Interviewing can be stressful!

Interviewing is tough, but it can be easy to forget about that experience when part of your job is getting candidates hired at your company.

Oftentimes, unfortunately, the processes that we use aren’t nearly as effective as we think. To get a better idea of the pitfalls in the hiring process, I sat down with three individuals from three different trades (sales, education research, and social services) at three different points in their job search to get their feedback on their experiences.

For the sake of anonymity, all interviewees will only be identified by their initials.

***Work in recruiting? Scroll to the bottom for tips on how to avoid the negatives that our interviewees spoke of.

1) J.S. (Currently Interviewing)

What better person to start with than someone who’s currently in the process? For my first interview, I sat down with J.S., who works in sales and has been looking for a job for the past 8 months. For J, the interview experience is still fresh and very much a part of their day-to-day life:

How many companies have you applied to?

Within the last 3 months alone I’ve applied to about 70 jobs. I obviously didn’t hear back from all of them but I’ve interviewed at a few.

Generally, how do you feel about interviews? Is there anything you like about them?

Well, I certainly have been getting a lot of experience doing them! I do have to say that I kind of like interviewing because It’s a chance for me to showcase my skills in different environments and for the role I’m applying for.

However, a lot of interviewers ask the same, really generic questions. I wish more interviewers asked me area or career-specific questions instead of always asking me to talk about a time I “struggled” or my “greatest strength.”

Are irrelevant questions your least favorite part of the interview process?

No, actually. It’s the long wait times. I’m not talking about the time after you apply, it’s when you’re waiting to hear back from them after the second round interview to schedule the next round.

Where I’m at in my career, hiring is pretty fast-paced. So if I don’t hear back from them after 2 business days I get pretty frustrated, to be honest.

So what’s your favorite part of the interview process?

I love asking the interviewer questions because it gives me a chance to experience the company and their culture. There aren’t really many opportunities to see firsthand what working at that company is really like, so this is my chance to see how the interviewer reacts and if they actually like their company or not.

Does the quality of the interview impact your decision to move forward with a company?

Yes, it would definitely impact it. Company culture is super important to me, and if I can tell from the interview that the way we work doesn’t align, I know I wouldn’t be happy at that company. Sales is a high-pressure working environment, and if I didn’t get along with a member of the team it would really damage the company, their time, and my career growth.

2) S. H. (Recently Started a New Job)

For our next interview, I saw down with S.H., who works in social services and just started at a new company about 3 months ago.

Congratulations on the new job! About how long did it take to find a new position?

Thank you! It was way faster than I expected! I only applied to about 15 positions and my interview process itself took about 2 months.

How many interviews did you have with the company?

I only had 2 interviews with the company I’m working at now. It’s really hard to find people to fill roles in nonprofits, so I think most companies are looking to fill spots pretty quickly.

Your process was pretty quick! In your experience, what’s usually the most time-consuming part of finding a job?

The longest part is waiting to hear back from companies. When I was applying it took about a month to hear back from anyone. At that point, I thought that I wasn’t qualified or they gave the job to someone else. In this scenario, I typically give a company about 2 weeks before I move on. Even then, I usually keep applying and interviewing during that period just to put myself out there.

Do you like being interviewed?

I don’t like being interviewed. It’s nerve-racking and I’ve found that the interview process is very different at each place I apply to so it’s hard to know what to expect.

What do you like about being interviewed?

I really like learning about the organization and meeting the new people that I talk to. This is especially true when I’m excited about a job! The energy of the interviewers is also really important to me. If I ever get the feeling that they’re not interested in what I have to say or they’re bored, it really throws me off and makes me anxious.

I have to say, though, that I really like group interviews. I enjoy that “community” aspect where we’re all answering questions together instead of one person grilling me on my experience.

If you have a really negative interviewing experience, will that impact whether or not you take the job?

There are other factors besides the interview that play a part when I make a decision to take a job or not. It definitely impacts my feelings, but I think that, in the end, I look more at the organization as a whole and whether I feel passionately about it and their culture.

So, while the interview does play a part, it’s not my sole deciding factor.

3) K. N. (Not Interviewing)

For my final interview, I sat down with K, who is a researcher at a university lab that focuses on child development and education. She last interviewed for a position in the fall of 2017 and isn’t currently looking for a job.

You haven’t interviewed for a while, but what did you like about the interviews you had for your current job?

Honestly, interviewing for me is just a lot of anxiety. I don’t really like “selling” myself or how long the process takes. But, I did like interacting with new people and building that human connection that you have when you interview.

What didn’t you like about interviewing?

I really don’t like phone interviews because I feel like I’m not good at expressing myself if there isn’t body language to accompany it, and it’s just way more difficult to feel comfortable over the phone. I feel like phone interviews are all about eloquence and making an impression, which is just way easier when you can actually see the other person and really interact with them.

You said earlier that you don’t like how long the process takes. What takes the most time?

The period between submitting your application and hearing back from the company. It’s never guaranteed that they’ll take a look at your application, and as an applicant or someone that’s searching for jobs that’s so hard. You always need to constantly apply because there’s no guarantee someone will reply to you.

If you think about it, you’re one fish within an ocean of applications, and that uncertainty can really get to you. Once you start interviewing, though, that process is pretty quick!

Does the interview process impact your decision to move forward with a company?

Absolutely! If I can tell there’s no connection then I don’t want to work there. I’m still young and I still care about my happiness at work, so having that connection with your teammates or coworkers is really important to me.

What Can You Do?

Whether you get face time with a candidate or not, everyone on the recruiting team directly impacts the candidate experience. Here are some ways for you to get started on improving your interviewing and recruiting for candidates:

Work in recruiting? Interested in improving your own recruiting process by sharing ideas with your peers? Join our Talent Innovators’ Community here.

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