How many interviews are too many?

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When making any new hires, it can be hard to know what the perfect interview recipe is. Conduct too few interviews, and you may not be able to find out some crucial pieces of information. Conduct too many, and you risk shrinking the pool of candidates and missing out on the best talent.
 
So how many interviews are too many? Here we discuss what an ideal interview process should look like in a dealership to help you decide how best to structure the candidate assessment process for your next hire.

Why is it important to ‘get it right’?

It’s natural for candidates to drop off throughout the recruitment process. While it’s not currently as important with the large number of redundancies which has made it easier to find good candidates, as soon as the economy picks up again we’re likely to find ourselves in a similar situation to pre-Covid times.
 
Under normal circumstances where there are more jobs available than jobseekers, trying to get top talent over the line as quickly as you can is significantly more important.
 
The reality is that the best candidates rarely have too much difficulty finding a new role and they won’t be sitting on the market for too long.
 
Finding the right balance to find out what you most need to know about each candidate while keeping the process as short and sweet as possible could be the thing that helps you seal the deal with the top candidate before your competition does.

What type of interviews do most dealerships conduct?

While the process can vary between, say, a metropolitan car dealership and a rural farm machinery dealership, most dealerships tend to use a combination of the following types of interviews:
 
  • Phone (or video) interviews – Typically used as an initial screening tool, a quick 10-15 minute phone call with a prospective candidate can be a great way to gauge if you think it’s worth bringing them in for a face-to-face interview. Even if the recruitment agency has already done a pre-screening phone interview, it’s a good idea to also conduct one yourself as there might be a couple of candidates you can rule out quickly.

  • Face-to-face interviews – A face-to-face interview is your opportunity to go a bit more in depth with each candidate to find out more about their skills, experience, and career aspirations, and gain a real understanding of whether you think they might be a good fit for your dealership. It’s also your opportunity to sell your dealership to each candidate, so it’s important to put your best foot forward.

  • Meet-and-greet interviews – Some dealerships also choose to conduct meet-and-greet style interviews, where the preferred candidates are invited to come onsite to tour the facility and meet some of the key players or decision makers to see if it might be a good fit. This type of interview can be particularly helpful where relocation is involved, as the candidate will get a real experience of the town and lifestyle that will come with the job.

What’s the right number of interviews?

In our experience, where we see the most candidates drop out is when the process starts dragging out after multiple interviews. Not only is it tiring and time consuming, but candidates are likely to either accept a role elsewhere in the meantime or simply lose interest.
 

While the ideal number of interviews will change depending on the type of position you’re hiring for, there is a good structure that tends to work well for most roles:

  1. After receiving applications and screening resumes, develop a list of candidates you’d like to find out more about.
  2. Make a quick (10-15 minute) phone screening call to each candidate and invite anyone you’re interested in to attend a face-to-face interview.
  3. Conduct a face-to-face interview with each candidate, ensuring that all key decision makers are in attendance.
  4. Once you’ve identified the preferred candidate, you can decide if it’s necessary or appropriate to invite them to a meet-and-greet as a final check to see if they’ll make a good cultural fit.
In some cases where you’re struggling to set the top candidates apart, you may be tempted to conduct a second round of face-to-face interviews or conduct something extra like psychometric testing but ideally, it’s best to avoid it if you can.
howmanytoomany | Teamrecruit
A simple strategy to make your initial face-to-face interviews more effective is to ensure that the key people involved in the process are all involved and in attendance at each interview to ensure each assessment is based on the same interview.
 
We’ve also found the dealerships that conduct the most effective interviews are the ones that dedicate an entire day purely to the process. When all decision makers meet with each candidate together and on the same day, it makes it easier for the interviewing panel to bounce ideas off each other. There’s no risk of forgetting which candidate is which, and the entire panel can make a swift assessment of each candidate on the day of.
 
Some dealerships also have preferences about the order they interview candidates in. For example, some request to interview the strongest candidate last to ensure they don’t enter the following interviews with any level of bias or clouded judgement and make a fair assessment of each candidate.

When are more interviews needed?

In some cases, it can be beneficial to conduct extra interviews. It could be necessary because someone was sick on the day of the initial interview, or it could be because you need to make a more in-depth assessment of each candidate’s skills. For example, if you’re interviewing for a Diesel Mechanic, you may want to bring them onsite and ask them to solve a practical problem with a vehicle to see how well they perform.
 
Whatever the reason, the most valuable thing you can do is ensure that candidates are kept informed throughout the process to keep them eager and interested. It’s important to explain how the process will work from the get-go, giving them a general idea of what interviews you’re planning to conduct and what they’ll involve.
 
Similarly, if there’s a delay throughout the process, make sure you keep candidates in the loop so they don’t lose interest or start questioning the quality of their own performance.
 
With a little forethought and planning, it shouldn’t be too difficult to streamline the interview process used in your dealership to gain the insights you need while giving you the best chance of getting the top candidate across the line.
 
Teamrecruit is Australia’s most established recruitment agency specialising in truck, earthmoving and agricultural machinery dealerships in Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. Find out more about Teamrecruit and how we support employers and candidates in the dealership industry.

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