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Why so many interviews? Why companies keep asking you back.

How many interviews

Another interview????!!!!

How many interviews?

Just how many interviews does it take to land an offer?  You have had the phone screen, met the recruiter and a couple of members of the hiring team in person and the hiring manager.   You have just been called in for yet ANOTHER face to face meeting and you are wondering WTF is up.  How many interviews does it take to figure this out?  Can’t they figure this out?    You hang up the phone happy you are still talking but shaking your head and asking yourself “How many interviews?” How many interviews does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? If you are being asked to come in for another interview, remember this:  YOU ARE STILL IN THE GAME.  YOU HAVE NOT HEARD A “NO”.  This is a great thing.  Remember: the goal of any meeting “is to get the next meeting”. Which of the two would you rather hear?

We would like you to come back in to meet with some more of the team

or a voicemail on your phone:

The team liked you, but we decided to move forward with candidates that more closely fit the job description.  We will keep your resume on file for future openings”.

F@#$ ME!!!!   What did I do wrong?  Read this if you have said, “I was perfect for that job!!!” A lot of reasons, all business related, not in any particular order why you may be asking yourself  “how many interviews?” One of the reasons is that the company is testing your patience.  This isn’t the only reason you will have multiple interviews, but you will be surprised how many candidates feel like they are not making any progress and “mentally break”.   Candidates literally self-select themselves out of a job by voicing concerns on the following:

  • The company doesn’t move fast enough
  • The company can’t make a decision

The company may be moving slow, but at the end of the day, the company is looking for someone who fits the company culture.  The company holds all the cards, and you want the offer (maybe not the job, but you do want the offer).  Trust me, if I hear your frustration, I see yellow flags waving because your frustration is an indication of how you will handle stress and the uncontrollable situations in the work environment.  Frankly, I am glad these yellow flags show themselves.  I would much rather have a candidate show their true colors BEFORE they are hired and send me back to the drawing board.  A candidate that becomes easily frustrated as a hired employee is a problem for the hiring manager which becomes an HR problem.  In case you haven’t figured it out, I don’t like HR problems.    We all know that the interview process produces hap-hazard results.  It isn’t the person that is most qualified that gets the job, it is the person that knows how to interview that receives the job offer.  How many times have we worked in groups where the team hired a dud?  This is why many companies feel that longer interview loops will increase the odds of weeding out duds.  (And these longer loops usually do weed out the whiners.) With today’s team dynamics, companies are not hiring individual contributors, they are building teams.  For high performance, teams need to buy into the addition of another team member.  A manager showing up to a team and announcing “Hey guys, this is Jim, he is our new salesperson.  Make him feel welcome” with no prior history or interaction isn’t going to fly these days.   This is the equivalent of an “arranged marriage” or worse, a shotgun marriage.   I personally wouldn’t want to be introduced to a new hire to a group this way and I don’t want my manager dumping some new rube on me without warning.  This is why you are asking yourself “how many interviews are they going to put me through?”

Different people on the team are going to ask you different questions.  All interviewers may ask you similar questions, but many interview loops are pre-planned where the various interviewers have a specific role or are supposed to probe and ask around different topics.  If good cop – bad cop comes to mind, it may be on purpose.   Candidates can fake sincerity with one person, maybe two, but most companies realize that you aren’t going to keep up your “fake” act over the course of 4-6 interviews.  You will react differently with interviewers from different cultures, of different sexes, and with different levels of experience and age. As more and more employers focus on employees as their number one asset, they want to protect this asset.  Bringing in strong players helps the company.  Bringing in strong players that are assholes can send a strong team to search for new jobs. 

One or two interviews can be ineffective.  Multiple interviews will help flush out potential liabilities

Multiple interviews may be the result of the company not yet being convinced you are “the one”.  If you are getting called in more than you feel you should be, OR, you are being asked to go through additional “hoops”, politely ask the recruiter or hiring manager if they feel you are missing any skill sets or qualities.  Remember, at this point, the hiring company is invested.  They WANT you to work out.  They are probing and questioning you to find out some pretty specific information about your prior experience.  You asking the question will save everyone a lot of time.  A few good probing questions that can be asked (without the attitude of course):

  • Is there any skill sets that I am missing or you would like me to elaborate on?
  • What might hold me back from being considered for this position?
  • Are you considering any other candidates?  Is there anything I am lacking compared to them?

Give specific EXAMPLES and specific instances where you demonstrated the requested skill set when you answer the above questions.  Use names of companies, names of clients, names of co-workers and quantify your results with numbers and percentages. You may be asking yourself “how many interviews does this take” but as the candidate WANT to know as many people on the team as possible.  This will help YOU make an informed decision and give you more data on the team you will be working with.  If you meet the one “nice guy” on the team, and the rest of the team are ogres, you are “out of luck”.

Ask questions of the team members.  If you are getting inconsistent answers from different team members, this should be a yellow flag for you and deserves clarification and deeper digging on your part.

Even if you have had your questions answered, ask the same question to multiple people.  Keep asking questions because your lack of questions asked will be interpreted as a lack of interest.  

Remember, if you are getting called in for yet – another interview: THIS IS A GOOD THING!  YOU ARE STILL IN THE GAME.  YOU HAVE NOT HEARD A “NO”.  The goal of an interview “is to get the next/many interviews”

See you at the after party,


nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.

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