Since the job market slowed in 2008 we have generally seen companies tend to take more time in their interview/selection process when hiring. I believe it comes down to a combination of things. First everyone is expected to do more with less. When translated to the interview process this simply means the interviewers are far busier than they were previously; schedules are not as readily available to conduct interviews. Secondly it is also a result, I believe, of hiring managers believing that they can be far more selective in their search process. Finally, I believe hiring managers are also under the impression that people will be available longer because there are fewer opportunities.
Whatever the reasons, the selection process has indeed slowed. However, there are always exceptions. There are always going to be hiring managers that meet a candidate and immediately know that is the person they want to bring on board. The process moves quickly and then everyone is caught off guard because that simply is not the expectation.
Recently I have been working on a search for a client. This client is very good to work with and they always try to keep things moving along; however, given the nature of the search the candidate pool is shallow so just coming up with qualified candidates is a challenge.
So I meet an individual that is qualified and interested in speaking with the client. This professional is not actively looking but was interested in both the location of the opportunity as well as the company and the opportunity overall.
I presented the candidate to the client company. Within a week of the referral they flew the candidate into their office. After the interview, the client had an offer ready to present. This is definitely the exception verse the typical scenario. But the result was a very unprepared candidate. Because the speed at which the client moved caught me by surprise as well as the candidate, the candidate immediately went to reaction mode, that is, “Oh my gosh that was fast, I don’t know that I am prepared for this” type of thinking.
So how could this have been prevented? I should have done a better job in preparing the candidate mentally for this possible scenario. So I dropped the ball. I should have had more conversations with the candidate setting the stage. The candidate has a relative who lives in the area where the client is located and they had made several trips to the area. So that was covered. The candidate had discussed everything with their spouse so that was covered. It was more of the emotional part that I should have better prepared the candidate for.
My scenario was a bit unique because the candidate was not actually exploring the market, but I still believe there is a lesson that can be learned from this experience……if you are a job seeker and you commit to going on an interview, you should be committed to the process. Candidates should realize that if they go on an interview, an offer very well may follow. Realizing that is a possibility, they must be mentally committed to that part of the process and be prepared on how they will handle an offer should it come. Receiving an offer should always be the ultimate goal out of an interview. Whether you accept it or not is another story. Always better to have received an offer than not get one at all. So if that possibly does exist and it should, you must prepare yourself. So when it happens you are prepared to react accordingly verse going into reaction mode and coming across as though you were not prepared. So job seekers, cover your bases:
- Research the area where the company is located in advance.
- Check out the community as best you can.
- Explore schools if that is going to be part of the process.
- Explore cost of living. More importantly, buying power. How is your buying power impacted?
- Learn as much as you can about the company. Think everything through prior to the interview asking yourself, "Okay, what if I get an offer? What else do I need to know to determine if this is something I wish to pursue?"
- But above all, only go on an interview if you are truly interested in making a job change (if it is the right opportunity naturally). But don’t go on an interview unless you truly believe deep inside your heart that you are ready to make a change.