Want to Land More Candidates? Try Tougher Job Interviews

It might seem counterintuitive, but difficult interviews make job candidates more likely to accept employment offers, according to research by employer-review website Glassdoor. Based on data from nearly 100,000 job candidates who rated the rigor of employers’ screening processes on a five-point scale, Glassdoor found that increasing the interview difficulty by one level raised acceptance rates by 2.6 percentage points in the professional and technical industries. That’s because candidates see a strong positive link between interview difficulty and the quality of a potential employer. Easy interviews can lower candidates’ opinions of a company’s employees and signal to them that their work would also be easy. That will deter high-quality candidates who are seeking challenging work environments that provide career development opportunities and fully utilize their skills. Prospective employees’ feelings of accomplishment at receiving job offers after rigorous screenings also make them more receptive to accept. The Glassdoor study also found that the use of skills tests in the interview process raised acceptance rates by 2.5 percentage points, while job-seekers were 2.3 percentage points less likely to join companies that used IQ or personality tests. Glassdoor noted that acceptance rates do drop among candidates who rated interviews as “very difficult” (a rating of 5 out of 5). However, only 1.2% of interviews were rated as “very difficult,” which means most employers have wiggle room to make them more challenging.


Studies Counter Conventional Wisdom on Recession Hiring

When confronted with a recession, such as the one brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, many companies have a natural inclination to freeze hiring. Research has shown, however, that companies that continue to invest in their workforces during economic downturns can emerge from recessions stronger than the competition. A Harvard Business School study of how 4,700 companies fared during the last three recessions found that 9% emerged in better positions than they entered because of their “progressive” focus and continued strategic investments while making only selective cutbacks. Companies in more than 30 European countries surveyed by the Boston Consulting Group during the 2008 global financial crisis reported that selectively hiring high-performing employees from competitors had the greatest impact on employee commitment during the previous economic downturn. Yet, those same respondents also reported that scaling back on recruiting was among their most common reactions to the 2008 financial crisis. Those inconsistent responses reflect the power of short-term thinking during economic downturns. However, Harvard Business School executive fellow Claudio Fernández-Aráoz called the current recession a “once-in-a-century hiring opportunity” in a piece he wrote for the Harvard Business Review. Citing the example of how fledgling Hewlett-Packard set itself on the path to success by hiring engineers from shuttering U.S. military labs during an economic slowdown in the 1940s, Fernández-Aráoz wrote, “Throughout history, economic hardships have created windows in which exceptional employees and leaders are widely available for a limited time.” With the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine holding the promise of an economic rebound in 2021, firms that take the long-term view may find that now is the time to recruit talent from harder-hit sectors before the current window closes.

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AEC Industry Events

Morrissey Goodale Events

Morrissey Goodale’s AEC event attendees have the chance to learn proven strategies and tactics, recharge their batteries, network with their peers, and return to the office with new ideas and best practices for leading their firms into the future.

VR CEO & C-suite Conference

Start date: June 9, 2021

End date: June 10, 2021

Location: Virtual Reality event

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A fully immersive 3-D Virtual Reality event exclusively for A/E CEOs and presidents.

VR CEO & C-suite Conference
June 9-10, 2021
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Texas M&A Symposium

Start date: October 21, 2021

End date: October 22, 2021

Location: HOUSTON, TX

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If you’re a Texas A/E or environmental consulting firm leader—or if your firm wants to grow in the Texas market—then this event is for you.

Texas M&A Symposium 2021
October 21-22, 2021
Houston, TX

Southeast States M&A Symposium

Start date: January 19, 2022

End date: January 20, 2022

Location: MIAMI, FL

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If you are an A/E firm leader interested in expanding into the Southeast through acquisition, or you are based in the Southeast and considering a sale or merger, this is the event for you.

Southeast States M&A Symposium 2021
January 19-20, 2022
Miami, FL

Western States M&A Symposium

Start date: June 8, 2022

End date: June 9, 2022


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THE event for Western states firm leaders considering a sale or merger and leaders of A/E firms looking to grow through acquisition in the West.

Western States M&A Symposium 2022
June 8-9, 2022
San Francisco, CA