Employers spend less than an hour preparing for job interviews


As part of #TheElevatorPitch campaign, totaljobs has conducted extensive research to better understand how candidates and recruiters prepare and what they expect from the interview process.

In a survey of 8,600 candidates, and nearly 300 employers, we discovered that 1 in 3 candidates are spending over three hours preparing for each interview they have. As a result, 38% of employers agree that candidates are generally more prepared for interviews than they were five years ago.

While undoubtedly positive news for recruiters, this is slightly at odds with the fact that the majority (70%) of interviewers are spending under an hour to prepare, and in spite of this gap, only 9% believe that they should be spending more time preparing to screen and select their next hire.

The difference between the two is stark, as our research suggests that there is plenty more that employers can do, to not only give themselves the best chance of spotting the right candidate, but of providing candidates the best chance of succeeding in the first instance.

Interview preparation

Despite encouragement from employers that progress has been made, 1 in 5 candidates believe that they should be spending even more time on their preparation, suggesting that the onus remains on candidates to impress, even in a candidate-led market.

Employers seem to agree, telling us the top 5 areas that they feel candidates need to spend more time preparing on:

  1. Researching the company
  2. Planning questions to ask the employer
  3. Re-reading the job description
  4. Researching the industry
  5. Thinking of potential questions they’ll be asked and how they’ll respond

When it comes to employers’ preparation, interestingly, three-quarters admitted that they look at a candidate’s social media profiles before they meet them. While this could be to get an impression of their personality and what cultural fit they may be – it is also a form of vetting. Plus, when compared to the fact that only a third of candidates expect recruiters to check their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, there could be dangerous times ahead for some snap-happy candidates.

Interview feedback

Following the interview there is a clear disparity between candidate expectations and reality. Only 6% of candidates told us that they always receive feedback, with just 15% saying they receive it ‘most of the time’.

Consider this, with the fact that nearly all (95%) candidates state that they want to receive interview feedback, whether positive or negative, with 79% wishing to know mistakes that they made during the interview. This is inconsistent with their experiences, as 62% receive positive feedback while only 33% have received feedback on their mistakes.

Perhaps it’s time that employers and recruiters are more honest with candidates?

Of course, in a busy schedule, taking the time to deliver bad news can easily slip down the to-do list, but it can help candidates improve and hone their skills, which can only serve to benefit all parties, allowing for a cleaner process for years to come.

The good news for interviewers, who want to deliver feedback, is that candidates are largely receptive. Almost three-quarters tell us that their response is to apply feedback in future interview, while only 2% of candidates disregard it and just 12% will question it.

Do you give interview feedback? Let us know in comments below.

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