After more than two decades in the Executive Search
business, I have learned a lot about what goes into a
successful hire. I try to impart my knowledge to both hiring
managers and candidates. Nevertheless, at many job
interviews I find myself listening to questions that make me
cringe and answers that make me want to cry.
Now it's my turn to talk.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Decide and Conquer

The following is a sentence from our book, From Interview Disaster To Interview Master.

It has always been my philosophy that if a candidate is going to walk away from an opportunity, the sooner he or she takes the first step on that walk, the better for all involved.

The invitation to a first job interview can be alluring for many reasons.  A recruiter’s call serves to reassure you that you a desirable commodity when your terrible boss doesn’t.  A chance to improve your salary or your title may be attractive.  And, of course, there’s the chance of escaping the hell hole.

So you can be excused from accepting a first interview for the wrong reasons. But after the first interview… not so much.

During a typical first interview, if all goes well, a huge amount of information is exchanged.  As a candidate, you are responsible for asking questions and collecting information about job content, work expectations, corporate direction, and company goals, then using the information to determine whether your interest in a position is real and reasonable.  If it is not, it is up to you to make a swift decision to terminate the process unilaterally, even if you are invited back for Round 2.

Human nature being what it is, occasionally a candidate will shape reality to make a position seem more desirable than it is in order to justify continuing the interview process and keeping the dream alive.  It is critical to man up and see what is there not what you want it to be.  If the commute is going to be crushing or your potential boss keeps her broom in the corner of her office, take the hint.  Kill the interview process.

A second or even third interview leading toward a hire that will never happen is a waste of time and energy on the part of each person involved.   Coordinating the calendars of two or more busy professionals to schedule job interviews is a task that may involve using valuable vacation time or hours from a participant’s overloaded work schedule.  When a lengthy interview process is destined for failure, it can leave all participants in the process (recruiter, employer, and candidate) alienated and unhappy.  Believe me, when the reason for turning a job down after four interviews is the commute, homicide is on the radar screen.

I urge candidates to be as analytical and rational as possible when assessing a job opportunity.  And did I mention QUICK?  The earlier you make your decision, the better for all involved.

An honest “thank you but no thank you” after the initial interview will serve you very well.  You never know when the person you turn down will show up at a company that you really wish to join.  It is better not to be remembered in a negative way. 
And finally, there are better and much more enjoyable ways of wasting time (many involving alcohol consumption) than participating in job interviews for a job that you will never take. 

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