On-site Interviews, Necessary and Wasteful
You have been doing your homework on the new company you’re targeting. You think you may even know more than the average employee working there does. You also made it through a couple of phone screens which landed you an onsite interview. Congratulations, the next step may excite or devastate your moral.
You have heard this speech many times from a variety of places, prepare, prepare, prepare. The only problem is this tune is only played for the candidates trying to land a position. Who is playing the same tune for the employees that will be interviewing you for your coveted position? My long term experiences from inside hiring as well as being the candidate, no one.
I have been somewhere between shocked to appalled at the lack of preparation and respect many companies have for incoming candidates. Why are you supposed to bring in extra copies of your resume? Because the people that should have read about your background before the interview just came in cold and are winging their portion because they can. And of course they are busier and more important (in their eyes) than you, just ask them. They ask some canned questions, use up all but five minutes of the interview time, and then politely ask you if you have any questions with a smirk.
This process happens in all sizes of companies. The mid-size to larger companies might ask you to go through the STAR method. S – Situation, T-Task or target, A – Action, what you did, R – Results of your actions with pre-picked topics to help cover their back for the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) numbers. Just play along. The real problem with the process is most of the topics have little to nothing to do with the actual approved job requirements, and the whole team gets confused in the ‘voting’ process for the EEO activity they nominate the least qualified candidate! Some of these things I have experienced just can’t be made up.
So now where are we as you sit patiently in the lobby waiting for your first interviewer? First realize this is just a job opportunity, and you will not be in control of the process. If you can’t control the situation don’t stress over it. If the interview is a cluster, the company’s day to day activities/culture probably will be reflective of the same symptoms. If the interviews are going well, smile and give it your all. Remember, all the candidates lose the position except one. Don’t bet your life, career, or your self-worth on any job opening. They are fraught with incompetence throughout the process. Good luck, stay relaxed and move on with your life no matter what the outcome is. You are the only one you can count on.