Interviewing – a cost or investment for candidates?

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People are a company’s greatest asset. Dedicated time, resource and expenditure are required to successfully recruit the right people into an organisation. Whilst candidates undertaking a recruitment process would also expect the time investment, perhaps they wouldn’t consider any potential personal expenditure involved. 

The cost of attending interviews can vary and is based on several factors. Candidates may incur both direct and indirect expenses, for example: transport costs, interview attire, printing out documentation, technology (e.g. webcam/microphone), purchase of interview preparation resources/coaching, time off work, miscellaneous expenses – e.g. food & drink or attending professional networking events.

According to StandOut CV, in 2023, 69 per cent of employers were incorporating video interviews into their hiring process. Whilst this will naturally reduce the transport costs candidates would need to allocate for attending interviews, it is not the norm for all parts of the interview process to be completed online. Many employers still want to meet potential future employees in person, especially if the remit will be based on-site or a hybrid situation. 

Fiona McDonald, business operations manager at Walmsley Wilkinson Executive and Management Recruitment says: “Face-to-face interviews remain an integral part of the recruitment process. Whilst there may be an initial ‘getting to know you’ video call, there will often be at least one in-person interview and frequently more. In my opinion this is key, in helping to determine the fit for both parties.” 

Trainline commissioned a recent study which suggested the average cost of attending an interview is over £100. As many jobs still offer remote working, candidates may find themselves having to travel much further afield from their home address to attend the interview and with the cost of fuel and train fares, the financial implications can soon mount up. It is therefore key that both employer and candidate have a recruitment experience that is deemed worthwhile and good value.

Organisations that have international operations and are well versed in relocating new hires will have defined travel expenses and relocation policies that underpin their recruitment efforts and enable them to organise travel arrangements on a candidate’s behalf or at least reimburse costs. 

Fiona McDonald continues: “It’s important that employers have an efficient and smooth recruitment process which is candidate focused, delivers a positive interviewee experience, and generates strong brand perception. Organisations need to mitigate the risk of causing a time and cost burden on their potential future hires, by putting the candidate experience at the heart of the recruitment process. An agile interview process contributes to a positive candidate experience, helps attract top talent, and positions the company as a desirable employer. It is an essential aspect of a company's overall talent acquisition strategy.” 

Whilst virtual meetings are now part of the working norm, if someone wishes to take their career elsewhere, then they will be expected to step out from behind their laptops and commit to meeting with prospective future employers. With any interview process, some costs will be involved. Candidates should try and see this as an investment in their future, and after all, they may well recoup this expenditure in any new salary offering. Whilst employers need to be respectful and understanding of a participating candidate’s experience in their recruitment activity. When this is achieved, interviewing will no longer be a contentious cost for candidates.   

Enjoyed this? Read more from Walmsley Wilkinson Executive Recruitment

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