Do not think that an extended hiring process means you will get an offer. Take a look at this recent and actual hiring process that I personally experienced:

  • I submitted my resume to a Security Analyst job posting in late January 2016
  • On Feb 9th, I had a phone Interview with the HR Representative. It was a screening phone call.  I was asked what was an acceptable salary.  I tried to dodge the question by saying that I was sure that I would be paid an acceptable and market salary, but nope, I was forced to answer it anyway.  I lowballed myself by at least 10K. I won’t do that again.
  • Well, they liked me and asked if I would have a phone interview with the hiring manager.  So on Feb 16th, I had a phone interview with the Hiring Manager of the department.  It was 100% tech and I did very well.  He said he “would love to bring me in to meet the Security team”. I was very pumped!
  • On Feb 29th, I had a two-part, panel face-to-face interview: the first panel was an hour-long tech round with four members of the Security Team; the second panel round followed and was also an hour long with the Hiring Manager (who I had phone called with on the 9th) and the HR representative who I had spoken with originally in the process. The tech interview with the security team went extremely well. The second hour was long with several performance based questions and scenarios, and I was nervous, but I thought I did well nonetheless.  BUT: I was blind-sided by the HR rep who asked me, “if you like Security so much, how come you have an employment gap?”.  My brain screamed OUCH. My employment gap was out of my control because I didn’t want to talk about how for a year I was my mother’s sole caregiver while she was receiving end-of-life care.  So I muttered something related to education, but in hindsight, I should have mentioned it.
  • On March 24th – a full three weeks later – I received an email inviting me to come in for a final interview with the Hiring Manager’s manager, which was odd because I thought my interview on Feb. 29th was the final interview. Well, this interview lasted 20 minutes, was enjoyable and I thought it went well. In fact, as I was being escorted to the conference room for the interview by the Hiring Manager, he told me that I was one of the top two finalists for the position.
  • Well, I heard nothing more for two more weeks. So, on April 8th, I wrote to the HR Representative I had interviewed with in February, a very nice, brief note asking about the status of the position, and she wrote back, “The position has already been filled”.

Nice.

A highly esteemed medical teaching university strings me along for two months and doesn’t recognize that I deserve to learn that the job was filled, or, a letter with a recommendation how I could have improved my own interview technique, nor did I even receive a “thank you for applying”.   And here I thought I would have enjoyed working for such an organization.  Lesson: Don’t judge a book by its cover: Just because an organization is famous, huge, and historical, doesn’t make it a good place to work.

The fact is, the hiring process within some organizations is broken – not all organizations, but in a lot of them. And out-of-work workers should not accept that.  If this same thing happens to you like what happened to me, say something. If you don’t hear a status of a job you’ve interviewed for – and I’m only talking about a face-to-face interview – you have a right to know where you stand – and the hiring organization should feel compelled to update you with the status. It’s common courtesy.

No doubt there are a lot of good candidates out there, so you best accept that you will have highly rated competition.  And the issue is not that I didn’t get the job – but it’s all about asking to be respected during the hiring process; kindness should be awarded to all on-site candidates, not just to the one who got the offer, but to all who were invited to come in for an onsite interview.

The lesson here is, never assume you have the job even at the final interview stage.  However, be confident in your skills that you got that far because it means that you are a step closer to achieving your dream job.

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