Improve Hiring Instantly… Simply Add An Interview Scheduling App (Seldom does a simple addition have such a measurable impact on your results)

Note that the lengthy back-and-forth of most interview scheduling is the longest hiring delay factor! 

Yes, using something as slow as a people-driven traditional interview scheduling process. Could, in some cases, lengthen the overall hiring process by up to 50%. And having an overly long time period to complete all interviews can frustrate your most valuable “in-demand” top/elite candidates.” In fact, Steve Jobs revealed their amazing value when he concluded that “elite talent was 25 times more valuable … than the average alternative.” 

However, these highly valuable candidates also have a low tolerance for bureaucracy and slow decision-making. So it’s true that your “elite top candidates” will be the first to drop out of your hiring process prematurely. In many cases, you will lose them before all of their interviews have even been scheduled.

Unfortunately, once a top/elite candidate has dropped out. That completely eliminates any possibility that this exceptional candidate can become your offered finalist. Losing a single top/elite candidate will cost your company multiple times whatever salary you would have paid them!

If You Don’t Believe That You Have A Significant Top Candidate Dropout Rate?

If you don’t believe that you are prematurely losing a significant percentage of your top candidates (perhaps because you haven’t measured it). Why not find out for sure? Before you start interviewing for your next open key job, make a list of your top five candidates. Then, after all of your interviews are completed, count the number that dropped out or ghosted you. As a final step, wait another month and survey each of those you lost to determine the direct impact of your slow hiring on their decision to drop out.

Understand Why Top/Elite Candidates Are Much More Likely To Dropout

It’s also important to note that an unnecessarily long “Time to Complete Interviews” (TCI) isn’t likely caused by the total number of interview hours that are required (because all interview hours combined are usually less than eight total). Instead, the delay is primarily caused by the unnecessary time the recruiter, each individual interviewer, and the candidate must spend on the back-and-forth communications regarding scheduling each of their interviews. And although the average candidate will tolerate almost any delay, there are many reasons why top/elite candidates are much more likely to drop out quickly. The four top reasons include the following:

  • They are intolerant of bureaucracy – Top candidates have a significantly lower tolerance for bureaucracy and anything that wastes their time. 
  • They expect to see technology used everywhere – Top candidates know there is a technology solution to interview scheduling. So to them, this wasted time indicates that this entire company doesn’t appreciate and value technology.
  • They take slow hiring as a signal of slow decision-making – They often conclude that these preventable delays in hiring decision-making are likely indicators of slow decision-making throughout your organization.
  • Other offers are likely to come in first – Being in high demand, your top candidates will likely receive and then accept an “on-the-table offer” from another organization that completes its hiring process faster, appearing to be more decisive than yours. 

Fortunately, the costs and the problem areas created by unnecessarily slow interview scheduling have already been researched. And one study revealed the three biggest challenges that online interview scheduling could help solve. 1) interviewer availability (78%), 2) back-and-forth emails (64%), and 3) rescheduling (50%). Fortunately, most of the currently available apps address each of these major interview scheduling problem areas.

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The Many Benefits… From Using Online Interview Scheduling

Fortunately, most of the available online interview scheduling applications have been around for a while and are completely developed. Unlike many other recruiting technologies, these scheduling apps will begin producing results immediately, and users can expect to experience few downsides with them. The many benefits of adopting this technology include:

  • It will improve your hiring results – This, of course, is the most important value add. If you monitor the loss of top candidates during your interview process, you will find that top candidates are much harder to schedule for interviews. Because they are likely working full-time, and they also probably have multiple recruiters trying to schedule interviews with them during the same time period. By adding mostly automated scheduling, you will save each valuable candidate a measurable amount of time. And that will result in a measurable reduction in their costly dropout rate. And with fewer top candidate dropouts and a data-driven effective interview process. Your overall hiring results will invariably improve.
  • The app will work right away – Many of these scheduling apps have been on the market for a good period of time. In fact, my colleague Kevin Wheeler has been recommending them as far back as 2001. So if you choose wisely, this app will work right away, and you won’t encounter any major implementation issues with it. 
  • It will free up valuable recruiter time – Under the Typical Scheduling Process. Recruiters and RCs spend many hours of busy work time on the administrative aspects of interview scheduling. This valuable time can now be shifted to other activities that have a much higher ROI (like diversity recruiting).
  • Some apps are free, and most are inexpensive – There are a variety of available low-cost interview scheduling apps, including some basic free ones. And you may already have an installed app (like Google and Outlook). With a little more work, they have calendar and scheduling features that can provide you with some of the basic functions you need.
  • Candidates will see the app as a differentiator for your company – Although more corporations are adopting them every day, the use of this technology may impress some of your candidates (and the lack will definitely frustrate your top technology-oriented candidates).
  • You can expect almost no candidate resistance – Because almost every professional candidate will already be familiar with some type of calendaring and scheduling software. Most candidates will welcome having the opportunity to use them.
  • Using them will improve your employer brand – Because some candidate feedback sites like Glassdoor include candidate ratings of your interview process. This automation will lead to fewer negative reviews about your interview process and overall external employer brand. Therefore, your future hiring may improve because of your use of this technology.
  • They give the candidate some control, which improves their candidate experience – Because, from a candidate’s perspective, most traditional scheduling interview processes are pretty much “take it or leave it.” Giving the candidate some control over their own interview scheduling and the ability to cancel an interview will likely improve their candidate experience. 
  • Many of these apps will provide you with data – Almost all of these apps have usage and performance metrics attached to them, so you can easily check on their effectiveness.

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Selecting The Right Interview Scheduling App (that has the right high-impact features)

I personally avoid making recommendations for the right app in every area of recruiting. However, you can easily find a list of the top recommended apps that have been put together by other “neutral parties.” With a simple Google search on “a ranking of interview scheduling apps” (click here for a sample list). You can find many different lists of recommendations.

As part of your search, I recommend that you focus on identifying and fully understanding the available product features that the best apps and their vendors offer. These available features are below, with the most popular ones appearing early on the list.

  • Automated scheduling – The app accesses the manager’s real-time calendar to find available interview slots. And then, the app automatically offers them to the candidate. 
  • Interviewer selection and matching – Apps with this feature help uncertain hiring managers select the best panel interviewers for each interview. Based on each interviewer’s role, interests, and skills. Then the appropriate interviewers can be automatically “matched” with each candidate.
  • You can schedule interviewers for panel interviews – When multiple interviewers will participate. This feature accesses the online calendars of all selected interviewers at the same time. And then, the opportune interview times (when all can participate) are offered to the candidate.
  • Interview canceling or rescheduling – This is a frequent need. So this feature allows a candidate (online) to cancel or reschedule any upcoming interview easily. Because this feature does not require personal contact, its availability may reduce candidate ghosting.
  • Availability time preferences can be set – You can set your own personal limitation parameters. Like limiting the number of interviews per day, setting aside interview-free days, and scheduling breaks between back-to-back interviews. Some apps even offer a “required notice period,” which prevents a candidate from scheduling their interview at the very last minute. 
  • Event reminders are automatically sent out – Most apps allow you to send all parties notifications and reminders of upcoming interviews. These reminders can be sent on their favorite channel in order to reduce no-shows.
  • There are multiple ways to communicate with the candidate – Almost all apps make it easy to communicate with your interviewees continually. Some platforms offer multiple communication options, including chat, call, video, or text with candidates. 
  • These scheduling apps integrate with popular software – The best apps can be easily integrated with other software that you currently use in recruiting. Including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Workday, LinkedIn, and Slack. As well as remote video interviewing applications and, of course, email. 
  • Candidate feedback is provided – Some apps actively solicit candidate feedback about their interview process. And then, it is automatically provided to the recruiter or hiring manager.
  • International recruiting features – Some of the most popular international recruiting apps offer automatic time zone adjustments to prevent missing interviews due to having parties located in different time zones. Many apps also offer services in a number of languages.
  • Fully automated initial interviews are a time-saving option – What may seem like an obscure feature is actually one of the biggest timesavers in interview scheduling. This feature allows the hiring manager or recruiter the opportunity to offer “fully automated interviews” (e.g., HireVue), which is where no live interviewers are present during a recorded (usually initial) remote video interview. This practice dramatically speeds up initial interviews because there is no need to schedule an interviewer (their portion of the interview has been recorded in advance). So, the candidate can literally conduct their automated interview whenever they want. This speeds up the scheduling and the interview process. Interviewees can choose to conduct their interview during their first available lunch break or their first free hour after work. An additional benefit is that many more candidates can be offered an initial interview because they are automated.
  • Booking meeting rooms – (for large organizations). The ability to book meeting rooms for on-site interviews at your facility is a major plus.
  • Team polling capability – Under this feature, the entire interview team can be polled on different issues, including the best times for a team meeting.
  • Security protection – All apps offer some level of data security. And some even offer encryption.
  • A scheduling button that you can place –  Some offer a “go immediately to scheduling” button. An active link that a company can choose to place on its own website or in any of your recruiting messages. To make it exceptionally easy for a candidate to accept and then schedule an interview quickly.
  • Interview analytics – All of the larger tools provide you with data covering scheduling performance. Some also provide data on diversity representation (interviewers and candidates) as well as candidate satisfaction.

Some individual vendors offer these valuable features

  • Individual recruiters and companies can purchase these apps – Many packages have purchase options for both individual recruiters, as well as entire recruiting teams.
  • The vendor allows for a trial run – The best vendors offer you an opportunity to try out their product with no risk before you make a final purchase decision.
  • White glove service support – The vendor that you select should have an established online track record of superior customer service and product support. The vendor should also be financially stable so that you don’t lose any of your data if they were to go under.

A Handful Of Simple (Non-Software) Actions To Speed Up Interview Completion

In addition to using interview scheduling software, there are some non-technology, highly intuitive interview process design actions for recruiters and hiring managers to take. They can reduce the total time required to complete all of your interviews for an open job.

  • Offer some interviews at night or on weekends – Obviously, scheduling your interviews when your top candidates are most available will shorten your “Time to Complete Interviews.” And because most top/elite candidates are currently fully employed. Their most available time slots are likely to be outside of normal work hours. Also, scheduling interviews after work hours or on weekends often provides them with more childcare options. And as an added bonus, they won’t need to fib to their boss about why they were not at work each time that they were really off interviewing. On the hiring manager’s side, because they have no meetings and fewer business conflicts outside of normal work hours, if they are motivated, they, too, can be more easily scheduled for interviews outside of work hours. 
  • Offer alternative interview locations that are close to where they live and work – traveling to the company’s office in a big city may be both difficult and time-consuming for the candidate. So moving some interviews to locations that are more convenient to the candidate is often a good idea. For example, in big cities where most professionals live in the suburbs, consider holding at least preliminary interviews at a suburban hotel or even in a private room at a mall restaurant. Even consider holding interviews in any quiet place close to popular mass transit exits. Yes, relocating interviews may be inconvenient for your managers (although they might also live in the suburbs). However, you’ll likely get much quicker interview scheduling this way (especially among employed top candidates). And if you combine this more convenient location with night and weekend interviews. You will complete all of your interviews even faster.
  • Complete all interviews during a single day One of the aspects of interviewing that frustrates candidates the most is the “multiple callbacks” for second, third, and even fourth interviews. A superior approach is to stuff all interviews for a candidate into a single calendar day. For example, several healthcare facilities that I have worked with have instituted a “single-day interview rule.” This allows managers to hold as many interviews as they want as long as all of the interviews for a candidate are completed on the same day. This same-day practice is already standard for visiting recent college grads but also works for experienced hires. Not only does it force managers to be more decisive. But it also demonstrates to the candidate that your organization has the ability to decide quickly (something that top candidates will expect after they accept a job).
  • Set aside “Interview Friday” to increase hiring manager availability – Because manager availability is the top problem in interview scheduling (78 % cite it). Some firms have found a way to make hiring managers set aside more time for interviews. They do that by setting aside a designated day each week (interview day) each hiring manager must keep open for scheduled interviews. Under today’s hybrid work model, I recommend that that day be a Monday or a Friday. This might seem harsh at first, but once hiring managers see its impact on reducing the Time to Complete Interviews. Most of the initial complaints will subside. 
  • Minimize travel difficulties by reducing the number of “face-to-face” interviews At least for preliminary interviews. It’s important to limit the number of times an employed candidate must be absent from their work in order to be physically present at interviews. Obviously, many of the traveling and scheduling difficulties would decrease if more interviews could be held remotely. You can best accomplish that by offering telephone interviews for the initial interviews. And if your top candidates are technology savvy, you should offer more “remote live video interview” options. Removing their travel difficulties will also have another benefit. It will increase the number of top candidates who initially agree to participate in your interview process. 
  • Reduce unnecessary interviews – Many hiring managers and recruiters hold an excess of interviews. Based on the quality assumption that more interviews result in better hires. Fortunately, Google’s “rule of four” research revealed that the accuracy of their overall candidate assessment didn’t improve significantly after completing four interviews. 

Final Thoughts

Online interview scheduling is a low-cost and easy-to-implement tool. It is proven to work right away, unlike most recruiting technology offered to recruiting managers today. So using it will quickly reduce your time to complete all interviews. It will measurably reduce the premature loss of many of your top/elite candidates. And limiting those premature losses will then measurably improve your hiring results. In my opinion, potential users of this app should realize that online interview scheduling is probably the lowest-cost recruiting technology with the highest instant impact on your hiring results. This tool is now an even better choice because today, the app is now offered by a wide variety of credible vendors. Also, so many vendors now offer potential users the opportunity for a free trial run. So if you’re not a current user, why not try one out this week? And after it works as I have predicted, tell all your friends.

Author’s Note

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About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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