VOL. 132 | NO. 38 | Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Unreasonable Interview Expectations
BY ANGELA COPELAND
Sometimes, interviews can be the worst. I mean, truly. Doesn’t the hiring manager realize that you have a job, life, spouse, children and existing commitments?
You spend months trying to get your foot in the door for a job interview. You spend all your time filling out applications and updating your resume. You call your references and update your LinkedIn and Facebook accounts.
Then you wait, and wait, and wait.
Until one afternoon, a recruiter calls you. They came across your resume and they have a few questions that they’d like to ask you – today. Suddenly, you’re in a whirlwind of interviews. It’s like interview hell.
Not only do you already have plans, but now you have to cancel those plans and secretly make new plans to sneak out of work. You have to figure out how to wear a suit to your job without anyone noticing that you’re dressed up.
The hiring manager often wants to speak with you on the phone first – almost immediately. And, then they want you to come in person a few days later, for hours. They’re in a hurry after all.
So, what can you do? Well, honestly, you can push out the interview a few days. Heck, they will probably even meet with you next week. It would certainly be more convenient if you could keep your current commitments and interview a few days later.
Unfortunately, this strategy can cause you problems in the long run that you may not have considered. Even though the hiring manager’s expectations are unreasonable, they’re the decision maker. They often will pick the first good person rather than wait around for the best person. And even if you are the best, if you aren’t excited about the role, they will assume you aren’t really interested.
I once had a job interview that included building an entire website to showcase my programming skills. At the same time, I was scheduled to be an extra in a movie. So, I politely asked the hiring manager if the website could be turned in just a few days later to allow me to do both. He was completely understanding.
Well, I built the website and turned it in on time. I worked hard on it, and was very proud of my accomplishment. The hiring manager responded to me with something along the lines of, “Thanks! This is really great. It’s even better than the website made by the person we gave the job offer to.”
Holy cow! Can you believe it? After agreeing to let me finish building a website from scratch just a few days later, the hiring manager hired someone – who wasn’t me!
I could go on about how unreasonable hiring managers are. But the truth is, they’re like your customer. And the customer’s always right – even when they’re not. You’ve just got to decide what’s more important to you: getting the job or keeping your plans.
Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com.