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20th Sep, 2021

Scott Nevett
Scott Nevett
Job Title
Business Director

According to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, a poor hire at mid-manager level with a salary of £42,000 can cost your business more than £132,000. Therefore, the need to get it right first time is essential to saving your business money and reducing the burden on other members of staff who may be feeling the strain of additional work.

Conducting a second interview gives you more time to establish if the candidate is the right fit for your company and allows you to ‘test’ their abilities in a way you couldn’t at the first interview.

On the downside, extending the recruitment process could mean you risk losing them. Most active jobseekers will apply for multiple roles at once, so there is a possibility that they could receive another offer while going through a second interview stage.

Despite this, there are many scenarios where you may need/want to conduct a second interview, such as:

  • After an initial telephone interview to ask questions you have about the candidate’s CV prior to interviewing them

  • If the vacancy is a senior position the cost of hiring will be greater, therefore a lengthier process is needed to reduce the risk and ensure you have full confidence in the skills and ability of the professionals you are interviewing

  • For a candidate to complete and report back on a task that was set in their first interview

  • Where you were short on time in the first interview and need longer to gain an insight into the candidate

  • When struggling to shortlist your candidates after the initial interviews

  • Wanting to obtain multiple opinions on the interviewee, especially if they are going to be working with multiple stakeholders across the business

How do you limit the risk of your perfect candidate dropping out?

The average recruitment process, from advertising a job to making an offer, can take around 26 days, so if yours is much longer than this, then the chance of dropouts will increase. This does vary between industries and seniorities, but if you find yourself losing out on top talent regularly, then you should consider the below strategies to limit the risk:

Keep the candidate engaged

In an ideal world, telling a candidate that you would like them to come in for a second interview should be a positive sign, and keep them engaged enough that they continue through the interview process. However, this might not always be the case.

Firstly, as soon as you invite someone in for an interview, make sure you communicate how many stages are required and give a rough timescale for how long this should take. A common frustration among jobseekers is businesses not communicating what is expected of them prior to the interview.

Where possible, try to schedule the second interview within a week of the first. That way, the candidate has enough time to prepare, while not losing interest. Additionally, the memory of the first interview will still be fresh in your mind.

In the time between the first and second interview, make sure you keep in contact with the candidate. Point them in the direction of your website or remind them about the excellent benefits you offer - although try not to make this a sales pitch! – whatever it is you send, make sure you remain in contact and keep your business in the forefront of their mind.

Make the most out of the second interview

The second interview allows you to delve deeper into your next potential employees' skills and attributes, and ultimately their ability to do the job – so avoid making the second interview a repeat of the first.

It’s essential to ask the right questions to make sure that your potential hire is the perfect fit for your team and company. If you conducted a competency-based interview initially and have a good grasp of their capabilities, perhaps for the second interview you could set them a task to see how they would cope day-to-day in the role. Alternatively, if you had an initial informal one-to-one interview to see if they are the right cultural fit for your business, the second interview could take the form of a panel interview to see how they will interact with other stakeholders.

Our blog ‘Second interview questions to ask candidates’ is a great way to get inspired on what questions to ask at this stage of the process.

So, in a nutshell, while a second interview can minimise your risk of hiring the wrong person, you need to ensure that candidates remain engaged throughout the process to reduce the chance of them receiving another offer and you missing out on the best professional for the job. In the current market it’s vital you act fast and secure the right talent to assist your business, rather than let it slip through your fingers and into the hands of a competitor.

If you are looking for the next top professional for your business, get in touch with one of our expert consultants today.