How to Take the Pain Out of Scheduling Candidate Interviews

By Josh Tolan

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Believe it or not, there’s a right and wrong way to schedule interviews with job candidates -- especially when you consider the cost of a frustratingly slow hiring process.

A slow hiring process isn’t just annoying for all parties involved, it’s potentially damaging to an organization. The slower the process, the more likely job seekers will move on and the more damage your talent brand will face. And let’s not forget how it affects current employees by increasing their workload, decreasing morale, and reducing overall productivity. Ouch. 

Needless to say, there’s a need for speed. And going back and forth with candidates to schedule a time that suits everyone’s busy schedule only slows things down. To help you avoid a slow hiring process (and to avoid losing top talent to your competition), here are four things you’re doing wrong when scheduling interviews and what to do instead:


1. Squeezing in interviews

While squeezing in as many interviews into a single day as you can might make the interview process go by faster, it’s just not realistic -- nor is it productive. Just as interviewees are trying to sell themselves as the perfect job candidate, you need to sell the company as their employer of choice. And interviewing one candidate after another is bound to drain you of both energy and enthusiasm, which doesn’t make you or the company look good to candidates.

What to do instead: Space out interviews and schedule them during the time of day when you are on your A-game. For most people that tends to be mid-morning (after a much-needed morning caffeine fix), but do whatever works best for you and your candidate. Suggesting more than one time to candidates is a great way to ensure that the interview will take place during a time that you’re comfortable with.

One surefire way to avoid having to squeeze in interviews is to conduct one-way video interviews, in which candidates record their answers on their own time to a series of questions you pre-determined. Whether this method is used to screen candidates or to interview them, it avoids pesky scheduling conflicts for everyone involved.  


2. Playing tennis with candidates

We’ve all played that tedious game of tennis with candidates where we go back and forth trying to settle on a date and time that suits everyone. The longer the game lasts, the more likely you are to lose out on top-notch talent.

What to do instead: Put the ball in the candidate’s court. Scheduling tools like MeetMe.So allow candidates to book an appointment or, in this case, an interview with you without having to check with you for availability beforehand. The dates and times you’re available are already set on your calendar and candidates can pick multiple dates/times that work for them -- scheduling made easy.


3. Not budgeting enough time

When there’s too many candidates to see and too little time to see them, it can be tempting to keep a tight interview schedule. However, it’s always better to allow for more time and not need it than to budget a small amount of time and not have enough.

What to do instead: It can be hard to control the length of an interview because no two interviewees are the same. What’s more, job positions that require assessment testing, presentations, a company tour, and the like may need a little more time than your average 30-40 minutes. It’s always a good idea to play it safe and allocate ample time for each candidate.

By budgeting more time to spend with individual candidates, you’re not only able to focus more on them and less on the clock, but it also shows the person being interviewed that you value their time as much as your own.  


4. Being flaky with candidates

No one likes to be flaked on and you can bet job candidates won’t either. And yet, all too often, candidates receive emails requesting a raincheck. While there are some cases where rescheduling a job interview is unavoidable, it should be a last resort, as it doesn’t reflect well on you or the company.  

What to do instead: In order to create the best candidate experience possible, show candidates that you value their time. If an interview must be rescheduled for a later date, make sure to give the candidate more than just a day’s worth of advanced notice.

Like you, candidates have busy schedules and rescheduling at the last minute can make them feel less valued. So apologize for the inconvenience and suggest a more reasonable time to meet or ask them what date/time works best for them.


How else can hiring professionals schedule interviews more efficiently? Let us know in the comments below!

Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video interview solution used by more than 2,000 companies across the globe. Learn more about how video has changed and connect with Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.


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