Why Your Candidates Don’t Get Past The First Interview


Having trouble finding candidates who make it past the first interview? Most companies point towards the available talent as the cause for this issue, but that is not always the case. Hiring is difficult enough, so creating and troubleshooting your process is key. We’ve broken down some of the most common reasons advancement isn’t repeatedly made past the first interview.

Are You Getting The Right Candidates?

When potential candidates for your opening just don’t seem to make the cut, the first thing most companies identify as the problem is the source of the candidates. It is often the case that a company is simply not speaking with the right people for the position, but the real question is why. Common problems include leveraging the wrong channels to search for candidates and poor messaging of the position and company. It could also be the case that the offering presented by the company is insufficient to attract the caliber of talent needed for the job. Utilizing testing strategies in this area can help reveal issues if they exist at the candidate source.

Is Your Candidate Screening Process the Problem?

The hiring process can impede a company’s hiring efforts, beginning with the screening process. Hiring managers can make the wrong determinations based on applications, resumes and phone screenings. They can get boxed in to targeting a specific skill set or experience that they feel is crucial, and end up placing too much emphasis on a small factor while negating more important things. In the end, you could be getting the right people to apply only to have them turned down by ineffective screening and pipeline management. This will inevitably happen in many cases, but if the issue is systemic, it must be corrected.

Are Your Interviews Effective?

The interview, while a critical part of the hiring process, can be ineffective and inefficient. First, interviews are not necessarily a great way to measure how well suited a candidate is for the job; more often they simply measure how well they can interview. Hiring managers must look past the interview itself and get to the core of the candidate. Getting to the bottom of the candidate is no easy task, especially when the candidate and the interviewer do not see eye to eye. It can also be the case that hiring managers become overly critical in the search for perfection. Expectations during interviews can be too high, and can lead to a no pass rating across the board. And it can also be a problem when only a single person conducts the first interview round. Multiple opinions can uncover a better picture of candidates and solve many of these issues.

Is The Job Opening Clearly Defined?

Sometimes, the problem doesn’t rest with the candidates or the hiring process, but with the job itself. Ambiguity and a lack of clarity around the position and the work itself kills the hiring process. Hiring managers end up trying to match their candidate pool with needs that are undefined and work that is unknown. This would seem like something that should never happen, but many companies have this problem.  They know that they need talent to fill the void, but if the position is outside of the current team’s scope of knowledge, it can be difficult to define needs. The solution is to give details of the goals that this hire should be able to work towards rather than solely skill sets, parameters and accomplishments. A helpful way to improve this is by seeking the help of former founders, advisors and industry experts, as well as experienced recruiters.


As a recruiting firm for startups and technology companies, an integral part of our process is adjusting course based upon ongoing results. We strive to deliver the right candidates the first time, but there are scenarios where success is dependent upon our ability to adjust, examine the process and identify appropriate changes to our approach in order to deliver candidates that will not only advance beyond the first interview, but accept the offer. If your technology company is having trouble delivering on talent, speak with our team of experienced executive recruiters today.

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