Why a Longer Interview Process Isn’t the Answer to the Digital Skills Shortage

Time to Read: 4.9 minutes

Updated: December 11, 2023

The average recruitment process is getting longer – it now takes organizations 44 days on average to fill a role – and anecdotal evidence from candidates suggests that a large part of this is due to extended rounds of interviews and testing required by employers. But in a world where so many businesses are experiencing an acute digital skills shortage is this really the best way forward?

In many ways it’s understandable that hiring managers and leaders are more cautious when it comes to making critical hires. There is often a mismatch between the skills candidates have and the skills organizations need. It might feel like the solution is to check, check and check again through multiple interviews that a candidate will be the perfect fit. In reality, long interview processes should be a cause for concern.

The Problem with a Lengthy Interview Process

What is the longest interview process you can remember going through?

Four rounds of interviews? Nine? More?

If that sounds excessive, you’re right! But interview processes extending for as long as six months and including as many as fourteen interview stages have been reported anecdotally on Reddit, LinkedIn and in outlets such as CNBC.  This trend not only has an impact on candidates but on your business too. The longer it takes for you to make a hire:

  • The greater the loss of productivity and revenue. The average cost of filling a vacancy can be as high as 3 or 4 times the role’s salary.
  • The more frustrated and tired candidates become leading to increasing drop off rates. 73% of candidates will drop out of a hiring process if it goes on too long and 1 in 3 will reject an offer if they have a bad experience during the process.
  • The greater the impact on your employer brand and company reputation. 26% of candidates would leave a negative review if they felt they were being strung along in the interview process.

With the digital skills shortage starting to bite and many US employers struggling to hire the skills they need for growth and success; can you afford to put candidates off from your organization?

5 Practical Solutions for Striking a Balance

Of course, it is possible to strike a balance between thoroughly evaluating a candidate’s abilities and providing a positive, well structured, and efficient interview and recruitment process that appeals to candidates. Here are five quick ways you can beat the digital skills shortage and access the talent you need:

1. Efficient Evaluation Methods

Identifying key skills essential for the job role in advance makes it easier for the interviewer to assess a candidate’s suitability for the role. This targeted approach saves time and is more precise providing a clear understanding of a candidate’s abilities and cultural fit and reduces the number of interviews needed. Fewer interviews are better for candidates, providing a smoother hiring experience, and better for managers who can spend their time more productively. Avoid extended tests or practical exercises, except when necessary. By streamlining your evaluation methods, you can make quicker hiring decisions and ensure you secure the right talent.

2. Streamlined Communication

Keeping candidates informed at every stage of their application journey is crucial. Transparency about their progress not only demonstrates respect for their time and effort but also provides a positive candidate experience. Timely feedback, whether positive or constructive, allows candidates to understand their standing, enabling them to make informed decisions about their job search. Open communication and respectful scheduling eliminate uncertainties and long waiting periods, reducing the likelihood of candidates dropping out of the process and ensuring they are ready and prepared for interviews.

3. Implementing Technology

Technology can help you develop a quicker, more efficient interview process. You most likely have an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)[JM1]  that can filter resumes and provide a shortlist of candidates based on key words and phrases and schedule interviews. AI-powered chatbots can help you answer candidate queries and keep lines of communication open, driving engagement and video conferencing software can allow for remote interviews saving time and resources. By automating repetitive tasks and simplifying communication, you can focus on evaluating candidates more thoroughly, resulting in a smoother, quicker interview process, helping you find the right talent effectively.

4. Bridging the Skills Gap

Of course, making new hires isn’t the only way to ensure you have the right expertise available to help your business succeed. The digital skills shortage requires a more holistic, well-rounded approach to skill development. Bridge the skills gap by simultaneously investing in training and upskilling programs for your existing staff members. Consider ways to encourage cross-department skill sharing and ask your current workforce for recommendations and referrals for people they think would be great additions to your team. This can be a great way to quickly find qualified candidates with good cultural fit and you’ll need fewer interviews to assess their suitability.

5. Engaging with Recruitment Process Outsourcing

RPO providers, like Pierpoint, specialize in comprehensive recruitment solutions, offering services that range from candidate sourcing and screening to onboarding. We maintain an extensive network of skilled professionals and have expertise in rapidly identifying candidates tailored to your specific job requirements. We can help you incorporate advanced technologies, such as AI-driven applicant tracking systems and data analytics, to streamline candidate evaluation and selection. And we offer personalized solutions, including employer branding strategies and efficient interview scheduling, ensuring a seamless experience for both candidates and employers. Engaging with an RPO provider means you can concentrate on your core operations while experienced professionals handle the intricacies of talent acquisition, guaranteeing access to high quality candidates. A strategic investment for businesses aiming for swift and effective talent acquisition!

Pierpoint’s full service RPO solution can help you overcome the digital skills gap with services ranging from building a strong employer brand to reaching new talent pools. Talk to an expert today to discuss your talent needs.

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Jen Mulholland

Jen is a successful recruitment and marketing professional. Driven by a genuine passion for writing, she provides insightful, accurate and engaging content for the Human Resources community across a wide range of topics and industries.

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