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In Her Own Words Multiple interviews may be best way to go

  • Published Wednesday, June 25, 2014, at 5:57 p.m.


Here’s the challenge for employers and job applicants: Find the right mix between making speedy and not-so-speedy hiring decisions.

I’ve often heard from – and written about – applicants and their unhappiness with having to go through multiple interview rounds, often spread over several weeks. But here’s a different wrinkle.

Recently, a well-qualified applicant for a position told me he was dismayed to hear that a one-hour interview session before a panel of department heads was all he’d get. He had looked forward to an expected second round of interviews.

Don’t mistake his complaint for sour grapes. He wanted the job, but his reaction was philosophical and based on years of human resources experience.

Especially when hiring from outside the organization, the applicant said, it’s crucial to have more than one interview. Some job hunters may wow an initial interviewer but not impress others, or vice versa. And some organizations may need a more detailed eye on candidates to ensure whoever is hired has the exact skills needed.

When the tables were turned – this job hunter has done some hiring – he said he always required more than one interview, and he’s even varied the time of day when interviews occurred.

Many interviewers have different perceptions about how the applicant performed and even give varying degrees of attention to the interview, depending on the time of day and how their workdays are going. Many applicants perform at different energy levels depending on whether they’re morning people or do better at other times of the day.

A first-line manager may get all the information and impression needed after a single interview to hire an entry-level worker. But one-and-done interviewing can be dangerous for higher positions. The goal should be multiple interviews – but within days, not weeks.

Diane Stafford is a business writer who focuses on workplace issues at the Kansas City Star. Reach her at stafford@kcstar.com.

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