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That's according to research published Wednesday by career-review site Glassdoor, which surveyed 95,177 job candidates about their interview experiences between January 2018 and November 2019. Respondents ranked the difficulty of their interviews on a five-point scale, and with each increased level of difficulty, researchers saw a 2.6 percent increase in acceptances of job offers. The trend was particularly noticeable among young workers: When viewing data from respondents aged 25 to 34, the increase in acceptances rose to 3.1 percent.
"Research clearly shows the interview has a huge effect on how candidates see you as a company," Daniel Zhao, Glassdoor's senior economist and a co-author of the research, told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. "Skills and career development are a priority for younger workers, and interviews are an opportunity for them to see if the company they're applying for will equip them with the experience they want."
Increasing the challenge is easier said than done. Only 10.5 percent of the interviews in Glassdoor's study were classified as "difficult," and only 1.2 percent of them were labeled "very difficult." The report noted that rigorous skills tests can increase acceptance rates, while IQ tests or personality quizzes can actively lower those rates--presumably because candidates prefer to be judged by job-related expertise.
But you can do more. Last year, Kabbage co-founder and CEO Rob Frohwein told me that he asks bizarre questions like "What's the one word you'd like on your tombstone?" or "What's your favorite curse word?" to determine "if people know what they're good at and what they suck at." And back in 2016, Inc. contributing editor Jeff Haden wrote about the most challenging interview question he's ever encountered. Check it out--while it's not actually a question, it's a doozy of a test.
That's exactly the point: Test your job candidates. Push them toward candid responses that haven't been prepared in advance. Afterward, your job offer will seem a lot more gratifying--and the odds will improve that they'll say yes.