Hurdles or Opportunities? Print
Written by Abby Kohut   

I received a question for tonight's Career Wake Up Call that makes a great blog topic, so I decided to answer that question here. It is this particular job seeker's impression that companies have been taking longer to make decisions about applicants. Moreover, companies have added additional hurdles for candidates to jump through. While this can seem frustrating on the surface, there can be a silver lining in all this.

The question that I received is: "Several years ago it seemed to be the norm to go through two or three rounds of interviews before an offer was made. Nowadays, it seems that the norm is four or five rounds. (a) Is this fairly common now? (b) Why is this? Are companies being extremely cautious now?"

When I first read the question, a smile came over my face as it evoked a memory from my own interviewing days back in the 90's. I had responded to an ad in the NY Times for a Recruiting Manager job at a prestigious NYC based company. From the ad, I knew that I had the perfect background for this job. I could tell from the ad that the culture was fast paced and entrepreneurial so since I was driven to succeed, I would.

A call came several days after I applied. I was ecstatic and looking forward to my interview. I went to the store and bought a new suit for the occasion. I was ready to play the interviewing game..

The first interview went perfectly. I connected well with the Director of HR, my potential new boss. I answered everything as best as I could and I was sure this was going to be my new job. Before I had time to celebrate, he told me that I needed to come back to see the VP of HR on another day.

I aced that interview too. Our personalities clicked. The job was mine… or so I thought. I was told that I had to come back to see someone else in HR. And then I was told after that interview that there was another one. I ended up coming back for a total of 6 interviews on 6 different days. That meant 6 days of leaving early from work, 6 cab rides, 6 different suits, 6 different quick changes in the cab, and 6 days of being at the top of my game. I never complained. Eventually, I landed the job and stayed for half of my HR career.

Here's an interesting tidbit worth mentioning. I later found out from my new boss that I was the only candidate in the running since interview number two but they still kept bringing me back for four more interviews. Regardless of why they did it, I realized that I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. It was beneficial for both parties.

  1. By the time I started, I knew that six people were on my side.  The HR department had achieved "buy in" which meant that those six people would help me succeed.

  2. I had met six people – I knew what each of their goals were which meant that I knew what my goals should be in order to be successful.

  3. Rarely on your first day do you know the team you will be working with. Knowing 6 people reduced my first day anxiety tremendously.

  4. Because these six people met me, they knew what my capabilities were and what projects they could give me early on. I had a huge jump start on day one.
Absolutely Abby’s Advice:
It's true that some companies are being pickier these days and asking candidates to prove themselves time and time again. Others have been picky from day one. The goal is for you to demonstrate your friendliness and flexibility at all times and NEVER act as if you are irritated with or impatient about their decisions, because that will take you out of the running faster than you can imagine. Instead, keep smiling and keep the stories you share during your interviews consistent. Most of all, enjoy the journey… because one day you will look back and smile about the hurdles you jumped through the way I am smiling now about mine.