Statistics are like opinions. They’re everywhere. They can often be selectively cited, quoted out of context, or plain misunderstood. This is one of the big problems with them—they can have unwarranted impact. As far as the world of interviews is concerned, it can be replete with stats, and not all interview statistics are applied wisely. 

In this piece, we’ll look at several of the most significant interview statistics, and we’ll quote them straight. No interpretation, no agenda. Just the facts.

How many people interview for one job (and how long does it all take)?

So, here’s the first of our interview statistics. How many candidates would you say, going with your gut? About five or six or so? Good call. Employers interview an average of seven candidates per available position. 

In terms of actual number of interviews carried out, the global figure averages out at 17 per vacancy. This covers all the multi-stage interviews that might required for a particular position. 

As for total interviewer time, this amounts to a significant chunk. Each interview tends to last between 45 and 90 minutes. 

Incidentally, this is for in-person interviews. Video interviews, perhaps involving secure remote access solutions like RealVNC, can take between 15 to 90. 

So, for in-person interviews, you’re looking at up to 23 hours per interviewer for each position.

Different jobs

The total time spent will depend on the nature of the position. Between hiring a professor or a waiter, which would you expect would take the longest? 

Yes, the professor position. Well done. But the difference is probably larger than you might think, according to research by Glassdoor. For the professor, the average time taken in hiring is 60.3 days. Most of this is down to the multiple-stage interviews that are necessary for a job of this nature. 

The waiter? The average time taken over hiring one of these is somewhat shorter, at eight days.

Candidate preparation

Regardless of trends and developments in recruiting, we can assume that candidates take time to prepare for their interview. This would make sense—they’ve made it through the first selection stage, so they don’t want to blow their chance by messing up at the interview stage. 

The data from JDP bears this out. The average amount of time a candidate spends researching a company they are interviewing for a position with is seven hours. Obviously, going back to our professor and waiter, the professor is likely to spend a great deal more time looking into the work of the faculty than the waiter will look into ingredient provenance. 

But the truth is, whatever the job, the candidate should do some prep work. If they’re applying to work in a contact center, for instance, they should certainly know something about call center cloud software. That’s just common sense. 

Here’s an interesting additional stat. JDP respondents were asked how much they might be happy to spend in order to get an interview for their dream job (not a guaranteed job offer). How much? A thumping $1252. As we just said, working for the right company is hugely important, and doing your dream job within it is eminently desirable, so much so that people are willing to pay big money just for the chance. 

First impressions

It’s often bandied about that job interviewers make their minds up about a candidate within a matter of minutes. This would certainly appear to be the case—historical studies have backed it up. It’s unfortunate that this kind of appearance bias will outweigh the importance of what the candidate actually says, so it impacts the validity of the whole process. 

One study found that it’s mainly in the area of untrained interviewers that the problem lies. Their appraisals of a candidate after three minutes were recorded, and then again after a full interview. The appraisals stayed the same with a correlation value of 0.49 (which is right on the cusp between medium and strong correlation). 

What does this mean? Does it mean that these untrained interviewers were just innately good at summing somebody up within the first three minutes? Unlikely. It’s more likely to mean that their first impression—based on probably irrational factors—went on to color their final judgment.  

So, training interviewers is key so that they base decisions on the answers to strategic questions

Also, it’s a good idea to try out something job-related, like asking a candidate to read out a sales call script in the manner they would adopt if doing it for real. These technical tests can show a lot about a candidate’s actual potential, especially if nerves are a factor.

Skin in the game

What kind of thing can be especially influential in terms of affecting job success chances? Well, one factor that continues to feature, despite their growing prevalence at large, is tattoos. 76% of surveyed respondents reckon that having a tattoo reduces a candidate’s chances of getting a job. 

We don’t have data to tell us what the impact of having, say, the best power dialer logo on your arm is if you’re going for that contact center job. In any case, the best bet is probably to cover up if possible.

Impressions aren’t just one-way

Job seekers can quite often be bags of self-doubt. It’s been found that they can lose confidence after five rejections. What this means is that you may have in front of you the perfect candidate for your position, but they don’t do themselves justice because the interview process is overly intimidating. 

Companies that care about employee and candidate well-being end up with happier employees. This stands to reason. It’s also one of the central tenets of HCM.

What does HCM stand for? It stands for human capital management, which emphasizes employee experience and development. 

So, why not herald your company’s adherence to employee well-being and HCM during the interview process? 

Interview statistics—be selective

The thing with interview statistics is that there are numerous ones out there, but they can be a little long in the tooth. Or they can suffer from the internet-as-echo-chamber scenario, wherein unsubstantiated claims get repeated until accepted as fact. What we’ve done here is to include only stats that are well-researched and that are recent enough to be valid. 

So, we can confidently say that it can take a long time to find the right candidate via interview. We can also say that candidates tend to put in the prep work beforehand. And first impressions are all too important. Now, go out there and find the perfect hire!