HOW TO SURVIVE THE GAUNTLET
ALL INTERVIEWS IN ONE DAY
The home office or national headquarters are usually the scene for daylong interviews. The job opening is normally at manager level or higher. The candidate must get approval from senior management. The Human Resource Department coordinates the schedule to insure all decision-makers are available on that day. The decision-makers travel frequently, so daylong interviews can take as long as 30-40 days to arrange. The reasons for a full day of interviews are obvious. It’s particularly cost-effective to interview the candidate in one day, especially if flight and hotel accommodations are needed.
Many of my clients will interview several candidates on the same day, for the same job, therefore freeing up the decision-makers valuable time. Interviewing multiple candidates on the same day also enhances the decision-making process because the candidates can be quickly compared.
As the candidate, you must be ready for many duplicate questions. Don’t get bored and put your answers on autopilot. An artificial attitude can sink your interview. Answer duplicate questions with energy and eagerness to please. Be prepared to have some downtime between interviews. The schedule almost never runs on time. One interview can be over quickly and leave you waiting in the lobby for the next interview. During your downtime, stay focused on your interviews. Do not use your cell phone because it could be perceived as a casual attitude. If you are waiting close to a lower level employee, be sure to be courteous and friendly because they’ll be asked for their opinion later. Do not let your body language signal that you are displeased or annoyed by the gap in the schedule.
True story: My candidate was at the world headquarters of a global beverage company. During his downtime, he was on his cell phone telling someone how great he was doing and that he was sure to get a job offer. My client informed me of his call and overheard how cocky and full of himself he sounded. The result…no further interest.
Full days always include lunch. Remember lunchtime is still interview time. Lunch is usually with a potential peer. This is because you are more likely to be relaxed and open with a person at your level. This is not the time for personal questions. Avoid questions like, "What’s the workday really like here? Is the VP as serious as she seems? What’s the nightlife like around here? Is it difficult working for a female director?" Statements about your personal life (i.e.: family illness, relocation concerns, dietary preferences, prior marriages, health of your parents, a recent death in the family, or political or religious preferences) and statements of a sexual or ethnic nature should be absolutely avoided. All your questions should focus on the company and its opportunities. This advice may seem rudimentary and that everyone knows not to make these statements, but you would be very surprised to know how many quality individuals botch their interviews with misplaced conversation over lunch.
PLEASE NOTE: emails received become the property of "Dear Headhunter" and may be published unless otherwise requested. Questions may be edited for content and length. All questions will be reviewed, some without a reply.