Blog Swap Begins
June '06 Job Scene, National

The Single Most Important Interview Driver

This is the my first guest entry of the Blog Swap courtesy of Dennis Smith, Sr. Manager, Talent Acquisition for T-Mobile USA. I have become a big fan of Dennis and his blog.

Welcome Dennis…

I laughed when I read Paul’s post from June 29th . He said, “…if I were a professional juggler I would be fired. Of the eight balls that should be in the air five of them always seem to be on the ground.”

I can relate. Just when I think things can’t get any busier, a new project rolls around and makes last-week’s-wicked-schedule look like a cake-walk.

When we face this type of schedule things that we consider “important” oftentimes slip through the cracks. In the recruiting business, those “important” things tend to relate to people that we are recruiting, interviewing, or closing. And, unfortunately, those “important” things are often unforgiving in the competitive war for talent.

Experience shows that recruiters often lose site of one of the most important activities in the recruitment/selection process: managing the time of the interview process.

A 2003 New Hire Survey conducted by the Recruiting Roundtable,, provides strong insight, demonstrating that the way recruiters value candidate time, is the single most important interview driver. Check out the graph, Download the_single_most_important_interview_driver_graph.doc . Valuing a candidate’s time throughout the interview process is absolutely critical. By valuing a candidates time throughout the interview process, organizations dramatically improve the quality of hire by effectively selling the job during the interview.

The second thing to notice is that the other activities related to the timing of the interviewing process all have a relatively small impact on performance. For example, explaining the timeline of the process, providing a timely acknowledgement of receipt of the resume, and providing prompt feedback about the interview process only have a minimal impact on improving selection. These drivers might be important at improving candidate’s satisfaction with the interview process, but, individually, they are not decisive at dramatically impacting new hire performance.

Bottom-line? All of the little things that organizations do to make the candidate feel special are critical. However, if an organization is struggling in its ability to convert higher-quality candidates, it would behoove them to ask the hard question:

“Are my recruiting activities demonstrating to candidates the fact that I value their time throughout the entire interview process?”

It sounds like a no-brainer. With our backs against the wall, each of us would answer a resounding “yes!” However, having gone through the process a few dozen times, I know better. And, it reminds me of one of my favorite Teddy Roosevelt quotes,

“I have a perfect horror of words that are not backed up by deeds.”

Here’s to a first-class “candidate-experience.” May our words have the strong support of our deeds.

Dennis Smith

T-Mobile Recruiting


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