How many people must you interview before you hire one?

As our company grows, we post job openings to attract good talent to build our team. Aside from referrals from colleagues, my favorite source for finding candidates is CraigsList. We tried Monster and some others but got so many resumes which wasted a lot of time just to find a very small few to interview. Our CraigsList postings still generate interest from completely unqualified candidates, but it is a lot better than the major job boards.

In our last search for a Unix Systems Administrator, we got about 40 resumes, interviewed 8 and hired 1. The last time I used Monster, which was for a technical support position, we got over 200 resumes, interviewed 2 and didn’t hire either of them. We ended up finding the perfect candidate from CraigsList, filtered from about 70 resumes and 5 interviews.

What is a typical interview to hire ratio? It depends on how well you can prescreen the candidates before bringing them in. We send out an email questionnaire to each candidate who applies. It amazes me how many we filter out just from this step. Then, I conduct a quick phone interview and if I get a good feeling about the candidate, we schedule face time. Using these steps, my experience is that about 8 interviews lead to one hire. If we didn’t do the questionnaire or phone interview, I am sure the ratio would be much higher — in other words, much more expensive!

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