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Who's Interviewing Who? A Counterintuitive Approach to the Hiring Process

How making an offer in the phone-screen phase can increase the number of people you interview and improve retention
Collie King

This is the first in a five-part series on the pre-hire process in high-turnover industries. Our data comes primarily from helping post over 1,000,000 jobs in the building services, janitorial, and security industries.

With most of the businesses we work with, the pre-hire phase almost universally goes something like this:

  1. Post the job
  2. Generate Applications
  3. Phone Screening
  4. In-Person Interview
  5. Offer
  6. On-Boarding

When we look at the percentages of applicants who move between stages 3 and 6, we see some startling statistics that indicate major flaws in the process. Through the help of our partner clients, we have identified the ideal strategy to solve the problem.

Interview No-Shows

Our data shows that in a company hiring low-skilled employees, only 50% of candidates who accept an in-person interview during the phone screening stage ever actually show up to the in-person interview.

Why is this?

First, saying “Yes” is the path of least resistance. If somebody says “No,” they’re going to feel like they’re going to be asked why not. So to avoid that difficult conversation entirely, they’ll just say “yes.”

Second, they want to keep their options open. If they are applying at your company, they’re probably applying at others. Most applicants are playing the volume game. Keep in mind, the job market has drastically changed over the last several years. There are now more job openings than hires at any given time, which means the worker now has more options than ever before.



Larger than both these issues is one simple fact:

A job interview is only going to make them nervous!

Using data from our pre-hire assessment, we’ve been able to prove over 70% of building services and security applicants are very reserved individuals.

They aren’t comfortable with human interaction.

You’re putting an immense amount of pressure on a person to perform a task that doesn’t come naturally for them. It’s out of their comfort zone.

These candidates typically just want to do their jobs and go home. Sometimes their job is where they get their peace and quiet! Remember, you are trying to welcome these people into your organization - make sure they feel comfortable

Who’s Interviewing Who?

Our data shows that over 90% of applicants who show up to the in-person interview phase are offered a job. This begs the question: what’s the point of the in-person interview?

Most would tell you the goal is to make sure the candidate is who they appear to be over the phone. The issue is, they pass this test 90% of the time. This is largely due to the fact that half our candidates disappear during the phone screen and the client becomes desperate.

So how do you fix it?

Make the Offer During the Phone Screen

We’ve conducted tests through several of our clients to adjust certain elements of the pre-hire process. One of the most effective tests was making a conditional offer during the phone screen stage. Our standard practice when making the conditional offer during this phase is to tell the candidate something along these lines

“We think you’re going to be a great fit here and we want to go ahead and offer you the job. However, before you accept the job, we want you to come in to meet your hiring manager, review the site, and make sure you’d be comfortable working here.”

First, this step drastically improves the percentage of candidates actually showing up to the interview. The main reason for this is the interview is now no longer an interview. There is an immense amount of pressure taken off the shoulders of the candidate, because THEY are now interviewing YOU!

Second, this whole shift emphasizes the importance you place on them as a person. You are letting them know out of the gate you want them to feel comfortable working for you, and that they are more than just a number in your organization.

This will make your applicants feel so much more excited to work for somebody that actually cares about them, versus companies who are just marking off items on their clipboards. As a result, you will have fewer issues in the hiring process and greater retention of those you do hire.

Ready for Part Two of the series? Click here → The Most Important Person in the Interview Process.

Perfecting the Pre-Hire Process Webinar

If you've found this series helpful, we invite you to watch a replay of our webinar where we went even more in-depth on each phase of the pre-hire process. Join our CEO, Collie King, as he dissects each stage of the applicant funnel to help you identify which parts of the process you need to improve.

In the webinar, you'll learn:

  1. How to leverage your pre-hire process as a key strategy in scaling your business.
  2. Which numbers to track in your pre-hire process and why.
  3. How to build trust with applicants and make them want to work for you.
  4. How to generate more applicants, more interviews, and more accepted offers.

Click Here to Access the Webinar

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