January 22nd, 2016
How to Manage a Long Hiring Process
A recent Wall Street Journal article, “How to Deal with a Long Hiring Process” presents tactical advice for navigating the extended hiring process that is quickly becoming the norm for job seekers today.
The prevalence of social media and personal branding grants hiring managers access to more information than ever before about job candidates. Perhaps this gluttony of information leads to “analysis paralysis”, begetting a drawn-out, emotionally exhausting hiring processes for those seeking employment.
Additionally, the location of the job you’re applying for may be a factor in how long it takes to get hired. According to Fast Company, “Cities tend to have industry clusters that play a part in how quickly hiring happens. Silicon Valley’s tech companies, for example, operate in a completely different way than Washington, D.C.’s government organizations, or Houston’s energy businesses. The higher the level of skill required to do the job, the more intensive the interview process, and the longer it takes.”
Seeking Tough, Seasoned Candidates
Job search and recruiting website Glassdoor recently conducted a study of nearly 350,000 interview reviews by users and found that “Companies need an average of 23 days to screen and hire new employees, up from 13 days in 2010. During the process, applicants are subjected to multiple rounds of interviews (over the phone and in person) with bosses and also with teams of prospective co-workers. This does not include the myriad conversations that many applicants have with recruiters leading up to the initial contact with a potential employer.
Depending on the type of position you’re applying for, you may be subjected to multiple rounds of screening including background checks, drug screening, skill assessments and personality tests, all of which tack on even more days to the process. Some candidates are asked to lead a simulated staff meeting, according to the WSJ article, and some employers even require candidates to research and present a full-blown business plan.
Why All the Hoop-Jumping?
Sometimes the reason can be as simple as trying to make sure you interview with all the key players in a department. Many organizations require unanimous buy-in on a job candidate since hiring the wrong person can result in more work than sourcing for the position in the first place. It can take anywhere from six months to a year getting a new hire up to speed, and if it doesn’t work out, finding a replacement can mean devastation for a tight budget.
By adding layers to the hiring process, employers can minimize their chances of making a bad hire. Many require initial phone screenings, followed by group interviews by multiple insiders, and personality or technical screenings are also becoming more common.
Clearing the Hurdles
If you’ve embarked on your own job hunt recently, or if you think it may be in your near future, you’ll likely find yourself amid a gauntlet of interviews. Don’t get discouraged! You don’t have to be at the mercy of the hiring managers. We’ve compiled some tactical advice that we think will aid you in clearing the hurdles posed by the extended hiring process, below:
#1: Large-group Interview
- Ask the names of each interviewer and research their backgrounds and roles prior to the interview.
- Prepare examples from your experience that will show individual interviewers how your skills would be helpful to them.
#2: Long Waits Between Interviews
- Don’t show signs of desperation!
- Refrain from asking “Is there anything I can do? Is there anything else you need?”
- Find unpretentious ways to stay in touch, such as emailing an article of mutual interest to the person who interviewed you.
- If possible, get confidential updates from trusted contacts within the company, or from your recruiter.
#3: Asked to Present a Strategic Plan to Senior Managers
- Don’t give away your expertise for free. Limit the amount of detail in your plan.
- Give the most details during the oral portion of your presentation. Avoid leaving too much data or analysis on slides or handouts.
#4: No. 2 Choice Employer Makes Offer Before No. 1 Choice
- Email your No. 1 choice with an enthusiastic, positively worded request. Example: “I’m very excited about the opportunity and I know I’d enjoy working with you. That said, I do have other things in the works that are moving forward very rapidly. If there’s anything I can do to expedite this process, please let me know.”
- Use your best judgment. As stated above, pressing your first choice may risk getting you dropped from the race, yet saying nothing may also cause you to lose out on the opportunity.
#5: Employer Demands Too Many Interviews
- Ask to combine or group some of the interviews on a single day. Most employers will understand if you’re currently working and want to be discreet about your job search.
- Keep in mind: how an employer treats job applicants is a pretty accurate indicator of how they treat their employees.
Job seekers would be wise to get a sense of what to expect by asking in the first interview about the employer’s timeline for the process and the target date for hiring someone. Manage your own expectations and exude confidence throughout the hiring process, no matter how long it takes.
Finally, consider contacting a recruiter to help you navigate this process. Not only are recruiting services typically free, but they are also a huge time saver. Contact one of our recruiters today to learn more.