As we complete the first month of the New Year, we find ourselves in a very incredibly unique market. On one hand, there are significantly more opportunities available to candidates as the hiring climate has significantly recovered. However, offsetting this is the fact that hiring organizations are more selective than they have been in recent memory, which can make accessing a specific opportunity incredibly difficult.
Part of this rather finicky approach materializes in an elongated interview process. According to Sue Shellenbarger of The Wall Street Journal, it is taking employers nearly twice as long to come to a hiring decision as it did just a few years ago. The reason for this is both simple and frustrating for a candidate: Beginning in 2008, companies downsized and had to run lean for several years. While they can now finally hire someone, they are going extra lengths to make sure they do not make a mistake. As a result, the interviewing and vetting process is more arduous than ever before.
As an example, we recently helped one of our client’s hire an Accounting leader. The candidate’s first interview with the hiring company was on Nov. 2 – almost three months earlier. In the past, the hiring process would have concluded in 4-6 weeks.
According to Shellenbarger, for job seekers to perform well during decision-making marathons, both a thick skin and new skills are required.
Below are some Do’s and Don’ts that she recommends:
Find creative ways to keep in touch with a hiring manager during the process. Emailing a hiring manager an article of mutual interest, or a congratulatory email if the company has won an award, etc., ensures that a candidate is paying attention to the company and keeping his/her candidacy at the front of the hiring manager’s mind without seeming obvious or desperate.
Communicate if you receive an offer from another company during the process. If news of a competing offer is shared with a candidate’s top choice, the organization may accelerate the process to make sure they do not lose out on that candidate. Or, at the very least, the company may communicate a status update, whereby the candidate can then make an educated decision about the offer at hand.
Call the employer to ask “Is there anything I can do? Is there anything you need?” Candidates who get nervous or angry during the process tend to send off signals of desperation. Instead, candidates should do what they can to gain confidential updates from trusted contacts inside the company or a recruiter when one is in involved.
Fish for specifics such as “How many other candidates are you considering?” as this suggests you are overly concerned about the competition where instead you should be projecting confidence in your own candidacy.
What are some other ways to navigate the tough interview process? Comment below and let us know!