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How Many Interviews Is Too Many?

My daughter recently went through the process of interviewing for a new job. Being a recruiter as well as Dad, I got the inside scoop of each step of this company’s LONG process, and got to see an up-close view of what a candidate sometimes goes through in order to land a job. They told her upfront that she would be meeting separately with 7-8 members of their team (all remotely) for about 30 minutes each. Starting with an in-house recruiter, they had her talk to people from the department she would be working in, as well as other staff members from other departments. After this lengthy process that took about 4 weeks, she was told there would be “just a couple more meetings”, and then they went into the offer process. Thankfully, she got the job, but it made me think a lot about the interview process. So, in this blog I look at the different types of interviews and some thoughts on how many there should be. My findings are below. I hope you find them helpful! I will write more on interviews in an upcoming post, so keep an eye out for that one coming soon.

TYPES OF INTERVIEWS- here are a few of the different types of interviews that job candidates can expect to go through, according to Indeed.

· Phone Screen-Most companies or recruiters conduct a phone screen as a first interview. Some are done by phone, and some over video call. This allows the company or recruiter to do a macro level basic screening of you. I usually ask general questions on these calls, getting to know the personality of the person as well as their experience and knowledge related to the position they have applied for. If on video, I can also assess the way they present themselves, if they dress appropriately, make eye contact, ask intelligent questions, etc. If the person seems to be a fit, they will move forward to speak with other members of the hiring team.

· Behavioral Interview- Behavioral interviews are a type of interview style used to predict how your past behavior may affect your performance at a new job. Interviewers may ask you to tell stories or give examples of how you've overcome challenges, successfully solved a problem, resolved a situation with a coworker or other items that may help them determine your personality, skills and work ethic.

· Case Interview- Case interviews are a type of interview style that incorporate hypothetical scenarios. Hiring managers may give you a fictional challenge and ask how you would handle the situation. This interview style is common for roles that value problem-solving skills and analytical ability such as management and investment banking.

· Competency Based Interview- Competency-based interviews, also known as job-specific interviews, are a type of interview style that encourages you to give examples of specific skills required for a position. Hiring managers may ask you to tell stories, show a portfolio or complete a practicum test or assignment.

· Unstructured Interview- Unstructured interview style uses an outline rather than a template of questions to move through an interview. Hiring managers may start with a few general questions but then move further into the interview guided by the candidate's responses. This is a very conversational style, and tends to put candidates at ease, and more candid than they may be in for formal styles.

· Group Interview- Companies may hold group interviews for the convenience of hiring managers or candidates. Group interviews may include one candidate and a panel of interviewers, allowing them all to assess the candidate and discuss their impressions. Or, it may be a few members of the team with multiple candidates for the same role. This saves the time of one-on-one interviews with candidates who may not measure up to others.

· Off-Site Interview- Some companies use an off-site interview to allow them to talk with a candidate in a more relaxed setting than in the office. A coffee shop or restaurant are good places for these meetings as it allows the interviewer to assess the personality of the person in more of a real-world environment.

· Final Interview-This is the one you are hoping to get to, obviously! Final interviews are the last interviews you complete before a job offer. They may combine with another interview type, depending on how the company structures their hiring process. You may have your final interview with a member of upper-level management or the company CEO, or the hiring manager you would be reporting to. These interviews often include a verbal job offer, or at the very least a pretty good understanding of whether you will receive one or not.


The data out there varies greatly on this. While some companies seem to totally over-do it and have you talk to everyone from the receptionist to the CEO, others are really streamlined and only have candidates talk to 1-2 people before getting an offer. Both extremes can cause angst for a candidate, and make them wonder if the organization they are looking to join is the right one for them. Sometimes, it is dependent on the size of the company and the number of layers they have. For instance, if a company is large with let’s say thousands of employees, they may have you talk department heads from several areas to get a consensus on a candidate. But smaller companies with fewer employees may simply not have the manpower to involve more than a few people in the process. So, after doing a good amount of research on the subject, including wonderful articles in The Wall Street Journal, NPR, and SLATE here is what I feel is an appropriate number of interviews before an offer is given to the top candidate. This is of course subjective, and only my opinion. But hey, this is my blog! Ha.

Any more than 4 interviews seems to be a waste of precious tome and resources. Here is how an ideal interview process should look;

1. The first interview should be a screening Call or Zoom conducted by an internal or external recruiter, or HR Generalist. In about 30 minutes, the screener should be able to get a really good feel for the candidate’s experience, personality, and how they would fit into the company’s corporate culture. In my experience, only about 1 in 10 people who get a screening interview will make it to the second round.

2. The hiring manager should be interview #2. This is really the most important interview, as this is the person who will supervise the new employee on a daily basis. In this interview, which usually lasts 45-90 minutes, the hiring manger does a much deeper dive into the candidates experience, asking very specific questions and looking for data and examples to back up the answers given. They are also assessing personality, culture fit, and overall likability. Sometimes we spend more time with work colleagues than our own family, so there has to be a good connection there along with the need for the hard skills and experience.

3. A day in the office to meet the team should be interview #3. As stated above, this is really crucial not only from a skills perspective, but a personality one. I cannot tell you how many times one of my candidates has been golden on paper and through the hiring manger interview only to blow it when meeting the team! Most of the heavy lifting on experience and background has most likely been done in the hiring manager interview, so these meetings (which can be done as a group or separately) are really about seeing how the person fits with the other members of the team, and how they may compliment them.

4. Lastly, the test drive or case study is an excellent way to assess if a final candidate really has the chops for the position. Now, this should only be given to a finalist who is being strongly considered for the job, as it can be time consuming and a good amount of work, so ones time needs to be respected. This test drive is a real-world simulation that mirrors the actual work the candidate will be expected to perform in the organization. It's an opportunity for the candidate to show off their best work, and for the company to see how well they will perform their day-to-day duties and how well they will settle in with your company culture.

After that come the offer, negotiation, onboarding, and first day of a hopefully mutually beneficial work relationship!

Ron Milman is the Principal of Milman Search Group, a leading National Recruiting/Staffing/Coaching agency efficiently filling positions for companies across a wide variety of industries and specialties, and coaching career seekers. Check them out at or contact Ron directly at

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