The Curse of “Over Interviewing”


It’s so frustrating. The first interview was perfect. We really liked each other. We called her back in – the second interview was even better. We really feel she could be the ideal person for the business. But then something happened. It kind of all fell flat.
Things dragged on. Are we sure she is the right person for us? Are better candidates available? I’m now on vacation – can she wait 2 weeks? Do we even need to make the hire in the first place? And then we get the call. She’s taken a job with another company. We were too slow. That’s a shame. Let’s start again.

“Over interviewing” is now a global epidemic. Vacancies are being kept unfilled for record times and thousands of hours are wasted by hiring managers a week on interviews that literally go nowhere. Studies show that up to 26% interviews result in no decision. (Interesting CareerBuilder article here:

Below are some reasons for why this happens and how we can prevent time being wasted in the interview process:


1) Hiring managers are not committed to hiring in the first place.

There is a big difference between wanting something and actually doing something. Every business wants to grow, but hardly any are agressive in doing so. Hiring managers should make sure that once they make a decision to recruit they are 100% committed. “Speculative” interviews should be avoided unless a candidate is really interesting and if a manager is prepared to act. Top performers are busy and don’t do things speculatively.


2) Hiring managers do not stick to a deadline.

Hiring someone is a big decision, in some cases even critical. And if you don’t have a deadline, it’s human nature to procrastinate. Business has deadlines in all other areas – sales targets, quarterly earnings, product releases etc. So why not for hiring? Arguably the most important deadline of all? The best hiring managers realise the need to work to a deadline. Otherwise, too often they end up hiring when they are desperate and months have passed.

3) Hiring managers do not prioritise hiring.

A manager’s biggest responsibility should be management. The great industrialist Andrew Carnegie understood this (Carnegie often joked that he knew very little about anything else other than how to manage people.) And hiring is a huge part of management, possibly the biggest responsibility any manager will have. Client meetings, Internal meetings, dealing with RFP’s, attending to shareholders etc is important, but not as important as managing your team. Hiring managers should always prioritise hiring and realise it is THE most important factor to their success.


4) Hiring Managers do not have a consistent hiring process.

Consistency can only be achieved through a reliable process. A process that is scalable and measurable. Hiring managers should always have a process that delivers high quality hires, and a quick period of time. Too often the hiring process is inadequate, inconsistent, or worst of all – there is no official process at all.


5) Hiring managers are not specific in what they want.

You can’t find something if you don’t know what you’re looking for. The worst thing hiring managers can do is to use non-specific terms such as “we’re open”, “we’re flexible” or “we want to hire top quality people”. Be specific. This will save time during the interview process and often causes hiring managers to think about what their needs really are. The best hiring managers are crystal clear in their requirments every time.


6) Hiring managers are afraid of making mistakes.

An interview process cannot predict the future. Nothing can predict the future. However hiring managers often worry by what could happen if something goes wrong? Will he leave quickly? How do we know he can really do the job? Let’s check that exeperience again? Will he fit into the team? Top performing managers realise that leadership is all about making big decisions. The more decisions you make, the better you will get. Top hiring managers act firmly and quickly and then move on to the next challenge.

7) Hiring managers often gather information from competitors.

The worst thing you can ever do as a hiring manager. This happens very regularly and most hiring managers believe it is actually OK to do this. In today’s increasingly connected world those who participate in this will not last long. Candidates will resent you and news will travel so quickly that your reputation will be damaged in no time.


8) Hiring managers are not decision makers.

Many hiring managers require approval from other departments or superior managers. Senior Executives, HR or Regional Managers can have a big say in the process but ony appear right at the end of the process where they have to assess the candidate in a few minutes and have no record of the previous interviews. In such cases hiring managers should either try and gain authority to make their own decisions, or involve the other decision makers right at the beginning of the process.


9) Hiring managers seek too much assurance.

There is nothing wrong with speaking to other colleagues, however the best hiring managers realise they need to make their own decisions. Hiring Managers who are too influenced on the decisons of others will have no opinion of their own, Care should be taken to not involve too many people in the process (rarely are more than 2 more people are ever needed) and to remember that not everyone can be kept 100% happy at all times.


10) Hiring managers meet too many candidates.

Professional data is now everywhere. We are spoilt for choice. You can buy databases of employee data for each of your competitors. You can quicky reference check them with people that you commonly know on professional networks such as LinkedIn. Generating candidates has never been easier. But with that comes a problem – wasting time. Top hiring managers realise there will always be another person who can tempt them. They stick with their process and are efficient with their time. They work with a skilled search firm to screen a good proportion of the market and then interview only the best candidates that are presented. They realise the importance of Focus and that often too much information and too many options can be a distraction to gettting the job done.


11) Hiring managers do not realise their interview process is their reputation.

As a hiring manager you are selling to the market. Candidates are being approached more than ever before and they are spoilt for choice. You are being judged every single time a new candidate meets you. They are assessing you. And people talk. As a hiring manager you have to be efficient – this increases your reputation and will allow you to attract better people. No one will take you seriously if you lack consistency.


Unless hiring managers invest time and effort into learning, “over interviewing” will continue to rise. More data, more choice, more confusion. This all leads to time wasting and stress. Managers will struggle to attract the best talent in the market. And their performance will suffer.


The next time you interview someone; ask yourself….do I REALLY need to meet them again? :)


Jas Singh