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The WHY Behind Your Interviews

“This candidate is really good, they really check a lot of the boxes and we want to move them to next step”

“Thanks Mr. Brown. So, they’ll be meeting with Mrs. Blue for the final interview and then we can decide if we want to extend offer to them?”

“Well, before Mrs. Blue, I’d really like Ms. Green to talk to this person from a more technical perspective. If Ms. Green likes them, we should have Mr. White give a more cultural and behavioral interview, he's really good at that aspect.”

“Well, how many more steps can I tell our candidate who has already had 2 interviews?”

“Should be these last few, then we should be ready to offer...hopefully”

There are a few different aspects of Talent Acquisition that can be at play in this all-too-familiar scenario. The salesperson recruiting for this Hiring Manager could be better informed of the steps required in her client’s interview process through asking the right questions. The Hiring Manager could be more decisive and reduce the timeline of the interview process (if it is in their power). The client Company could have better, more streamlined corporate strategy for the acquisition of the talent it is seeking.

What is universal is that this conversation happens, to some varying degree, between firms and their new or existing clients more often than it should.

While every well-trained recruiting service provider and salesperson will attempt to influence the interview process and bend it to their will, and some do very effectively, most Companies from start-ups to giant corporations prefer to establish the process themselves. The reasoning can differ – for smaller Companies who might require consensus from all leaders, to large Companies focused on compliance and uniformity (who still might require consensus).

This is not inherently a bad thing, as long as there is a clear WHY.

Defined ‘WHYs’ of the interview steps are absolutely critical in maintaining candidate interest, awareness, and understanding which ultimately increases the chances they accept a position with your Company.

Examples of WHY Steps:

  • HR/Talent Acquisition needs to qualify the candidate on technical/cultural fit, inform them about the Company, and address any red flags

  • Hiring Manager needs to have a technical conversation about the skill sets they need vs. what the candidate has

  • Peer groups or senior technical personnel need to evaluate skills and experience to see if the candidate possess requisite level of competency

  • An assessment of some sort is needed for the candidate to complete to see if candidate possesses requisite level of competency

  • End-customer or client needs to evaluate the candidate for approval

  • Leadership-titled Manager wishes to ‘give blessing’ over the union

While a few of these taken separately are excellent WHYs to the interview process, it still baffles me how many Companies believe more steps is better, when the exact opposite is true in this market.

Certainly, there will always be Companies who can and do dictate their steps and elongated timelines to the market – the big ones who are still sexy, and the very mention of their names in a candidate’s interview dating scene can cause panic among other suitors.

For most Companies out there vying for the best Talent they can get to grow – there is much foot-shooting.

There is lack of clear process.

There is indecisiveness.

There are second opinions.

There is death-by-consensus.


And too few answers to WHY.

I have yet to have a call with an amazing candidate fresh on the market who asks me to make sure we find him/her a new employer that will take up several hours of their working weeks for the next 3-4 weeks, drill them on anything they might claim to have listed on their resume, repeat questions from different interviewers, give no feedback for a week or two, and then decide to hire them. Not one yet.

If Mrs. Blue, Mr. White and Ms. Green could all be involved in one step – ensuring the candidate’s time is best spent being evaluated by the Company, and vice-versa - the chances of hiring the candidate they ultimately want is much greater.

Here is how this colorful Company could improve their interview process:

  • Mr. Brown (Hiring Manager), Ms. Green (Technical) and Mr. White (Cultural) conduct one hour to 90-min interview

  • Mrs. Blue spends 30 min with the candidate immediately following if the first interview goes well

  • Offer is extended, accepted and champagne flows

If a Company can establish who the real Decision-Makers are for each opening, have only them involved, along with the WHY for each step – that Company will continue to win in the market. Simply put, our best customers are the most decisive and clear around the WHY of their interview steps and do their darndest to have the fewest amount of WHY steps possible in the shortest amount of time.

These customers get their critical positions filled quickly and grow at the pace of their goals – which is the answer to their biggest WHY in the first place.

About the Author:

Mike Nicholas is the founder of Davis Laine, LLC, an expert advisory firm specializing in solving talent acquisition headaches through TA setup advisory, specialized recruiter skills training, contract recruiting and placement, and RPO Recruiting services.

For more helpful information, visit

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