Hello and thank you for reading at least this far. Over the last few years I have written a few blog pieces from the perspective of an employee within existing business or as a candidate of a potential employer. In my many years of being an adult I have had the pleasure (sarcasm) of going through the hiring process countless times. Unlike most people, I don’t fret about the interview(s). Yes the interview is the equivalent of a sales person getting their foot in the door to pitch their product; in this case I am the salesperson and I am pitching the product (myself) to the company that in theory needs me. By the time the interview is happening, I’ve already done my due diligence and found out as much about the company as Google and their company website can provide me. Also by this time, I am confident in knowing that at least on a baseline level, I have some (if not all) of the experience items on the company’s wish list of skills for the position. Once you qualify to be in a room with a recruiter or a person of importance with said company, it’s a whole other level and let the interviewing games begin:
Do they ask the same old tired, standard stock questions?
Do they ask you to provide examples of heroic work events?
How would your past supervisors and managers describe you?
What was your greatest accomplishment at ABC Corporation?
Can you detail a time when you had to diffuse a difficult customer situation?
Tell me something about your last job that I wouldn’t know from your resume?
What did you like most about your last position?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
And so on and so forth. Sometimes the potential employer will add another interviewer or two to the mix. Why this is done, I’m not entirely sure but it seems to be happening more and more often. Your interview experience becomes almost an ‘in the round’ discussion where you feel like you can disassociate from your body and have that TV/movie camera walking around the room to get the different angles and perspectives of the interviewers. No matter how the interview recipe is put together, eventually all the questions are asked and the mutually considering parties involved thank one another for their time before finishing with a handshake or handshakes. The candidate leaves the site of the interview and internally gauges how he/she thinks the interview went in terms of a potential offer being extended from the potential employer. Back inside the potential employer’s lair, the powers that be are probably repeating the interview formula with a few more candidates or possibly several more spanning hours, days and weeks.
Sliding back to the last moments or minutes of the interview from a candidate perspective, generally one of the questions I ask, if it has not already been addressed by the interviewing parties, is an expected timeframe for a decision to be made and an offer extended to the preferred candidate. Obviously in the employment hiring process the company conducting the interview(s) holds the majority of the power over the situation and the candidate is essentially powerless until an offer is actually made. If the prospective employer expresses a desire to fill the position soon or some other generically vague timeframe, then there is not much to get excited about from an urgency standpoint. This is especially true if the company is doing multiple rounds of interviews and getting additional management levels of personnel involved; thus drawing their process out for weeks or potentially months. But for those other instances where your interviewer gives you a hard deadline, then there is some traction and anticipation that the candidate can mentally manage and use to set up their own follow up process.
Raise your digital hand if you have ever gone on an interview and got the vibe that you ‘nailed it’. I think most of us have been in those shoes at least once or twice if not more. Of those times, can you recall your point of contact for the employment opportunity stating that they would like to make a decision by ‘X’ date? Again, hand still in the air. Now for the aggravating part: the deadline comes and goes with no relayed decision. As a candidate you did your part: sent a physical note or a thank you e-mail to the point of contact for the position thanking them for their time and other niceties. But for whatever reason, they did not hold up their end of the deal by delivering (to you) a decision by the time indicated. Granted, sometimes unforeseen things happen that delay the process and those people are given a pardon. However, I’ve seen it happen often to myself and others where the potential employer for whatever reason just didn’t follow through as they should have.
I know some of you will say, well it goes back to what you said above, the potential employer holds all the cards or power in that situation. If you, as a candidate, are really interested in the offer, you will just have to play along until they do wrap up whatever delay caused them to not be expedient in their process.
Right now I would like to turn the direction of this post directly to speak to those potential employers.
Delaying your interactions with preferred candidates can cause you to lose out on your top choices. How you ask? What if your top candidate is also interviewing with a competitor and they make a similar offer but do it in a way that makes the candidate feel targeted and more important instead of just another body they are considering? What if that candidate preferred your company over the competitor but your lack of follow through gave them doubts about company’s integrity of deadlines and promises? If I’m not even on board yet and you are not valuing my time and potential value to the company, how will I be valued and managed once I am in the door or five years from now?
As someone who has been on both sides of the job fence: needing a job desperately versus considering an employment offer as an upgrade; I can speak to my personal dissatisfaction each time a potential employer failed to hold to their word. In two separate instances, I decided not to accept my first choice of employment because of the company’s egregious waste of my time and indifference to common courtesy of keeping me informed of their alleged interest.
In today’s fast-paced business environment, there are very few companies that have excess time to waste by making mistakes in the hiring process. If you invest time and resources into a candidate and he/she does not work out, you have lost time and productivity only to have to reinvest in the process once again. So my free advice to any employer: do it right the first time and be mindful of the people behind the resume. Your company’s time usage is critical but your candidates deserve the same consideration and respect. Do not leave them twisting in the wind because they may not be there for your company’s need if you do.
I hope you found this piece interesting or at least mildly thought provoking no matter which side of the desk or counter you find yourself. In writing these business pieces, I feel like I am validating years of frustrations and relaying many unspoken observations. If you disagree, that is certainly your prerogative.
Have a great week and good luck out there in your world of business.