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4 Mistakes When Interviewing Candidates That Hurt Your Talent Pipeline

Is your talent pipeline leaking? The problem could be the way your company is interviewing candidates. Knowing why candidates drop out of your hiring pipeline during the interview process, and finding solutions for these issues, is critical for HR teams looking to improve the quality of their candidates and fill open roles.

Here are the four most common reasons your talent pipeline is losing candidates during the interview process, and how to fix them.

1. The Hiring Process is Too Slow 

Job seekers right now have a lot of options, especially high performers, and they might be fielding multiple offers. A slow hiring process can cause you to lose candidates as they accept other offers, and it’s often due to a lengthy process for interviewing candidates.

The average length of the hiring process in the US is just 24 days, so if you’re moving too slowly because you require candidates to interview with too many people or scheduling interviews is taking too long, you’ll be leaking people in high demand from your talent pipeline.


Reevaluate your interview process – are you requiring all candidates to talk to multiple teams, managers, and executives? Cutting back to the essentials can help.

Scheduling interviews can also drag out the hiring process, so using asynchronous interviewing techniques like video interviews can speed up the hiring timeline by eliminating the need to find mutually workable times. In fact, 54% of hiring leaders say that switching to virtual or video interviews helped them speed up the recruitment process.

2. Communication with Candidates is Lacking

How are you following up after interviewing candidates? A staggering 74% of job seekers have completed an interview with an employer and never heard from them again – effectively getting ghosted.

Many industries are fairly small, and word about bad interview behavior by employers spreads. You might lose out on top candidates because of this negative word of mouth, or they simply accept another offer from a company with better communication.


Respecting a candidate’s time by communicating with them clearly and effectively is essential. HR teams should work with hiring managers to set clear timelines for the hiring process and communicate those to candidates, and ensure they follow up every time.

3. Your Interview Experience is Poor

Interviewing candidates is a two-way street. Yes, you’re evaluating them to see if they fit the company’s needs, but they’re also evaluating your company to see if they will be happy at your company. That’s why candidate experience in interviews matters.

The interview experience is likely a candidate’s first in-depth experience with your company. If your interview process is giving them a negative impression and reflecting poorly on your employer brand, that can lead to a leaky talent pipeline as candidates decide not to move ahead after an interview.


Giving candidates information ahead of time, like the names and backgrounds of their interviewers and your company values, shows them you take the process seriously. (And since 31% of candidates say they’ve not received any preparation before an interview, there’s plenty of room for improvement.)

Focus on improving the candidate experience in remote interviews as well if you’re conducting those.

4. Your Job Descriptions Aren’t Clear

If your job descriptions and the information given when interviewing candidates don’t match up, applicants are likely to drop out of the hiring process.

This mismatch could happen because the expectations for the role aren’t clearly defined in the job ad, the salary does not match the skills or experience required, or because interview questions are left to the discretion of multiple hiring managers.


HR should work closely with hiring managers to write clear, specific, and accurate job descriptions that match what candidates will be asked about in interviews. Using structured interview questions is a best practice because you can align job descriptions and roles with the interview questions ahead of time, and evaluate candidates without bias.

Communicating salary information in job descriptions can also ensure candidates know what to expect. Since 24% of employers lose out on people they want to hire because the salary offered doesn’t meet candidate expectations, being upfront about salary ensures everyone is aligned without wasting anyone’s time.

Key Takeaways

There are plenty of mistakes you can make while interviewing candidates that cause leaks in your talent pipeline – but these are the four most harmful, and the ones HR is best equipped to fix.


This post was originally published on the Cangrade blog.

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