How Many Candidates Are Enough to Decide Your Next Steps?

When is enough, enough? In the search for good talent in a tight job market, how will you know your candidate funnel is full enough? When is it time to stop taking new resumes, concentrate on interviewing and hopefully, negotiate an offer?

The answer is: It depends.

When Do You Need to Hire?

Ask the hiring team how quickly candidates need to come through the pipeline, and of course, how many roles are being filled. Another question is how in-demand are the skills you’re looking for? .NET developers are very hot right now in many markets; the number of candidates in the talent funnel may be dictated by the fact that there just aren’t that many programmers on the market right now.

How slow and drawn out is the hiring process? Forcing a candidate through more than four hoops that stretch out for weeks will pretty much guarantee the loss of that person. If your hiring process is too long, you need to change it. If you can’t, try to fill the funnel with seven to ten candidates going through the process. You’ll lose a few to attrition – the longer your process, the more likely they’ll be poached by your competitor.

Another question to consider is would you prefer to interview everyone who is suitable for the role? That way, you can compare skill sets. The problem is that interviewing takes extraordinary amounts of time and energy. If you’re working with a hiring team from multiple departments, sometimes the more candidates you get, the more difficult it becomes to make a decision.

It’s a good idea to run the hiring process in stages, especially if you’re trying to fill multiple roles. For small organizations that don’t have a large hiring team, this is a smart way to control a big process, especially if you don’t have automation tools from an applicant tracking system as part of your hiring workflow. So, screening applications to get to three to five candidates for round one is a good way to handle it.

This process will flow more smoothly if the interviewers have a template for questions, scoring candidates, and note-taking. Otherwise, there is no historical record down the road of candidates you’ve already talked with. If you’ve discarded a candidate as inappropriate and they apply again, you don’t want to waste time putting them through a screening process. So, try to keep the process organized by taking notes.

Tips From the Pros

One thing to keep in mind is you really only need to interview one candidate. If they’re the right candidate, there’s no reason to prolong your efforts and waste time because you’ve set an arbitrary number as your interview goal. The experienced talent manager knows that sometimes it’s okay to trust your gut. Sometimes you really can get lucky on the first try.

Talk to the team at Blackstone Talent Group about other ways you can improve your hiring process. We’re available to help you establish and maintain the perfect candidate funnel that will fill as quickly as you need it. Contact us for more details.

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