Job candidates decry interview marathons

03/28/2014 8:00 AM

03/25/2014 1:11 PM

Many job hunters are running interview marathons — and are tired of it. They’re weary of hiring practices that drag out job interviews for weeks in a nerve-wracking and often financially hurtful process.

Understandably, employers are wary of making hiring mistakes and have created extensive applicant filters to weed out the least acceptable candidates. Also understandably, it can be vital for several people to weigh in on candidates.

Ideally, a series of back-to-back interviews can be set on a single day, especially for finalists visiting from out of town. Though stressful, that’s a manageable interview marathon.

More common and more frustrating, though, are interview marathons that start with one or two phone screenings, usually with human resource officials, sometimes days apart. Then days, maybe weeks later, there’s an initial in-person interview with a potential manager, probably after routine background checks are made.

If the front-line manager signals thumbs up, the candidate often is invited back for more interviews and maybe more skills or personality testing. There may be a meal or group meeting with future co-workers.

Still getting favorable nods? Depending on the position, there are more interviews with higher ups in the company to gauge “fit” — often days, if not weeks, later, depending on their busy calendars.

Meanwhile motivated job candidates are left hanging. They don’t want to look desperate by asking if they’re still in the running. They’re afraid to push for a timetable. They want to show continued interest without irritating or offending.

The bottom line for job candidates: Never pin all your hopes on one offer. Keep pursuing all options until you have the job.

The takeaway for employers: Pursue candidates with alacrity. The good ones may not wait for your process to grind on.

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