Rejecting a candidate. What a waste of time.

A reject after an hour long interview? What a waste of time (and money)? Wait, that was the 2nd round of interview and 7 people interviewed him thus far. So, that’s ~7 person-hours of interviewing to reject a candidate. And, also there are costs associated with context switching & the number of candidates they had to interview to close a position.

So, hours spent taking interviews is not productive, especially when it is a reject from the hiring team. More so, it is damn costly w.r.t time/money.

There is no way we can avoid not spending the required time interviewing people, such things happen and will continue.

So, saving time by telling hiring managers to decide in 15 minutes, or restricting crucial team members from joining the interview process may turn out to be much more costlier. Well, for starters, 7 hours rejecting a candidate is cheaper than a wrong hire. A lot. Cheaper.

There isn’t much value in thinking about how NOT to spend so much time in the interview process. We’d rather want to think how interview time shouldn’t turn out to be a waste of time.

It’s not just about the few hours

In my experience of operating teams & startups, one is always pressed for time, and at the same time, one is also aware that hiring the right talent quickly is as crucial as finding the next paying customer because startups hire only when it hurts & not based on an FY manpower forecasts.

During the growth period, one might spend 80% of their time on hiring and 20% on operations. Hiring becomes a full-time job and day-to-day operations take a hit. OR, guys slog 18 hour days to keep up the momentum.

18 hour days, not fun for most (Hail Jason Fried way of operations)! And, many motivated guys feel that interviews are a necessary evil and end up not being involved in the process with the correct mindset.

Especially, when we are pressed for time and truck loads of work awaits us after the interview. The interviews may (unconsciously) seem like a disturbance to us.

So, here’s how you can make your interviews (interview time) effective.

Frame your interview questions effectively

The kind of questions you ask can help you make use of the interview discussion to move your startup operations forward as opposed to just using that time to make a hire/no-hire decision.

So, align the interview discussions in a way that it contributes to an ongoing (immediate) assignment.

As in, have the candidate brainstorm with you about a problem you are solving. Ask questions which you/your team is trying to answer for their ongoing work assignments.

All in all, interview becomes a brainstorming session for an ongoing assignment. Either the candidate helps us find an answer to our question, or at least we spend an hour realising something for ourselves about the problem.

Usually, in my experience, I learnt something new from every candidate for every assignment that I’ve discussed with them.

Try it, I wish you the best and hope that the time spent interviewing isn’t a waste of time going forward.

PS: This is all assuming, we are doing the basics right, as in, things like hiring friends/family/reference who we know are fit for the job etc. My guess is most of us would still find that the right talent needs to be meticulously sourced.

PS: A fun fact; Google used to or still does 4–7 rounds of interviews to hire right. Another fun fact, startups not equal to Google.

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