Keeping Up With Marathon Job Interviews

One jobseeker was stymied by a good/ bad problem:  on the positive front, she was getting called in by employers to interview several times; on the negative side, these marathon interviews didn’t result in offers.  How do you stay fresh throughout these marathon interviews?

There are a few issues here.  First of all, congrats to jobseekers on getting to the later stages of the process.  This means that the market recognizes your value, and you must be communicating that effectively.  You’re not going to get every offer where you’re a finalist because things happen out of your control – the job opening changes, the budget disappears, someone internal takes to spot.  This is why it’s good to have multiple companies in play.

However, you will need to find a strategy for getting through multiple interview rounds because many companies, especially in a down market, are being extra picky with their decisions.  There are several types of interviews, each with its own unique protocol and challenges.  Here are some tips for common types of interviews:

Phone interview.  Most first rounds or prescreens for first rounds are on the phone.  Pick a quiet spot for the call.  Stand up to avoid getting too informal and colloquial with your language.  Have water, resume, and whatever else you need already by the phone prior to the interview.  You don’t want background noise as you fumble around for things.

First round interview.  The first round interview covers a range of topics, mostly dealing with your experience, your motivation and your knowledge of that specific company/position.  Practice answering common interview questions (out loud!) about these topics.  Tell a compelling story about who you are.  Be able to speak about everything listed on your resume.  Know basic information about the company and position, and have a list of intelligent questions to ask.

Subsequent interviews.  These interviews are designed to cover what the first interview does not.  You’ll need more depth to your answers from above and additional intelligent questions about the company/ position.  At this point, the company also knows whatever weaknesses appeared from previous interviews, so be prepared to address these.

Sell interview.  Sometimes an interview is designed to get a candidate interested in the job.  Perhaps, the company wants to gauge the candidate’s reaction before extending an offer.  Don’t lose your guard during sell interviews.  If you don’t have an offer in hand, don’t assume one is forthcoming.  Conduct yourself in a professional manner.  Be nice to everybody.  Use these interviews for research, and pay attention to what the company is telling you.  The information will be handy for offer negotiations.

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