By Jim Wong, CPA | July 30, 2012

In How to Hire The Right Accounting and Finance Candidate, we suggested the benefits of the group interview as something to consider because it is less expensive for organizations.

The one-on-one interview process involves far more man hours in your organization and escalates if you are screening a large volume of candidates. While there are great cost benefits to the group interview process, it comes with a few caveats which should be carefully considered so you don’t inadvertently lose out on a viable candidate simply by the nature of your interview process.

Before you jump into the group interview concept, Jim Roddy suggests there are a few things you should consider first.

1. Be careful to limit your pool of entries: Group interviews offer limited flexibility to your candidates. You might lose out on a strong candidate who is unable to meet your timing. Someone who is currently employed, for example, might not be able to get away during your group times. Be open-minded and allow some flexibility.

2. It’s not very discreet: Many candidates may not want to be seen as hunting for a job. Especially if the candidate is well-known, or you live in a tight-knit community. Strong candidates will avoid these situations and you could lose out.

3. Be wary of the company presentation: Typically, in these group interviews, the format starts with a company presentation on culture and values. Then, when you get to the one on one interview process and you’re looking for a cultural fit, you’ve already influenced the job seekers answers.

4. It feels less respectful to the candidate: If you are trying to achieve an emotional connection and make your candidates feel important, the group interview format might not be the right concept for you. It feels more like a cattle call. Roddy describes their own interview process: The receptionist is made aware of each candidate who will arrive. They are offered a beverage and are only asked to wait for a very short period of time.

This doesn’t mean the group interview is not a good idea. Rather, it should prompt you to think about the situation from the perspective of your accounting and finance candidate, and adapt your own process accordingly.


This article originally appeared on Clear Focus Financial Search.

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