Have you ever been part of an interview process that went on forever? You know, when there was always just one more step, just one more test, or just one more person who just had to be included at the last minute?

When you are the candidate, and an employer suddenly introduces several new steps in the hiring sequence, you are bound to wonder why. You switch from a mental state of “They love me, I’m a perfect fit, this is going well!” into a state of “What’s wrong here? Why can’t they decide? Are they just trying to find fault with me? What will they ask me to to do next, hop on one foot while reciting the Constitution?”

Effective interviewing is an exercise in risk management. You want to be rigorous about verifying a candidate’s ability to to the work. You want to follow a fair and methodical process … but you also want to be sure you don’t cross the line into analysis paralysis. When you surprise a candidate by introducing new steps into the interview process, you are not reducing your hiring risk, you are actually increasing it.

When you needlessly create doubt in the mind of the person you want to hire, you are either getting your employment relationship off to a bad start, or worse, you might not start a relationship at all (if your  job offer is rejected).

Don’t ever forget the lessons learned in the third grade school yard. If someone starts thinking you don’t like them, they will soon find a reason not to like you.

If you want to stop wasting your time on the irrelevant, superficial aspects of interviewing, and start understanding the deeper elements that predict the success of your new hires, read our post on How to Conduct a Job Interview so Top Performers Actually Want to Take Your Job.  Or, if you prefer your research and information to be more attractively formatted, just download our Employer Guide to Interviewing.

Of course, interviews are only one component of a great hiring process, our Resource Center has additional topics you might find helpful:

  • How to Write Job Descriptions to Attract Great Candidates
  • How to Handle Glassdoor Reviews
  • How to make your Hiring Process More Certain, Predictable and Consistent
  • How to Evaluate Your Own Hiring Process
  • How to Replace Underperforming Employees

Disclaimer: This advice is primarily for professional hiring in a large metropolitan area. Our perspective is shaped by our work in a retained executive search firm, conducting searches for CEO and senior staff positions. We’ve completed over 600 searches for associations and other nonprofits in major metropolitan areas like Washington DC, New York, and Chicago, but not all of our advice will be relevant if you are interviewing for other types of positions in other job markets.