Ms. Candi Date started to look for her next opportunity. This was the first time in years that she had to find a new opportunity after spending the last 15 years at her last company. She was nervous, anxious and excited all at the same time. At the advice of her colleagues she spent time getting her resume together and started searching for opportunities and submitting an application for open jobs.

After several weeks and over 50 applications, Candi finally got a response and received an interview request for a phone screen. The internal recruiter told her that she was going to be speaking with Mr. Manny Jerr, who was the hiring manager for the position. Candi Date started researching the organization, formulated questions and practiced potential interview questions prior to her phone screen.

Candi dialed into the call 5 minutes early and waited for the hiring manager to join the call. After a few minutes, Mr. Manny Jerr dialed in and started the interview. Manny kicked off the call asking questions on Candi’s resume, past work history, projects and overall experience. He also briefly explained the opportunity and allowed Candi to ask a few questions. Afterward Candi was excited and Manny told her they were interviewing other candidates, and HR would be in touch in the next couple weeks if they were going to move forward.

Two weeks went by and still Ms. Candi Date hadn’t heard anything from the company. Finally, three weeks after her phone screen, she received an email explaining that the company would like her to come in for a face-to-face interview with the team and manager. In her excitement, Candi went into full interview prep mode and spent the next few days polishing her interview skills and getting ready for the team meeting.

On the day of the face-to-face interview, Candi, dressed for success, arrived early, checked in with security and waited for her interview. She was first greeted by HR who gave her a brief tour of the office and introduced her to a couple team members. Candi then spoke with one of the team leads for 30 minutes, who drilled down on a few technical questions, and had her work through a few different scenarios. Candi thought she answered the questions well, as she had prepared for the interview and the team lead seemed pleased with her answers. After the meeting with the Team Lead, Candi was introduced to Mr. Manny Jerr for the final part of the interview. They spoke for 45 minutes and Manny went into greater detail on the job, asked a few qualifying questions and spoke to the direction the organization was headed. Finally, Manny politely answered Candi’s questions and let her know he enjoyed meeting with her, at this time she was a top candidate and they would be in touch after they finished their round of interviews.

Candi left the interviewing feeling positive and truly enjoyed meeting with Manny, the team lead and a few of the employees. She also knew there wasn’t a question she didn’t answer correctly as she had prepared for the interview. Again, two weeks went by as Candi waited patiently by the phone for a response. Finally, after two-and-a-half weeks, she received an email from HR thanking her for the time but stating “they have decided to offer the position to an internal candidate.” They went on to explain “that if any additional opportunities arose they would reach back out to her for further consideration.”

Disappointed and discouraged, Candi reflected back on the opportunity and pondered what she could have done differently.

Many individuals have been in similar situations, but how many times have you asked yourself the following questions? These might help as you continue your job search or begin a transition for the first time.

  • Candi spent a lot of time preparing for this opportunity. How does she know if the company/manager/etc. was also prepared to interview? Additionally, how would she have prepared differently if she assumed the hiring manager was bad at interviewing or might not be ready to decide?
  • Fact: Over 70% of jobs are filled through networking and some estimate over 90% for higher level positions. Knowing this, why are you spending all your time submitting your application to online jobs?
  • How can you flush out if there is an internal candidate earlier in the process? What questions can you ask of the manager to ensure they are looking externally?
  • In this scenario the interview process took over 6 weeks (many opportunities can take 3+ months).  What could Ms. Candi Date have done to take control and expedite the process?
  • If you’ve been told you’re a “top candidate” what questions can you ask the manager to help them finalize their decision? (This could save everyone a lot of time).

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