The Perfect Number to Interview Mastery


What is the typical process for hiring at your company? While most companies conduct several rounds of interviews with senior executives, junior positions require as little as one meeting. Per standard practice, most positions fall somewhere in the middle. What is the “perfect number?” Where is the line between too few screenings and interview overkill?

  • Round #1

An interview process is a dance — much like dating — in which both parties want to appear their best and carefully reveal more of themselves with each meeting. The first step in determining interest is a first date. The first job interview is just as much of a meet and greet — you’re both figuring each other out, trying to look your best, and eager to be impressed. The primary objective of this most basic stage is to review a candidate’s experience and test his or her basic social and etiquette skills. Interviewers can take advantage of a wealth of information online about how to conduct a successful first-round interview.

  • Round #2

Moving to a second round — like a second date — expresses that both parties are interested enough to take things to the next level. In the second interview, you’ll spend more time on specifics. For example, on the first date, your partner may have mentioned in passing that he or she traveled Europe. On a second date, you want more information: What was the best part of the trip? What did he or she learn? Similarly, the second round of interviews gets into the details about a candidate’s skills and how he or she has been shaped by prior job experience. Both parties start to reveal what they’ll bring to the table if things continue to develop, with the employer giving more job details while the candidate speaks to the strengths he or she will contribute. At this stage, no one is “in love” yet, but some definite interest may be developing.

  • Round #3 and beyond

If both parties see the potential for a long-term relationship, a third interview is in order if the employer still needs information. While the dating dance may continue indefinitely, there comes a point with interviews when it’s time to decide. Too many interviews burn out both parties. To be most effective, the rounds of interviews should include HR personnel, recruiters, senior managers, and fellow team members so more minds can expedite the process. More than three meetings is usually considered too many.

In the screening process, similar to the early stages of dating, both sides need several meetings before they can truly relax and begin to reveal their true colors. Several interviews allow employers to drill down on the nitty-gritty with a candidate instead of floating on the surface. These interviews provide a critical time to get to know a recruit and determine if he or she has a place in the organization. However, more than three interviews drags the process and is typically unnecessary. If your company usually conducts more than three rounds, ask yourself how you can streamline the process, be more efficient, and draw the line at a number of meetings comfortable for both parties.

Alisiana Peters

Author: Alisiana Peters

Alisiana is a senior marketing coordinator at HiringThing, an award-winning online recruiting software provider dedicated to changing the way businesses hire talent. Questions? Contact HiringThing Marketing.