My Salam

In the Middle Eastern job market, your first interview could be the clincher

Job interview

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How quickly do you think employers in the Middle East and North Africa decide whether they want to hire you? A new survey suggests that such decisions are made quite quickly.


According to recruitment firm, 45 per cent of respondents believe employers make hiring decisions after the first interview. Another 15 per cent said it takes two interviews to make the decision, and 17 per cent said it takes three interviews.


Data for the poll, titled “Job Interviews in the Middle East and Africa”, was collected online from April 11, 2018 to June 10, 2018, and the results are based on a sample of 10,617 respondents.


So why are employment decisions taken in the first round? “The number of interviews held before the hiring decision is made certainly varies by company, industry and job role. But perhaps a valid reason why companies are finding one interview to be sufficient is that there are many other tools nowadays that help make informative screening and hiring decisions,” Suhail Masri, Vice President of Employer Solutions,, told My Salaam.


 “Online job sites, with powerful CV search filtering and job-post matching algorithms, have made the hiring process easier, as stated by 83 per cent of employers in the region. At the same time, companies are using tools such as pre-employment tests, references, and work samples to vet and screen candidates efficiently,” Masri added.   


Here are the other takeaways from the survey:

  • Group interviews, where the company interviews multiple candidates at the same time, were experienced by 71.6 per cent of the respondents.

  • One in five (21.2 per cent) have had individual interviews, and less than 5 per cent have had panel interviews, behavioral interviews, or lunch interviews.

  • For the majority (90.5 per cent) of MENA respondents, face-to-face interviews generally last less than one hour; 6.1 per cent state that interviews last between one and two hours, and a very small number (1.2 per cent) had interviews that lasted more than two hours.

  • When it comes to assessing the qualifications, four in five (81.4 per cent) respondents believe that job interviews should include a test or an assessment. 

  • Of the jobseekers polled, 82.3 per cent state that they inquire about the salary and benefits during the interview while 17.7 per cent state that they request this information afterwards, at the job offer stage. 

  • Four in five candidates (80.5 per cent) say that they follow up with the employer after a job interview, while 19.5 per cent of respondents say that they wait for the company to do so.

  • Four in five candidates (81 per cent) state that they always send a thank you note to the employer after the job interview, 9.2 per cent say they “sometimes” send a note, and 9.8 per cent say they never do. 


(Writing by Seban Scaria) 

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Seban Scaria