce their ability to hire quickly, leading to a hiring bottleneck. But there’s also an added operational bottleneck that develops throughout the whole organization as a direct result of systemic inefficiency.
Without enough trained interviewers, organizations are forced to rely on a smaller cohort of certified ones, causing calendar conflicts as interview slots pile up, candidate interviews get pushed further out, and training new interviewers gets deprioritized. There’s also a trickle-down impact on employees.
A few years ago, when Google evaluated the return on investment they were getting from their famously lengthy 12-round interview process, they realized it was costing them thousands of hours in employee productivity. That’s because every extra hour Google’s employees spent in interviews, they weren’t able to contribute productively to furthering individual, team, or organizational goals.
Whichever way you slice it, an inefficient interview process means your existing employees are less efficient and productive. When you have too few certified interviewers, your existing ones are tied up in interviews so they can’t contribute to your organization. When your interviews are inconsistent or of varying quality, you’re likely to run more as a result of poor-fit hires.
These estimated costs are only compounded when we factor in employee engagement. Because when employees aren’t able to do the work they joined your organization to do, their engagement and job satisfaction are likely to fall. Each year, lost productivity due to disengagement costs the global economy $8.1 trillion.
When organizations have a strong pool of certified, calibrated interviewers, they’re better able to manage these bottlenecks, leading to increased efficiency across the whole company.
So why isn’t everyone doing interviewer training?
At this point, you’re probably thinking the same thing we are: Why isn’t interviewer training more common?
In our experience, there are usually two reasons: either organizations have limited time and resources to make interviewer training a priority, or they have a process in place, but are finding their existing systems hard to optimize.
Organizations with little or no interviewer training often lack the time and resources to make it work.
If this sounds like you, then there are only so many hours in the day, people on your team, and plates you can spin. And when you’re a small team trying to propel an organization on the proverbial rocketship to growth, competing demands are often going to get in the way.
- Hiring targets take priority. In scaling organizations, hiring teams are often faced with ambitious headcount targets — targets that if they’re not hit, will slow down scaling velocity by prolonging skills, headcount and experience gaps in teams.
- Low belief in need for interviewer training. While structured interviews are generally known to be a good predictor of interview validity, a study proposed that it could also foster the belief that interviewer training is no longer necessary. A separate study proposed that overconfident, untrained interviewers may also struggle to see the point of training.
- Training is seen as a means to avoid legal consequences. The purpose of interviewer training may also factor into its perception. The same study cited above found that 88% of respondents considered that the primary purpose of interviewer training was to teach interviewers to avoid asking discriminatory questions.
Often, the long-term value of implementing interviewer training is a tough one to reconcile with the immediate urgency of increasing headcount. This, says Siadhal, is compounded by a lack of understanding on the role interviewer training plays in the ‘human’ part of the interview process.
 Camp, 2011.
 Campion, 1997.
Organizations that are doing interviewer training are experiencing challenges at scale.
You’ve got your training tracks built out, and have a solid process in place that turns out certified interviewers operating at similar levels of consistency. And this was a well-oiled machine when you just needed to train a few hiring managers here and there. But now as scaling ramps up, the wheels are beginning to fall off.
- Manual one-to-many styles of training become much harder to manage. Interviewer training has typically followed a one-to-many format that requires a synchronous delivery. At scale, this translates into scheduling conflicts, while group learning formats don’t result in high quality knowledge transfer.
- One-to-many becomes one-too-many. In larger teams, the one-size-fits-all training format and accompanying manual processes make it hard to see progress. Interviewer training frameworks are not equipped to respond effectively to varying levels of individual knowledge or development areas.
- Less quality control and post-process management. Even when interviewers are trained successfully, there are rarely safeguards in place to monitor ongoing quality and development needs. Talent teams lack the visibility to track knowledge decay, or nip emerging detrimental habits in the bud.
For Angela, these challenges are very familiar. In her previous role at Pure Storage, Angela and her team built a rigorous training framework that established a gold standard for all interviewers at the company. But the breaking point came when hiring needs outstripped interviewer training capacity.