The interview process is increasingly becoming a lengthy, highly detailed and in some cases stressful experience for candidates. We all have our nightmare interview stories, but hearing some of the experiences of candidates it seems to be that it is standard practice now for candidates to be very flexible and go out of their way for a job they have no guarantee of getting.
How often as a candidate have you been asked to attend a lengthy interview process of several hours, do a telephone interview outside normal business hours, travel to the company’s head quarters miles away from where the job is based or be subjected to high numbers of interviews for the same role.
The problems these nightmare interview practises create amount to the fact that if you are unemployed and seeking a new job, you may not be able to afford things like long distance travel at short notice. Equally if you are employed and are seeking to change your job, you may not have the time – either holiday or personal to get to interviews at short notice or take part in a longer process.
But should you have to do this? Should candidates expect to have to be more flexible in their approach to interviews and be prepared to exceed the normal level of commitment in order to land that job?
We asked the Chief Executive of a leading Recruitment Firm for some tips to help try and get around and avoid those nightmare interviews:
Ask questions such as “Why do I need to travel there?” & “Is it necessary to travel there?” but whilst retaining a degree of professionalism and seeming flexible. It may be that there is a simple reason which makes you feel better about the need to travel so far. It could also give you an indication as to how you are faring in the interview process, i.e. are they asking you to travel to the head office to meet the rest of the team before making a job offer.
If companies are willing to negotiate on salary then it is possible that they will be willing to change interview locations if they are presented with a valid reason. However, don’t expect them to come to you, maintain a level of flexibility by making a compromise, suggestion a location half way between the two if feasible.
Ask the HR department – or the recruiters – if travel expenses can be claimed back when travelling excessively long distances. Again a level of flexibility must be maintained so don’t attempt to claim travel to another office twenty minutes down the road.
Only agree to attend interviews and phone interviews during business hours, perhaps during lunch-breaks. If interview times outside of work are offered you can turn them down and suggest an alternative. Consider when providing contact details on your CV the possibility of highlighting the phone number given is for business hours to avoid the situation from the beginning.M
Also, don’t forget, you’ve been asked to attend an interview which means the company is interested in you and you have something that they want – jobs work both ways. Plus it never hurts to ask for information, and if you don’t ask you may never know.
Above all, try to strike a balance, for the time being. It’s still an employer’s market and you don’t want to come across as uninterested.