How to Spend Less Time Interviewing Candidates


Philip Spain


min read


20 Jun 2024

Spend less time interviewing

You spend countless hours sifting through CVs, scheduling interviews, and meeting with candidates, only to be left exhausted and pressed for time. Does this sound familiar? Streamlining your interview process can save time, increase efficiency, all without sacrificing on the quality of your hires. In this guide, we’ll dig into effective strategies to make your interview process more efficient and targeted, giving you back the time you need to focus on other critical tasks.

1. Focus Effort on the Right Candidates

Focusing your efforts on the right candidates from the start can save a significant amount of time and resources in the long run. By clearly defining the role and requirements, and leveraging technology to filter and rank applicants, you can ensure that you're only considering the most qualified and relevant candidates.

1.1 Make Sure You Have Clear Job Descriptions

Having clear and well-defined job descriptions is crucial for attracting the right candidates and setting the right expectations from the outset.

Clear role definition:

  • Provide a detailed overview of the role's responsibilities, duties, and expectations.

  • Clearly outline the required skills, qualifications, and experience.

  • Specify the essential and preferred criteria for the position.

  • Describe the work environment, culture, and any unique aspects of the role.

Criteria that aligns with your job levelling matrix:

  • Establish clear criteria for each level or tier within your organisation's job hierarchy.

  • Define the specific competencies, knowledge, and experience required for each level.

  • Ensure that the job description aligns with the appropriate level in your job levelling matrix.

  • This alignment helps set accurate expectations and ensures a fair evaluation process.

By having clear job descriptions that accurately reflect the role and align with your job levelling matrix, you can attract candidates who are truly qualified and a good fit for the position, reducing the time spent reviewing unsuitable applications.

1.2 Use an ATS to Filter Candidates

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can be a powerful tool for streamlining the initial screening process and saving time by automating various tasks.

Automatic filtering:

  • Set up filters and criteria based on your job requirements (e.g., education, certifications, years of experience).

  • The ATS can automatically filter out candidates who do not meet the minimum qualifications.

  • This eliminates the need for manual review of unqualified applications.


  • Many ATS solutions can rank or score candidates based on predefined criteria.

  • Candidates who more closely match the job requirements can be ranked higher.

  • This allows you to focus your attention on the top-ranked candidates first.

Spotting fakes:

  • Some ATS solutions have built-in features to detect and flag potentially fake or fraudulent applications.

  • This can include identifying duplicate or plagiarised content, inconsistencies, or other red flags.

  • By catching fake applications early, you can avoid wasting time on candidates who are not genuine.

By leveraging an ATS to automate the initial screening and filtering process, you can significantly reduce the time spent manually reviewing applications and focus your efforts on the most promising candidates.

2. Streamline Your Interview Process

Streamlining your interview process can significantly improve efficiency, consistency, and fairness, while also providing a better experience for both the interviewer and the candidate.

2.1 Use Structured Interviews

Structured interviews are a proven method for conducting more objective and reliable evaluations of candidates. By following a standardised approach, you can ensure that all candidates are assessed consistently and that the process is free from bias.

Use structured interviewing and scorecards:

  • Develop a set of predetermined questions that are directly related to the job requirements and competencies.

  • Create a scoring rubric or scorecard to objectively evaluate each candidate's responses.

  • Train interviewers on how to conduct structured interviews and use the scorecards effectively.

  • This approach ensures that all candidates are evaluated based on the same criteria and that the process is fair and consistent.

Avoid asking the same questions in different interviews:

  • Coordinate with other interviewers to ensure that there is no overlap or repetition of questions.

  • Assign specific areas or competencies to each interviewer to cover during their respective interviews.

  • This prevents candidates from having to answer the same questions multiple times, which can be frustrating and time-consuming.

By implementing structured interviews and avoiding redundant questioning, you can streamline the process, reduce the overall time required for interviews, and gather more focused and relevant information about each candidate.

2.2 Implement Evidenced's Structured Interviewing

We are a platform that specialises in structured interviewing and provide tools to help organisations streamline and optimise their interview processes.

Check out our structured interviewing tooling:

  • We allow you to create and manage interview templates, scorecards, and question banks.

  • Interviewers can access real-time guidance and prompts during interviews to ensure consistency and adherence to best practices.

  • The platform also provides features for scheduling, recording, and sharing interviews with other stakeholders.

3. Leverage Technology for Efficiency

Technology can be a powerful ally in streamlining and optimising the interview process, saving time and resources while ensuring a thorough and fair evaluation of candidates.

3.1 Utilise Video Interviews with Evidenced

Video interviews offer a convenient and efficient alternative to traditional in-person interviews, eliminating the need for travel and scheduling conflicts.

Video interviewing with real-time guidance to run better interviews:

  • Evidenced's platform provides real-time guidance and prompts during video interviews.

  • This ensures that interviewers follow best practices, ask relevant questions, and maintain consistency throughout the process.

  • Quick access bookmarks can help interviewers stay focused and conduct more effective interviews.

Recordings allow you to share the interview with other stakeholders and save the candidate from having to be in multiple interviews:

  • Video interviews can be recorded and shared with other stakeholders involved in the hiring process.

  • This eliminates the need for candidates to repeat interviews with multiple team members, saving time and effort for both parties.

  • Stakeholders can review the recordings at their convenience and provide feedback or input on the candidate's performance.

3.2 Automate Scheduling and Follow-ups

Scheduling interviews and managing follow-up communications can be a time-consuming and administrative burden.

Automating scheduling and follow-ups eliminates back-and-forth emails and phone calls:

  • Leveraging scheduling automation tools can streamline the process of coordinating interviews with candidates and interviewers.

  • Automated follow-up emails or notifications can be sent to candidates, keeping them informed and reducing manual effort.

  • This automation eliminates the need for back-and-forth emails and phone calls, saving time and reducing the risk of miscommunication.

By leveraging technology such as video interviews and scheduling automation, you can optimise efficiency and spend less time on interviews while ensuring a thorough and fair candidate evaluation process. This results in faster hiring decisions and an improved candidate experience for both the organisation and the candidates.

4. Streamline Background Checks and References

Conducting thorough background checks and reference checks is crucial for making informed hiring decisions. However, these processes can often be time-consuming and prone to delays. By streamlining these steps, you can ensure a more efficient and timely hiring process.

4.1 Automate Background Checks

Automating background checks can significantly reduce the time and effort required to verify candidate information. Services like Zinc offer automated solutions that can quickly and accurately verify various aspects of a candidate's background.

Using services that quickly verify candidate information

  • Zinc provides an all-in-one platform for conducting background checks, including education verification, employment history, criminal records, and more.

  • By integrating with your Applicant Tracking System (ATS), you can request background checks directly from your existing hiring workflow.

  • Zinc claims to save up to 90 minutes per employee by automating the background check process.

  • Their global reach allows you to conduct cross-border checks in over 200 countries, ensuring compliance with local regulations.

Automating background checks not only saves time but also enhances the candidate experience by providing transparency and real-time updates on the status of their checks.

4.2 Conduct Reference Checks Promptly

Reference checks are an essential part of the hiring process, as they provide valuable insights into a candidate's past performance and work ethic. However, delays in conducting reference checks can slow down the hiring process and potentially lead to losing top candidates.

Soon after the interviews have finished, conduct reference checks so you don't lose momentum if you need to hire someone else:

  • Schedule reference checks immediately after the final round of interviews, while the candidate's information and performance are still fresh in the interviewers' minds.

  • Prompt reference checks ensure that you can quickly gather feedback and make a hiring decision without unnecessary delays.

  • If a candidate is not selected, you can move on to the next potential hire without losing momentum, as you have already gathered the necessary information.

By automating background checks and conducting reference checks promptly, you can streamline these crucial steps in the hiring process, saving time and ensuring that you can make informed hiring decisions without unnecessary delays. This not only improves efficiency but also enhances the candidate experience by providing a smoother and more transparent process.

5. Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement is essential for maintaining an efficient and effective interview process. By regularly collecting feedback and analysing the process, you can identify areas for optimisation and make data-driven improvements.

5.1 Collect Feedback from Candidates

Candidate feedback is a valuable source of insights that can help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your interview process from the candidate's perspective.

Using candidate feedback to improve the interview process:

  • Implement a system to collect feedback from candidates after each interview or at the end of the hiring process.

  • Tools like our Candidate Satisfaction Score can help you gather and analyse candidate feedback in a structured manner.

By actively collecting and analysing candidate feedback, you can gain valuable insights into areas that need improvement, such as communication, interview structure, or overall candidate experience.

5.2 Analyse and Refine the Process Regularly

Continuous analysis and refinement of the interview process are crucial for identifying bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and areas for optimisation.

Continuously looking for bottlenecks and areas of improvement:

  • Regularly review the entire interview process, from initial screening to final decision-making.

  • Identify any steps or activities that are causing delays or unnecessary extra effort.

  • Analyse data and metrics related to the interview process, such as time-to-hire, interview duration, and candidate drop-off rates.

  • Seek input and feedback from all stakeholders involved in the hiring process, including recruiters, interviewers, and hiring managers.

  • Based on the analysis, implement changes or improvements to streamline the process, eliminate bottlenecks, and enhance the overall candidate experience.

By continuously analysing and refining the interview process, you can ensure that it remains efficient, effective, and aligned with your organisation's hiring goals and objectives.

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Frequently asked questions

What is a structured interview and how does it help streamline the interview process?

A structured interview is an approach where a set of predetermined questions directly related to the job requirements and competencies are asked, along with a scoring rubric or scorecard to objectively evaluate each candidate's responses. This ensures all candidates are evaluated consistently based on the same criteria, making the process fair and efficient. It also prevents redundant questioning by coordinating with interviewers to cover specific areas.

How can technology help optimise the interview process?

Technology can significantly optimise the interview process through video interviews, which eliminate travel needs and allow sharing recordings with stakeholders to avoid repetitive interviews. Scheduling automation tools streamline coordinating interviews and sending follow-ups, reducing manual effort. Additionally, services can automate background checks, saving time and providing real-time updates.

Why is it important to have clear job descriptions and leverage an ATS?

Clear and well-defined job descriptions aligned with the organisation's job levelling matrix help attract truly qualified candidates by setting accurate expectations. An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can automate filtering and ranking candidates based on predefined criteria, spotting fake applications, and saving time by focusing efforts on the most promising candidates.

How can continuous improvement help maintain an efficient interview process?

Continuously collecting feedback from candidates, analysing the entire process, identifying bottlenecks, and seeking input from stakeholders is crucial for refining and optimising the interview process. This data-driven approach helps implement changes to streamline the process, eliminate inefficiencies, and enhance the overall candidate experience.