Time and time again we see or hear about news reports highlighting a company because they are reducing their carbon footprint by 0.01% over the next ten years and they’re spending millions of dollars to do it. OK, these numbers are exaggerated, but you get my point. Companies sometimes spend huge sums of money to try and do some good… and that’s fine, but why not do a LOT of good and even increase profits at the SAME TIME?

Job search is inefficient. We all know that. Think of all the people driving to a job interview that goes bad in the first 90 seconds. Very quickly, either the job seeker isn’t feeling a good match, or the employer isn’t, so now you’re just wasting each other’s time… not to mention the time wasted getting there and going home. If you had just used the Headhunter app you probably could’ve weeded that interview out in the first step! But let’s quantify the kind of impact these wasted interviews have on our environment:

If a job brings in 100 applications, about 12% will get an interview (national average from various sources), and that usually results in one new hire. That means 11 other applicants went to an interview to get some “good experience”. I can’t find a report on how many of those interviews are deemed “a waste of time” by either the seeker or the employer… meaning, within the first 90 seconds they knew this was not going to be a fit… but it is significant from what I gather in my hundreds of discussions with employers/managers.

That said, I’ll estimate half of interviews are like that… a waste that could’ve been prevented had there been more transparency in the job description such as a video job preview, and more transparency on the applicant resume such as a video profile answering basic career questions.

So that means 6 interviews out of 12 are a waste. Yes, six trips wasted of varying length and fuel cost, not to mention productivity loss of the candidate and the time loss of the employer.

Here are the variables in the equation:

  • The average commute time to work is 26 minutes, and I doubt many people carpool to a job interview.
  • 6 interviews wasted per job opening
  • In 2018 there were 68 million total hires (Source: BLS)
  • 25 pounds of carbon dioxide-e emissions per interview (52 minute avg round trip in a car with moderate engine size) (Source: www.mapmyemissions.com)
  • $1.66 total social/community costs from emissions for just one interview trip (www.mapmyemissions.com)

Let’s do the math for a year of wasted interviews:

68,ooo,ooo hires    x     6 wasted interviews per hire    x     25 pounds of CO2  =    10,200,000,000 (that’s BILLIONS of pounds of CO2 or the equivalent of 4,626,642 METRIC TONS)

Compare that to the 6,870,000,000 METRIC TONS of CO2 that the entire USA cranked out in 2014 and it represents a total reduction of about 0.7% of the overall CO2 emissions… simply by eliminating those bad interviews!

Let’s put it in terms of dollar impact on our community…

68,000,000 hires    x   6 wasted interviews per hire     x    $1.66 per trip in social costs   = $677,280,000 annual social costs

DAAAANG! That’s a huge impact on our economy and environment. And this doesn’t even include the jobs that interviewed people but never ended up filling the position!

We should all put this in perspective given the sacrifices we make for the sake of our carbon footprint. A small adjustment to the way we recruit new employees can have a MAJOR impact on our world… not to mention saving your company thousands of dollars per hire.



*We used a social cost of carbon of $105 per metric ton. This social cost was estimated by the interagency working group based on the current and future damage expected to result from one metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) emitted in 2015.

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