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2019 Talent Benchmarks: The Interviewing Statistics

Interviewing Benchmarks

Interviews are a notoriously difficult part of the hiring process to maneuver. The candidates are nervous and can get exhausted with long interviews, too many onsites, and a needlessly complex process.

Meanwhile, recruiters and hiring managers have to handle scheduling and all the frustration that comes with it. Bringing in candidate after candidate over a course of a few months for complex panel interviews isn’t just fatiguing. It’s a huge inefficiency that limits your ability to bring in the best talent for your business. 

In Part 3 of our Talent Benchmarks series, we’ll dive into the statistics behind interviews to understand where inefficiencies occur and how to rectify them. Read on to learn what the data says about how to create an optimal interview process.

Know Your Conversion Rates

To start, every recruiter and talent leader should know their conversion rates when it comes to onsite interviews to offer. We found that approximately 30-40% of all onsite interviews should lead to an offer. If your conversion rate is higher than that, it might mean you’re handing out offers too easily. Conversely, if your offer rate is under that benchmark, it’s likely that you’re bringing in unqualified candidates for onsite interviews, which is a waste of everyone’s time.

Make the Most of Your (Limited) Time With Candidates

The next important statistic to know is how long the interview process should be. There are no hard and fast rules for this — and it varies greatly from one role to another — but our research at Lever showed that the average candidate spends approximately 3 hours interviewing. The average number of interviews, however, is 2.5 which is down from 4 in 2016.

That’s a lot of numbers to throw at you, but the key takeaway is this: you have to make the most of your time with candidates. 2.5 interviews is not very many, and 3 hours isn’t long enough to truly get to know someone.

We recommend you over prepare. Wasting time because an interviewer is disheveled and late raises a red flag for candidates, and it could make them reject what would have otherwise been an attractive offer.

It’s not enough to make sure interviewers come prepared with the candidate’s resume though. They should have a comprehensive interview kit that includes the candidate’s work history, background, role-specific feedback forms, and specific questions designed to reveal the candidate’s skills, ambitions, and personality.

Getting Granular With the DataInterviews to hired by role

Recruiters shouldn’t just have a handle on the top-line statistics. They should also know the role-by-role benchmarks. For instance, we found that engineers spend the most time interviewing (4 hours) while customer service candidates spend the least (just 1.8 hours). Recruiters should allocate time and set expectations accordingly.

Standardize Your Interview Process

Finally, companies need to keep track of how many interview stages they’re using. Our research shows that companies are using an average of nine stages. Simply put, that’s a lot. Instead of treating this as an average, we recommend companies strive to have no more than nine stages.

An arduous, weeks-long interview process is exhausting to even the most patient candidates. Companies should add only as many interview stages as absolutely necessary, and they should standardize those stages across the company to maintain consistency.

Interview Stages

Final Thoughts: Interviewing Statistics

Taken together, these statistics show that recruiters need to make the most of their precious time with candidates, and they need to create a lean and consistent interview process. To learn more, download the full report or request a demo and see how Lever can help streamline interviewing. Be sure to look out for Part 4 where we explore what the data says about hiring and offer letters.