A challenging interview can be seen as a motivational factor for employees today, particularly if career growth is high up on their list.
In fact, a recent Glassdoor study revealed that candidates do assess the quality of the employer based on how the interview went, and that difficult interviews are likely to result in higher job offer acceptance rates.
While this data is not Asia-specific - the study was conducted in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, and Germany - it does present some food-for-thought for hiring managers and employers, in what candidates may seek in a job interview.
The above link was observed to be most positive in the professional and technical industries, among Generation Z (Gen Z) and Millennial employees. Why was this so?
According to the survey, employees in this age range are in the stage where they'll be experiencing the most rapid career change and salary growth, and choosing the right employer can significantly impact their long-term career trajectory.
At the same time, mid-career workers in the above two industries are also more encouraged by difficult interviews, due to an ongoing motivation to climb the corporate ladder.
Why do difficult interviews motivate job candidates more?Based on the research, the key reasons that a difficult interview could result in higher acceptance rates in the professional and technical industries include:
Career and skills development
For career-driven candidates, challenging work is seen as an opportunity for career growth and skills development. Thus, a difficult interview for them gives the perception that the job would be a challenging one too - versus an easy interview which could mean the job will be an easy one.
Job candidates may expect to undergo difficult interviews, which would test them on the skills they have invested time and effort into developing. Thus, when an interview is easy rather than tough, these candidates may feel like their skills are being undervalued.
While this is so for those in the professional and technical industries, it may not be the case for those in other industries. For instance, in the retail or f&b lines, where salaries may be lower, candidates may be discouraged by a difficult interview if it means they will have more difficult work than their offered salaries justify.
Quality of peers
Career-minded candidates who undergo an easy interview may have lower expectations of the quality of their prospective colleagues, the study showed. This may pose a concern to them, and thus, make them less likely to accept the job offer in this case.
A sign of their future employer's potential
Without a doubt, reputation and branding play a huge role in how an employer is perceived. This, in turn, could possibly reveal that employer's abilities and potential.
As such, when an employer is known to have difficult interviews, candidates are more likely to positively perceive their ability and potential.
Noting all this data, it would be good for employers/hiring managers to emphasise the company's growth opportunities during the interview, in order to better attract these career-driven candidates.
Where should the line be drawn?Although difficult interviews seem to hit the spot, those that are too difficult can have a negative effect on acceptance rates.
According to the research, when interviews rankings increased from "very easy" to "difficult", acceptance rates increased sharply. That said, when it ranked "very difficult", a drop in acceptance rates was observed. This suggests that overall, keeping the interview "difficult" is the most ideal situation for job candidates.