Horizon Search Inc.
Finding the Talent You Need at the Pace You Demand

Interviewing: Have you perfected your timing?

The other day the local news did a story about “speed dating.” It seems some people are so busy, they need to cram a dozen mini-dates into one evening.

On the other hand – and I think this is more common – there are dates that never seem to end.  Remember those? You keep checking the time, hoping that you can bail out soon.

Both speed dating and dates that never end have the same problem: That magical “flow” is never established.

It’s the same with interviewing. It’s bad to rush the process, and it can be just as bad to draw it out too long. Let’s take a quick look at three important points and share a couple of tips along the way. The points are:

  • Pacing the interview process,
  • The number of interviews, and
  • Maintaining perspective during the process.

Just like Goldilocks found one bowl of porridge too hot, another too cold and finally one that was “just right,” the interview process must be designed and carried out so that it’s not too fast and not too slow. Excessive speed and extreme slowness both carry dangers that could prevent you from hiring the best candidate.

When candidates begin to engage your company for a position, they go into a data gathering mode. They are checking out the hard facts as well as the softer cultural and interpersonal attributes of the company. It takes some time to process all of this information and get comfortable with it.

The other extreme has its risks as well. When the process takes too long, candidates often lose interest. There can be a general souring.  Competing offers may come through, as well as a “sweetening of the pot” at the candidate’s current job.

Number of Interviews

Indecisiveness should be avoided. It often leads to a quest to find the “perfect” candidate. Experience tells us that none of us are perfect, so stringing out the process to find that one elusive person leads to exasperation for everyone involved.

When you go through too many candidates, you may find that your best choice has already accepted another position by the time you’re ready to hire.

TIP: Maintain contact with your second and third choices. Otherwise, you’ll have to “rekindle” the fire if your first choice becomes unavailable.


Not only do you need to keep your firm’s best interests in mind as you conduct the interview process, try to see the situation from the perspective of the candidates. Remember that their interest is the highest immediately after the interview. Also, know that the more enthusiastic you are about a candidate, the more enthusiastic he or she will be about you.

To get everyone into the comfort zone, work hard to make sure the candidate is pleased with the company, the position itself and coworkers. Don’t shy away from having follow-up conversations after the initial interview.

TIP: Often the last company to interview a candidate ends up making the hire. When you have strong candidates, see if you can get a sense of where they are in their job search. You might want to speed up your process.

If you keep these ideas and tips in mind, you should have success out on the candidate “dating scene.”