Human Resources News & Insights

So how many people does it really take to identify the best job candidate?

A lot of employers have multiple people interviewing job candidates. But is that really the right way to go about hiring people? Here’s the answer employers have been seeking. 

According to a new study, the more people you have interviewing candidates — and reviewing their responses — the better your odds will be of selecting the best job candidate.

In other words, there’s no point of diminishing returns when it comes to selecting how many people to put in front of a job candidate — at least in terms of upping your ability to make the right call. The more, the merrier.

Seriously, what’s the real number?

Of course, you can’t realistically put dozens of interviewers in front of job applicants. Things would get weird, right?

First of all, that would be pretty intimidating for even the most seasoned job candidate, and the hiring process would likely drag on forever.

So what’s the real number — the amount of people you can realistically put in front of job candidates and significantly increase your odds of selecting the best one?

Let’s go to the figures:

The study was conducted by The Behavioural Insights Team, a U.K.-based company aiming to help people and organizations make better decisions through behavioral science.

In the study, it set out to see in what ways having more interviewers affected the odds of selecting the best candidate.

It asked 398 individuals to rate interview responses from hypothetical candidates, and what it found was that collectively the reviewers’ combined ratings coalesced around the best candidate.

But realizing that organizations can’t have hundreds of people review candidates, the research team went to work trying to determine at which point the group became “wise.”

The answer? When at least three reviewers were involved.

The researchers found that in difficult cases — i.e., when candidates were very similar to each other — one interviewer made the best choice just 49% of the time.

But having three interviewers increased the odds of making the best hire to 63%.

However, if you get seven people involved, the odds of success jump to 72%.

In easy cases — when candidates are more varied — one interviewer could make the correct call 84% of the time.

Add two more people to the mix, and the odds of success jump to 94%. And with seven reviewers, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get the right candidate.

After reviewing all of the results, Kate Glazebrook, the principal advisor at the Behavioural Insights Team, recommended having at least three reviewers vet each job candidate. But adding more when possible can only improve your chances of success.

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