On December 9, 2009 we hosted a webinar entitled, "The Anatomy of the Interview Process". During the presentation we discussed how a company's interview process is their formalized relationship building practice. Our goal was to convey to job seekers the fact that like all relationships, the interview process is designed to evolve in stages. Therefore, a key contributor to interviewing success is respect for the process.

To illustrate these stages we loosely compared the interview process to the stages of forming a long term romantic relationship. These stages were labeled as:
  • The Screening - “The Interest Building Stage”
  • The Telephone Interview - “The Curiosity Stage”
  • First Round Interview - “The Present Compatibility Stage”
  • Second Round Interview - “The Future Compatibility Stage”
  • Final Interview - “The Proposal”
  • The Offer - “The Confirmation”
  • The Trial Period - “The Honeymoon”
We understand that when people are on the job market, interviewing can feel like a "David and Goliath" situation, but when it comes down to David won. When you interview, keep in mind that it is a meeting between equals. The company has a problem and they are hoping that you are the solution. If you feel that you are, help them to see it. You can't do that if you are hiding behind a fear that they will reject you, nor can you be clear if you don't realize that their process is meant to protect them from making a hiring mistake.

It's all about relationships and we all know what it is like to learn lessons from previous relationships. Well companies do too and often times their interview process reflects that. To go a little deeper, let's explore some hypothetical situations that can hurt a companies feelings.

Long Commute - Long distance relationships are hard. We've tried them before and had an unpleasant experience. One of our best employees left us for a company closer to home. It was hard to see them go. Since then we are only interested in people within a certain mile radius.

Too Much Pay - "More attractive" offers are hard to pass up. We once hired someone who was "willing to take a considerable pay cut for the opportunity to be a part of our company". Three months in she was offered a deal that was an increase on her previous salary. That put us behind on a critical project. Now we only look at people that have salaries within our range or are extremely close.

Career Level - We once hired a Sr. VP who "longed to return to his individual contributor days". From the first day there were challenges. He had no patience for his coworkers with less experience and tried to assume the lead on every project he was a part of. Despite his talent, we had to let him go for morale reasons. From now on we pay attention to the previous roles our candidates have held.

Former Employees - We once hired a former employee who left the company for a better deal. Three years later she applied and was hired for a position similar to the one she held previously. By six months it was obvious that she wasn't happy. She cited that the company was not as she remembered it. Now we treat hiring former employees very delicately.

We hope that stories told in this context will help job seekers see the human element of the interview process. Understanding that a lot of the decisions made in the hiring process are not personal cannot only help you to stay motivated throughout your job search, it can also empower you to address the circumstances from the company's point of view. That's engagement--something you should always be mindful of when building relationships.

If you'd like to hear more insight on subtleties of the interview process visit the links below from our webinar:

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