How many is too many? A completely subjective question, but while we are on the subject of interviewers, how did you feel when you had to face more than 5 people in a room? Terrified? Nervous? Reverse the situation now, and consider that you are the person sitting on this side of the table.
Here’s what prospective employees might feel about facing more than four or five people at an interview, in case you’ve forgotten what it was like back then.
• Intimidated – Candidates are already nervous, so why intimidate them further by letting them face a huge group of interviewers? By using such intimidating tactics, you will only serve to scare off potential talent.
• Confused – For a moment think of this through the eyes of the candidate. Seeing so many people will be confusing, especially if the candidate feels they have to remember who is who and what role they play in the organization.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons from the HR perspective, as to why there shouldn’t be too many interviewers.
• Divided opinions – When there are more interviewers than necessary, you can be sure that there will be some difference of opinion when it comes to the suitability of the candidate for a particular position. There will always be naysayers in any group and if there’s a candidate who seems promising to you, you might have to defend the candidate to the fellow interviewers.
• Multiple decision makers – Having too many people on the interview panel can only mean one thing. And that is that when it comes to making the final decision, there will be conflict because there will be multiple decision makers.
• Lack of communication – It’s imperative that everyone on the panel understands what they are looking for in a candidate. With many interviewers, there can be a noticeable lack of communication and this could lead to some discrepancy. What’s more, you might end up putting a front that is not united in front of the candidate.
• Interpersonal differences – Often there are interpersonal differences between interviewers and this can become apparent during an interview. In all this, the objective of the interview could well be lost if there is a protracted show of one-upmanship between interviewers themselves.
While interviewing candidates for a position, it would be a good idea if everyone is apprised of what they are looking for in a candidate. Before the interview, the interviewers should discuss the possible qualities and skills that they are looking for. Consider this as preparation much as a candidate would prepare before an interview. If there is a list of questions that will be asked, make sure everyone knows who will ask which question so that there’s no repetition.
Ideally the number of interviewers at an interview should not exceed more than three. This is because it puts the candidate also at ease as they can make eye contact with each person so that you can ascertain better if the candidate is suitable or not.