Each Interview Counts

Dilbert 31

I recently spoke to a [young] friend of mine who is scoping the market, and interviewing for another job with another company. The role reports into someone he knows quite well, who is apparently keen to get him on board. I asked him how it was going.

“Pretty smooth so far. I’ve had four interviews, and all have been quite good, more like conversations than interviews. I know a couple of the people, so it’s been relatively easy so far.”

“Great to hear. So what’s next?”

“Not sure, it’s actually gone quiet lately, and I texted Joe [his boss-to-be] to find out what’s next. He told me the feedback from the interviews was ‘ mixed’, and he’d get back to me soon on next steps.”

“Mixed? Did he give you any detail? That sounds like it may not have gone as swimmingly as you thought, no?”

“I’m not sure. He may have been saying that because maybe they just have other people they’re more interested in.”

“Then why wouldn’t he not simply say so? I think you should assume that at least one of the interviews just didn’t go as well as you thought. Do you remember which one it might have been? Most people know whether an interview went well or pear-shaped.”

“I have to think about it, but I thought they were all good interviews. In any case, it’s Joe’s hire, and if he wants me on board, it’s his budget.”

“Hang on. You need to rethink that. Regardless of whose budget it is, each interviewer is usually given equal weight. Your interviews may not have been as easy as you thought.”

“You may be right, I’ll have to think that through.”

“I wasn’t there, so I cannot say for sure. But what I can say for sure is to never ever assume that because the hiring manager wants to hire you, you’re in. I repeat, every interview counts.”

I’ve seen this more than once, and you have too, no doubt. The process of many interviews is often a cumbersome one, and candidates can get frustrated by the pace, having to re-introduce themselves to numerous people. But it how many companies operate, in order to get a 360 process done, and interviewers will each assess a potential new hire differently. Candidates should not assume they’re a shoo-in because they’re liked by the grandees.

Treat everyone equally, take each interview as an opportunity to learn more about the organisation, use each interaction as collateral for the next round and talk like an insider.
At best, it’ll steer you towards an offer, and at worst, you’ll have made a new set of contacts.

Think about it. ​

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