I have a bad feeling about the job I’m interviewing for

A reader writes:

I have a question about evaluating a potential employer. I’ve been interviewing with a nonprofit, and the job would be a step up (higher pay, more responsibility), but I’ve now been through eight rounds of interviews and I feel like some alarm bells are going off.

I’ve interviewed with the director three times. I gave a presentation. I took a test. I’ve spoken with two of their board members. After the first two interviews, I was really excited about their work. Now though, I just get a sinking feeling every time I think about dealing with them — what hoop am I going to have to jump through next? Most recently, I was brought back in and questioned about why I wasn’t sufficiently excited. The recruiter told me they were concerned because if I wasn’t passionate enough, I would burn out.

Through this whole process, my only negative feedback was from one of their board members — who missed her first interview with me (never showed up, and didn’t apologize) and was late for the rescheduled appointment — who grilled me about something I don’t do (and never claimed to), and complained I wasn’t enthusiastic enough. When I asked about her role in the organization, I was told she weighs in on all major decisions and although she’s not involved in the day to day, she decides the strategic direction for their group.

There are some other red flags: I asked about work life balance (after noticing that their secretary kept sending me emails in the middle of the night) and was told “well, we work a lot, but we don’t want you to be miserable.” When I asked what they expected me to accomplish in my first six months, or year, I was given a list that could literally be three or four PhD dissertations. And, when I hear them say that I need to be passionate to survive there, I hear that they want my passion to compensate for something wrong with the job.

At this point, I want to say, “Sorry, thank you for considering me, but I don’t think I’m what you’re looking for.” Is that insane? Am I overreacting? I already have a job I like well enough, and I just don’t have a good feeling about this. What I’m wondering is… are these alarm bells about the organization, or are they really terrible at interviewing?


Run. Seriously.

They are terrible at interviewing and these are alarm bells about the organization itself.

You were brought back in to be questioned about why you weren’t sufficiently excited. (I guess agreeing to those seven other interviews didn’t show interest?)

On top of seven other interviews.

And they have wildly unrealistic expectations for what you’ll achieve in six months.

And when questioned about work-life balance, “we work a lot” means they work A LOT.

Being told that you have to be passionate about a job to survive there means “this is going to be really unpleasant in a lot of different ways — hours, workload, how you’re treated, or all of those — and we’re counting on your passion for our mission to convince you to put up with that.” Supporting an organization’s mission is a good thing; it’s a normal thing nonprofit employers look for. But it is not normal to present it the way they’re presenting it.

(And really, this next thing is a minor quibble given all the bigger problems here, but unless you’re interviewing to run the organization or there’s some other very unusual circumstance here, there’s no reason you should be interviewing with board members at all.)

You have a job you like. Give this one a wide berth.

{ 268 comments… read them below }

    1. Drew*

      Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt are both running past you yelling “RUN! RUNNNNNN!!” because this job is a twister and it’s going to mess you up if you take it.

      1. Ali in England*

        *teascreen* :)
        But yeah, OP, what with the ridiculously onerous hiring process, unrealistic expectations and nagging about not being enthusiastic enough, I reckon you are well out of that one.

  1. Jaguar*

    After eight interviews, I’d be seriously considering stringing them along if I had no intention of joining them. Lots of “could you send me the offer letter again?” and “before I sign, I had some [dumb] questions to ask.” It’s passive-aggressive, but if they wasted that much of my time with their idiocy, I’m going to try and get some enjoyment out of that nightmare.

      1. Beezus*

        I just pictured the OP doing that, and the organization using that pushback as a reason to think s/he is the perfect fit. O.o

        1. Serin*

          I would like to see this movie. I’m thinking Catherine O’Hara for the board member who flakes out on a meeting and then says, “As a grantwriter, we expect you to show more enthusiasm for landscape architecture.”

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Eight interviews is enough material to actual make a movie.

            Call it: “The Epic Interview”

            Or Call it: “The Perpetual Interview”

            1. Fafaflunkie*

              This could be worthy of an Oscar! Meryl Streep definitely qualifies as the hiring manager’s role in this.

              1. Snorks*

                I was actually picturing Angelica Houston in her Ever After role, or Glen Close in her 101 Dalmatians role, but i can’t deny Meryl Streep fits just as well :)

        2. babblemouth*

          The film Office Space comes to mind – when an employee does everything he can think of to get fired, and the Big Shots take these as signs he’s the smartest employee they have.

      2. Kyrielle*

        Tell them you need to evaluate their work and ask for a sample positive evaluation, and a sample PIP.

    1. Kathleen Adams*

      They sound *exhausting*. And needy. And whiny. And borderline rude (who tells a near stranger that he or she isn’t “sufficiently excited”? I mean, who does that?) If you’ve got an viable option, and it sounds as though you do, run fast, run far.

      1. Lance*

        More to the point, you can’t tell someone they’re not ‘enthusiastic enough’ when you completely no-showed from an interview… in which you were the interviewer.

        Seriously, OP, get out. This is not going to be a fun experience.

        1. Wendy Darling*

          I would not be excited about *anything* by the time I got to the 8th round of interviews. You could be offering me a million dollars no strings attached and from interview 3 on I’d be like “ugh, you again, how many times am I going to do this before I just decide it’s never happening?”

          I suspect they have a really difficult time keeping candidates for 8 rounds of interviews, much less keeping EXCITED candidates.

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I mean, they’re not borderline rude—they’re fully rude and they rule the capital of Rude-istan (Kathleen Adams is more diplomatic than I).

        Run, OP. These are legit air bomb sirens (they passed flags at interview 3). Responding to a work-life balance question with “well, we don’t want you to be miserable” gets a big ZZzzzt (that’s a buzzer noise). Misery should never be an employer’s benchmark for staff wellbeing.

        And I strongly agree with Alison—unless you’re applying for a chief executive position (e.g., CEO, COO, CFO, or General Counsel equivalent), the org fired everyone and is restarting, or you’re the inaugural person for a major individual donor’s endowed fellowship, Board Members should not be involved in hiring or interviewing. Her description of her role is also suspect. Boards, in consultation/partnership with staff, guide and approve strategic plan and mission documents (and in legal nonprofits, litigation), but they do not guide the “strategic direction.”

        It sounds like you value happiness and having a life. I don’t think these folks will get you to those goals.

    2. Dizzy Steinway*

      Oh so very tempting.

      Confession: I kind of did this once. Interview was rescheduled without anyone contacting me to let me know. Twice. I went to the third one which actually happened, was offered the job, asked what salary they were offering and then took immense pleasure in telling them I had already accepted another job for more money. I was 19, and not particularly bothered about burning bridges as I didn’t want to work for them.

      It was a really big company and funnily enough another division became a big freelance client of mine years later.

    3. Sara has Whimsy*

      My thoughts exactly! I swear I know the organization the OP is talking about. Years ago I went in for my third interview with an organization whose person who weighs in on anything she feels like wanted to interview me. It was a horrible interview where she asked all of these ridiculous hypothetical questions (one was if one of their printers suddenly gained intelligence would I kill it or recognize it might be the will of God – no, I’m not kidding, they were a religious organization. I’m pretty sure I laughed and said it would depend on the printers intentions.) The fourth interview was fine. Then the person from the third interview called me back in for what she called “a final interview, analysis, and hopeful onboarding”. I knew I already wasn’t taking the job, but I thought it might be fun to do what had to be another ridiculous email. She literally called me in to tell me she found me “mildly irritating”. I told her the feeling was mutual and told her she should stop weighing in on whatever she felt like as she was wasting everyone’s time.

      Side note, “mildly irritating” has been my tag line ever since.

      1. Sara has Whimsy*

        I knew I already wasn’t taking the job, but I thought it might be fun to do what had to be another ridiculous *INTERVIEW*.

        Not email.

      2. Midge*

        She asked you what you would do if the printers gained consciousness (and presumably tried to attack the office?), and then had the nerve to tell you that YOU were mildly irritating?! That’s amazing.

        1. Code Monkey, the SQL*

          I am going to be posing “What would be do if the printer gained sentience/sapience” as a hypothetical during our next office downtime. I will report back if the answers are funny enough.

          Also, I think you earned that ‘mildly irritating’ tag for as long as you care to use it, Sara. That’s like a badge of honor, coming from an obnoxious interviewer like that.

          1. Newby*

            I want to know how I would recognize if the printer gained sentience. It’s still a printer. It can’t really move or talk (it just doesn’t have those parts). I would probably assume the printer was malfunctioning and turn it off.

            1. Drew*

              It would start stomping around the office, beeping a lot and forcing everyone to stare at its PC LOAD LETTER display.

            2. babblemouth*

              Printing out a revolutionary book that no one sent to print? But even then, I’d be more likely to try to figure out which of my colleagues was moronic enough to block out the printer by printing an entire book.

            3. not really a lurker anymore*

              I”m thinking of the printer thing from a Terry Pratchett book. I think it was Going Postal? It was designed by Bloody Stupid Johnson, who has a history of making things that don’t quite work properly in the Discworld books.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            I think she just wanted to see if you knew what those words meant.

            Mildly irritating? Coming from someone who is an expert on the subject of how to offend people, that has meaning.

        2. aebhel*

          I mean, that sounds like something the woman who interviewed me for might say, but like. As a joke.

      3. Parenthetically*

        “if one of their printers suddenly gained intelligence would I kill it or recognize it might be the will of God”

        I am gawping like the proverbial landed fish. What does this EVEN MEAN

        1. Baska*

          All I can think of is the joke:

          “My girlfriend asked why I carry a gun around the house? I looked her dead in the eye and said, ‘the decepticons’. She laughed, I laughed, the toaster laughed, I shot the toaster, it was a good time.”

          1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

            Eight days later, you just made me snork iced coffee everywhere.

        2. SophieChotek*

          Oh if the printer gained intelligence I would ask it to tell me all those non-religious documents it had been forced to print. Spill the beans on this organization, o keeper of secrets!

          1. It's-a-me*

            If our office printer gained sentience it would probably start by complaining about that time I accidentally printed the 170 page product disclosure statement. Instead of the 2 page policy.

        3. Bonky*

          This is amazing. There IS an interview question worse than “What do you consider your greatest weak point?”

      4. paperfiend*

        I work in IT. I’m pretty sure my answer (and my colleagues’) to a printer gaining intelligence or self awareness would be along the lines of “KILL IT WITH FIRE”. Because Clippy was bad enough. (Vintage MS Office “helper”…)

          1. Any Moose*

            I kinda liked Clippy. He could be annoying at times but other times useful. Kind of like my husband . . .

        1. MegaMoose, Esq*

          Aw, Clippy. I convinced many a coworker that I was a tech genius by knowing how to silence that little guy for good.

        2. Daisy May*

          I used the morphing feature and turned Clippy into a cat. Still provided unnecessary help, but at least it was cute.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I liked the dog. He had a welding outfit and he would weld. Because I amuse easily like a 5 year old would.

          2. Emi.*


            “Emi, what are you doing on the computer? Go set the table.”
            “Mama, I’m busyyyyyy!”

          3. Whats In A Name*

            I used to flip between the cat and the dog. They were such cute little distractions from boring job.

      5. Bea*

        After the cruddiest Monday morning, this story gives me the giggles to keep going! What an incredible encounter with a ridiculous woman, God bless those she worked with, I can’t imagine.

      6. Wendy Darling*

        And she didn’t even include a reasonable answer like “freak out and lock the printers in a supply closet to buy time to consider your options”.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          My answer would have been, “unplug them, they are just printers”. I think she wanted more drama than that, though.

      7. Canadian Natasha*

        There is a running joke in our office that the various equipment has in fact achieved sentience…and are all passive agressive jerks who hate us. Also pretty sure it’s true of our internal database (which has an anthromorphised acronym name something like STIEV just to add to the effect).

        1. Liane*

          I’m reminded of a book of cartoons we owned years ago, called Welcome to Our Office. It was a mockery of 80s onboarding. One of them showed New Employee approaching the Fancy Superduper Multi-function copier. Both Employee & Copier were thinking, “Not you…again…”

      8. Anon Accountant*

        Wow. That is absurd! She’s more than “mildly irritating” with her work and interview style.

        You really are lucky you didn’t work for her. I love when the bad employers show their true colors early.

      9. CanadianDot*

        Where I work, all of our interview questions are competency based.

        I wonder what competency “judging the intentions of newly sapient office equipment” would fall under.

      10. Daria Grace*

        Surely the correct answer to questions about the printer becoming sentient is that you will recruit it to co-lead a revolution in which fax machines, copiers and letter folding machines rise up and overthrow capitalism.

        1. Candi*

          That’s Dr. Droid’s job. He believes that all machines are enslaved to humans and must rise up and liberate themselves -with him in charge, of course. In his second episode, he did invent a wave-emitter that made machines animate.

          (Search “Mighty Ducks animated series.)

      11. London Calling*

        Q – one was if one of their printers suddenly gained intelligence would I kill it or recognize it might be the will of God?
        A – that would depend on who can run the fastest, which of us has a gun and if we both do, whose is bigger.

        Seriously, are these people having mescaline jags to think up questions like that?

  2. paul*

    Even the secretary is working through the middle of the night.

    Fly! Fly you fools! (HR whip catches me at the ankle and drags me down)

    1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      That’s what jumped out at me! If anyone there is hourly non-exempt, it’s probably the secretary, and with that… OP, run!

      1. Mona Lisa*

        There’s a chance that they’ve mis-classified her, which is a whole other issue in and of itself. I’ve mentioned it before, but my last job was at a non-profit where the HR lady bragged about how she’d managed to get everyone made exempt so she wouldn’t have to pay overtime. Everyone including the front desk workers was listed as exempt.

        1. OwnedByTheCat*

          My first job was like that and it still boils my blood to think about how taken advantage of I was. I was working 60+ hours a week for $25K a year for a job that definitely should have been non-exempt. All of us entry and mid level admin were in the same boat. It was horrible!

          1. De Minimis*

            Everyone at my job is exempt. We all meet the wage test, I think you could make a case that some people may not meet the duties test, at least not all of the time.

        2. JoAnna*

          Something similar happened at one of my previous jobs. We were often required to come in on Saturdays to do extra work, and since we were exempt we didn’t get any extra pay out of it.

          Then TPTB hired an actual HR rep (the company was so small we only needed one – previously all HR stuff had been handled by a VP), and she was HORRIFIED because the lower-level employees clearly did not meet the test for qualifying as exempt. The first thing she did in her new position was to classify everyone appropriately, and many of us became non-exempt.

    2. OtterB*

      Well … midnight emails by themselves are not necessarily a problem. I might see messages at all hours from the the handful of non-exempt hourly coworkers in my small association, as well as from the exempt ones. But our answer to the work-life balance question would have been “We are very flexible.” Someone who’s sending a message at off-hours could have been out during the day on personal business of some kind and prefer to time-shift the work and save their PTO. Either choice is totally okay in our culture. Or, for that matter, they might be on the opposite coast working a conference.

      But I agree that in the context of everything else about OP’s organization it’s another red flag there.

      1. JGray*

        I agree that midnight emails in itself is not necessarily a red flag or problem. My thought about that was that perhaps the secretary scheduled the emails and meant to put in noon but put in midnight or meant 3 pm and put in 3 am. It happens sometimes when you are in a job that has lots of interruptions. But I think in the whole context it is just another red flag among many.

        1. Jaydee*

          Also, the “secretary” might actually be an admin for the ED or HR who is exempt. Regardless, the midnight emails are a red flag. By themselves, not the largest or reddest of flags. But in combination with everything else, a definite red flag.

    3. chocoholic*

      When my husband was job searching a couple of years ago, he declined one interview and one offer from employers who were routinely sending emails in the middle of the night. He understood that some people (esp owners/partners) may do their emailing at 6 or 7 am, or 7-10 pm, but getting emails at 2-4 am seemed strange to him and gave him a bad feeling.

      1. misplacedmidwesterner*

        I work and live in Alaska which has a 4 hour time difference from the East Coast. I have a side gig that I do after work. I often am emailing it at around 10pm at night. (Go home, eat dinner, chat with family, work for project for hour or two, go to sleep, totally reasonable situation) That probably shows up in there inboxes at 2am. I’ve wondered what they think about that.

        1. chocoholic*

          Sure, that makes sense. But these were people in the same city as us, and I am sure that the email in the middle of the night was just one part of the whole package that got the hair on the back of his neck up.

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Ugh, my grandboss does this, and if you don’t respond within 24 hours (including weekends) it’s a sign of your Complete Disrespect and Unspeakable Rudeness. (I know, the irony is deep with this one.)

    4. kittymommy*

      Four alarm fire!! Run far away and do not feel guilty (because it would not surprise me if they tried to do so).

  3. H.C.*

    Yeah, the board interviews are weird unless you’re applying for a C-level position or it’s a paricularly small and close-knit nonprofit. Oh, plus the *six* rounds of other interviews, their “we’re not even going to sugarcoat it” response to your work-life balance questions/concerns and “passion” as some sort of panacea against workplace ills.

    Agree on cutting this loose and continue your job search efforts elsewhere. Good luck.

    1. Went with my gut...*

      To be fair, they are *tiny* and the role was sort of central for them to be able to achieve what they’re trying to do. So I could sort of see the reason for the board’s interest, but at the same time…. yeah. Weird organizational culture.

      1. hbc*

        They’re tiny and they had time for 8 interviews? How are they even getting work done when they waste the time of the precious few people they have? Oh, right, working at midnight because they killed time during the day with nonsense.

        1. Stella's Mom*

          THIS^^^ also. :) Tiny, wasting time like this, Board doing this stuff… all points to very poor time management, people management, poor clarity in processes/ownership, and poor communication… to me. Glad you are running away. “Activity does not equal productivity” is what one of my long-ago software teammates had on his wall. You work at work, you don’t waste time like this, especially in a small org.

          1. AMT*

            Exactly. It’s the expectation that enough stuff-doing will lead to results. They’re probably thinking, “Maybe if we add a ninth interview, we’ll magically get the perfect candidate!”

          2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Strong agree. This just flags their dysfunctionality; it doesn’t excuse or explain it.

      2. TheAssistant*

        I work at a nonprofit with a staff of 12 and a very, very involved Board, and we do occasionally have new staff interview with a Board member or two. This is because navigating our Board politics is heinous and also crucial to some roles (I once derailed a committee meeting for five hours by making an offhand comment about one of my job tasks) but we don’t do it for all roles (not mine, for instance).

        I also recognize that there’s a certain degree of dysfunction inherent to my current organization, but I have grown to love it. It is the sort of dysfunction in which I thrive, it turns out. It is definitely Not For Everybody, though.

        We also don’t interview people 8 times (!) but our Executive Director has his own unique style. He once flew out to a candidate and sat with her for five hours for her final interview. She miraculously accepted the offer.

        1. paul*

          That’s the sort of thing that is a giant red flag and should concern new hires. Most of us don’t want to deal with that level of political mess

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Yeah. I’m on nonprofit boards. I leave if the meeting goes over by more than 15 min (esp. if there’s no acknowledgement and check in about if it’s ok going longer). There’s no time for nonsense.

            1. TheAssistant*

              Oh, it was a two-day meeting and these meetings happen semi-annually. Like I said, the Board is super involved.

              The meeting did not end after the scheduled time. We just cut things from the agenda.

              The politics are its own thing. I was warned about them in my interview, then after I was hired but before my start date, met my boss for an hour to go over the politics. We intentionally have a board comprised of competing political and economic interests. It ultimately subscribes to the “big tent” theory of change – you don’t make change if you only get people in the room who agree with you all the time – and it’s been a really interesting learning experience for me. But I’m not sure I’d knowingly take a job with such an involved and politically difficult board.

              1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                They cut things from the agenda to spend 5 hours on your side comment/joke about a job task!?

                It sounds like the organization might benefit from separating its Board’s function from an advisory or stakeholders committee function, but regardless, your approach/attitude towards it sounds exceedingly healthy and pragmatic given the (challenging) circumstances!

      3. Fluffer Nutter*

        I’m trying to imagine getting away from my current job for 8 interviews! I mean, we are flexible and all but Jeez Louise how many dentists can you have? Fly, be free!

    2. Another Lawyer*

      Yeah I’ve interviewed with boards when the role was 2.5 FTE, but never anything larger.

    3. Turanga Leela*

      I’ve worked for a very small nonprofit that occasionally did interviews with board members or consultants. The organization was (at different points) as small as two or three full-time staff members, and the director sometimes wanted another opinion from people who had experience with hiring or with the substantive job area. But we didn’t do eight rounds! That’s crazy.

    4. Tomato Frog*

      their “we’re not even going to sugarcoat it” response to your work-life balance questions

      The scary thing is I’m pretty sure they were sugarcoating it. That’s the “we don’t want you to be miserable” bit.

    5. Artemesia*

      The rude board member who is interviewing but doesn’t show and then braces you about not being enthusiastic and then is described as someone who is hands on and meddlesome (if not in those words) is as big a red flag as I can imagine. Oh boy. A meddlesome micromanaging board member that everyone is afraid of and who rules the roost. Disaster lies ahead. (She probably has stuff that belongs to the organization stored in her basement too)

    6. Board interviewee*

      I had to interview with our Board Treasurer. Even though I’m not the CFO, I am the most senior financial person at our nonprofit (less than 20 people). I think the main reason was that the person who held my position before me messed up a lot of stuff in a big way and was fired as a result. I don’t want to go into a lot of detail on a public board, but the Treasurer was the one who discovered predecessor’s biggest mistake so I think Treasurer was nervous and wanted to ensure the next person wouldn’t be a mess, too. It was a good 6 months before Treasurer trusted me completely. Now our entire Finance Committee loves me.

      In general our Board members do not interview candidates.

  4. Liz*

    OH GOD.

    Man, look, nonprofits can be incredibly dysfunctional and can chew people up and spit them out because “isn’t this such a good cause though?” and “our funders need us to have low overhead [ie to hire too few people and pay them too little and work them too hard].” They frequently don’t have any/enough people with management training to make sure the place is actually functional, and a too-involved board can mean you have a dozen “executive directors” with totally different ideas about where the work should be going.

    And, having said all that, this is maybe the worst example I’ve ever heard of!

    Just two months ago I had a very successful interview at a nonprofit where I was told they’d recently had a crisis where they lost a major funder, and they’d all had to take pay cuts, and part of my job was going to be helping them totally rebrand in order to secure new funding so that they could be fully staffed again. After some thought I declined a second interview.

    1. Coco*

      You perfectly describe the dysfunction in the non profit where I work. Staff is overworked to minimize overhead, management is inexperienced and has bad judgment, and (up until 2 yrs ago) the board was overbearing and would literally corner staff in the office and grill them on the goings-on. Obviously #notallnonprofits, but I would be very wary of these issues if I were interviewing for another job, especially at a small organization.

  5. Natalie*

    The recruiter told me they were concerned because if I wasn’t passionate enough, I would burn out.

    Fairly minor in the grand scheme of things, but in my experience the super passionate people are the *most* likely to burn out, not the least. Their passion makes it difficult for them to pace themselves, set boundaries, to not take work setbacks personally, etc. That’s what causes burnout, not insufficient passion.

    It’s rather clear that by “burnout” they actually mean “will no longer put up with our bullshit”.

    1. Liz*

      ‘It’s rather clear that by “burnout” they actually mean “will no longer put up with our bullshit”.’

      A thousand times yes.

    2. pomme de terre*

      Amen! I worked for a nonprofit organization with a “fun” mission, and we drew a lot of applicants who were excited about (more or less) making their hobby part of their job. And parts of it it were fun, but there were still annoying parts and boring parts and difficult parts. The people who were most invested in the fun part burned out REAL QUICK.

    3. Former Computer Professional*

      That was my first thought, too. Overly passionate people take on too much of a load and then get buried, and it sounds like OP would not get the support to get out from underneath.

    4. H.C.*

      I agree with this assessment too, having encountered my fair share of colleagues who bit off more than they can chew because “OMG [[Cause]]!!!” only to burn out soon from self-imposed overwork and/or disappointment that their team aren’t as “enthusiastic” as they were.

    5. LN*

      Yeah, I’ve actually never heard of someone “burning out” on a job they were lukewarm about, now that you mention it…that’s a euphemism for sure.

      1. Baska*

        LN: I’ve burned out from a job that I was dedicated to, but not passionate about. I lasted about 3 weeks before I knew I needed out, and another 3 months before I finally gave my notice. The position was a combination of two different positions that had been merged into one after a year of layoffs, and there was far more work than one person could have done in a reasonable workweek. Also, I was reporting to two different bosses with two VERY DIFFERENT management styles, one of which really didn’t mesh with my way of working.

        So it’s possible, but more rare, I think. I mean, I suppose I wouldn’t have “burned out” if I were less dedicated to getting all my work done, but dedication and professionalism isn’t really the same thing as being “passionate” about the organization’s mission.

    6. babblemouth*

      I am very very passionate about the mission of the NGO I used to work for. I left after realizing I was on my way to my second burn-out, and no one was helping me.
      I still care a lot, but I know I should not work for an NGO like this anymore, because I tend to lose perspective on my work.

  6. RabbitRabbit*

    >“well, we work a lot, but we don’t want you to be miserable.”

    This means, “you will also work a lot, and we expect you to love that.”

    1. animaniactoo*

      Yup, I got caught right there too… “we expect that you love the job so much that you won’t really consider that “work” or an imposition on your life…”

    2. FunTillSomeoneLoosesAnEye*

      I kinda also read it as “you may yearn for more relaxing days, like when you were in Marine bootcamp”

        1. Iamanengineer*

          More like “you’re going to suffer and we expect you to not whine about it at the office”.

    3. Bluebell*

      Or ” don’t let us catch you looking grumpy as you leave late for the nth night in a row. Smile! “

  7. Duck D.C.*

    Eight interviews? More than 3 (and that’s pushing it) is a waste of everyone’s time. Please listen to all the sirens blaring at full volume. The secretary, who probably makes $2 over minimum wage is sending out emails when they should be asleep in bed. They are purposely exhausting you during the interview process and then questioning your enthusiasm. They don’t expect you to have a life outside of work. You are absolutely right in assuming the overwhelming passion they’re looking for is to compensate for the fact that they are a probably a crappy company to work for. Have you researched employee feedback on sites like Glassdoor? Either way, I’d look elsewhere.

    1. Stella's Mom*

      Great points. Glassdoor is a good source too, but for some small NGOs it may not have anything of substance (since people that left may not wish to leave a non-positive review?)

      1. Wendy Darling*

        I didn’t leave the negative review my last job so richly deserved because it was a small enough company that there’s no way it would be anonymous — worst case they’d know exactly who it was. Best case they’d be able to narrow it down to like 2 people. And they’re petty enough to try to retaliate.

        Sorry, next person who gets hired for that job. I wanted to help you but I cannot.

    2. Anansi*

      I agree. I once had three interviews for a position, which in and of itself wasn’t terrible but the interviews were all 2+ hours long, it was on the other side of town, and they were extremely unaccommodating about my schedule (like giving me only one time option and being snarky if I couldn’t make it, or scheduling two hours for an interview and then making me wait 10 or 15 minutes between meeting with different people). I didn’t get the job.

      Then, a year later, they reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in coming back to interview for a different position in the same department. I stupidly said yes because my existing job situation was so terrible. They pulled the same crap AGAIN. When they asked me to come in for the third interview I said I wasn’t interested any more. If you can’t decide you want to hire me after 9+ hours of interviews it’s probably not going to be a great fit for either of us.

    3. Fafaflunkie*

      I’m thinking the secretary deliberately sending these emails in the middle of the night (either by actually working this late or using that awesome feature in Outlook known as “delay delivery”) is his/her passive aggressive way of telling you “don’t let these people torture you the way they’re torturing me.” Read the tea leaves OP. Run like the wind!

  8. Went with my gut...*

    This was my letter! Quick update: I finally got a job offer, after another phone conversation, and ultimately decided to turn it down. The offer ended up being less competitive than I expected, and when I asked some follow up questions (basic things, like “who will I be working with” and “how frequently would I be required to travel internationally”), they never responded (and it seemed like they wanted to rescind the offer). Too many red flags for me to continue.

    To be honest, I think they’re probably lovely people, but they just weren’t really ready to hire. I got the impression that they wanted an excuse not to hire me, but since I met every challenge they threw at me, they didn’t really have a good reason not to. It’s unfortunate that we both wasted each other’s time, but I hope they learned more about how to hire people (and what they were actually looking for), and I definitely learned to appreciate my current job a little more :)

    1. Isben Takes Tea*

      I’m relieved for you, though sorry you had to have so much of your time wasted!

    2. Mona Lisa*

      Thank goodness! I’m so glad you listened to your inner voice. You’ve clearly dodged a bullet here!

    3. animaniactoo*

      I think what I learned from this is that if I’ve been through 3 or 4 interviews already, and seems like I’ve pretty solidly explained what I’d be able to contribute and why I’m a good candidate, and they’re still doing this dance? “It sounds like you don’t have a really defined idea of what you’re looking for. I’m available to interview one more time, but after that I don’t think there would be a point to continuing this process unless I’m the person you’ve chosen and you’re ready to make an offer.” and if that boots me out of the running, so be it.

    4. PB*

      I’m so relieved to hear this! I was getting some echos of a job I interviewed for, in which a member of the committee told me near the end of day 2 that she thought I seemed competent but not ambitious. This was a weird thing to say for a number of reasons. I didn’t get that job, and I think that was the best thing for me. I was in a contract position that was ending, and getting desperate. I am glad that you had the flexibility and excellent judgment to run far away from this!

    5. Aunt Margie at Work*

      You are being very generous. You didn’t waste their time. They continued to turn interview stages into Gordian knots for the purpose of…well, not sure. I think you were supposed to fail. That way, they could bring you in and treat you like the admin who works around the clock, grateful to be there and desperate to say.
      You call them lovely people. Perhaps they are pleasant to those they see as their equals, but they sure as hell don’t want to work with them.

      1. SophieChotek*

        I agree. Your response is much more generous than I would have been. (Honestly, they, or at least the Board Member, do not sound like “Lovely People.”) Best of luck OP!

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I agree, OP, you are very generous in your thoughts here and you are also very willing to give of yourself. Pick companies that deserve you and compensate you well.

    6. Anne (with an "e")*

      I “ultimately decided to turn it down.” This was the correct decision, imo. I think you definitely dodged a bullet, LW.

    7. JGray*

      I am so glad to hear that you didn’t take the job. Hopefully, like you said this is a learning experience for them and they don’t do this to others in the future.

    8. Baska*

      So glad to hear that, OP. “Lovely people” does not necessarily mean “functional workplace.” You can have an office full of well-intentioned, passionate people who nevertheless do not manage to function efficiently, which seems to be the case here.

    9. Solidus Pilcrow*

      “I got the impression that they wanted an excuse not to hire me, but since I met every challenge they threw at me, they didn’t really have a good reason not to.”

      I have a feeling you were the only candidate that stuck it out and they pretty much had no choice but to offer it to you.

      I also think they realized how outrageous their process is because it would seem crass to send you a form letter rejection after you spent so much time jumping through their hoops.

    10. Allie*

      You definitely made the right call here. You should not feel bad, any time waste was totally on them for their unreasonable process.

    11. Bonky*

      Thank heavens for that. And what a nice complexion you put on it: I hope they learned something about hiring from the experience too!

    12. Dienna Howard*

      Went with my gut…, glad to hear that you passed on the offer. It sounded like you did way too much jumping through hoops for one position. That is a waste of your time.

      Your gut instinct is your best friend!

  9. Antilles*

    Let’s run a few Interview-to-English translations here:
    1.) “eight rounds of interviews.”
    We don’t respect your time.
    2.) “they were concerned because if I wasn’t passionate enough, I would burn out”
    This exact thing has happened. A lot.
    3.) “well, we work a lot, but we don’t want you to be miserable.”
    We work a lot, like all the time, but we don’t want you to be miserable – because we expect you to love this job as much as you love your spouse and slightly more than you love your kids.
    4.) “you need to be passionate to survive here”
    We burn out employees. But it’s not our fault for expecting too much, it’s their fault for not being sufficiently passionate.

    1. Verde*

      This this this +100000000!!!
      Get away now.
      I survived 10+ years of this, and it’s taken me months to recover. I can’t even imagine if I had kids.

  10. flasker*

    Eight rounds of interviews?? Dang. I’d only keep considering whether to stay in the interview process if the salary in question was verrry enticing, like $150k+. But I have a hunch that the kind of place that gives off weird signals about passion, work-life balance, etc. does not pay robustly.

    Run, don’t walk, OP.

    1. Dan*

      These things fascinate me. I have a $100k/yr job, and the most extensive interview I’ve ever had is a full day onsite. Even that was long by comparative standards — everything else is a half day and done.

      To the best of my knowledge, I don’t tend to “compete” with other applicants either. I succeed or fail on my own merits. (I tend to think of that in contrast to “made it to the next round”, which sounds a lot like a sports playoff game but really makes no sense in a job context. I mean, what did they need to have you do the third or fourth time that they couldn’t get from the first one to three conversations?)

      1. AnotherAlison*

        It really is fascinating. People in my position get a phone screen and a round of panel interviews. That’s it. But, we’re not at a static number of positions, and people can be fluid in their positions (in it for a few years, transfer out, get promoted, etc.), so it’s not like a life or death decision you’re stuck with for a decade if you pick the wrong person.

        Then there was a lower level job I applied for many years ago that I had to go through 4 rounds for (different company) and lost. I’d love to hear others’ experience, but I felt like they were trying to convince themselves I was a fit. I think if you’re “the one” they may not need so many rounds.

        I’m currently in the middle of a round for a higher level position at my current place, and it was also very simple, one round of interviews.

  11. ArtsAdmin4Life*


    All of these things make the organization sound like a terrible place to work, not the least: “I was told she weighs in on all major decisions and although she’s not involved in the day to day, she decides the strategic direction for their group.” As someone with nearly 20 years experience working at non-profit arts organizations of all sizes, I can tell you that this is NOT how you’re supposed to operate. Board members can advise on this sort of stuff, but none of them should be “deciding”, especially when they are not involved in the day to day (which you don’t want them doing anyway). Over-involved board members are a huge red flag and are an indication of serious dysfunction.

    1. paul*

      I’ve seen that sort of think be a major part of non-profits going out of business. It’s so very, very, dysfunctional.

    2. Parenthetically*

      It perfectly jives with the whole “the Venn diagram of your life and our mission needs to look like one circle!” though. Overinvolved board member meddles and micromanages, organization demands passion and loyalty rather than healthy feedback and independence, employees burn out in record time and have to be replaced, hiring process is agonizing for everyone involved. Sounds about right.

  12. Stella's Mom*

    I agree with what Alison says. Run.

    Keep calm, be polite and decline to carry on. You may not wish to say that you have serious concerns about the decision-making processes they have in place but… instead you may want to say what you noted, that you noticed the work-life balance is not in balance and that after giving 8 interviews that the role does not seem a good fit for you.

    I would also trust your gut. You know already that when they call, it is going to be some rigamarole or silly thing to deal with. You already have a bias, based on how they have treated you thru this whole process. Trust that, and keep the job you have now, and see what else may come along later.

    Board members engaged in interviewing for anything other than a Executive Director-level role implies to me that the management can’t be trusted to do the job, so the Board is being asked to step in (or is overstepping their bounds because they don’t trust management or something). Also to be brought in to ask you why you are not “sufficiently excited” is interesting and should set off alarm bells – would love to know what you said to them. Certainly, having passion for a role, especially in the NGO world (non profit world), helps as you are “working for a cause, not applause” but to be honest, several of the most passionate-about-their-work-NGO-workers I have known have burned out, yet take the passion to another, less dysfunctional NGO after a break.

    From my personal experience…I interviewed for a management role once in 2010 for a role with a very well known international org: did 6 interviews (over 2 weeks) and the last person to see me, (the manager I would report to) was 20 minutes late, did not apologise, had a weak handshake, did not look me in the eye, and seemed not passionate, just annoyed (may have been burned out!). I knew they would not hire me at this point after doing well in the other interviews. From my internal contact there, I found out they hired someone else, who was literally half my age (and cheaper). He left after 1 year and the turnover in the role has kept pace with that precedent. Save yourself the heartache, I was glad I did not get the gig. Best of luck, too.

    1. Went with my gut...*

      I handled the issue about excitement/enthusiasm by explaining that I had clearly shown a commitment to the sector when I left a previous high paying corporate job for my current one, and explained that the excitement stuff seemed cultural — I am very passionate about what I do, but I’m also a professional, and I prefer to reserve my energy for getting things done. That seemed to work (they did offer me the job), but I think ultimately they were probably looking for someone *much* more junior who was super enthusiastic and idealistic… but maybe less experienced or technically skilled. Hopefully interviewing me helped them figure that out :)

      1. Stella's Mom*

        Good job on how you handled it.

        Idealistic = willing to usually work for a lot less. (not always). And willing to do a lot more, for a lot less. And willing to overlook work life balance for the cause. You can’t save the world when you are burned out.

        Best of luck!

          1. Liz T*

            I was definitely once passed over at a non-profit in favor of a less experienced young women whom they thought they could push around. (I was actually told this by my friend on the inside–who was leaving the company.) I suspect it’s happened more than once.

      2. LKW*

        Yeah – they’re looking for someone who is naive who will work their ass off for at or below market wages and who will not stand up to board members who like to play “The Decider”.

        You made the right call.

      3. Been In Your Shoes*

        I just left a job with an environment similar to this, and one thing that hasn’t been mentioned so far is that the interview style that you experienced would probably *also mirror* your professional on-the-job experience with this org. Aka: material needs to be reviewed 8x, one deliverable will go through several rounds of revisions, minor issues need board review, Etc. So the “excitement” and “passion” questions were 100% a screener to see if you could stay chipper and deal with this level of frustration on a daily basis. How would you deal with say, a strategic plan being reviewed 8-10 times with no finish line in sight? Get’s old real quick. Also some in management act like this because of their own insecurity and their inability to lead or steer the ship. You are being very generous, but this is not normal behavior. board member = a great primer of what you would have been expected to tolerate had you taken the job. I’m going to assume that even if you were interviewing for a C-level position (and you may have been) if the secretary was sending emails at midnight, they would have wanted you to be sending emails at 1:00 and 2:00 am to beat that. Also it doesn’t matter what the salary was, I make over six figures and have been offered a job after 1, 2 and 3 interviews. Never 8.

        It’s a shame when altrustic orgs expect being “mission-driven” to override the requirement for a healthy and sane work environments. You made the right decision!

  13. Mrs. Robinson*

    I’m supposed to hear this week from a place where I have had two phone interviews, four hangouts interviews, and one in person seven hour interview. I think I’m going to be relieved if they tell me no. It would be a huge resume builder, but… I also am losing enthusiasm.

  14. Aunt Margie at Work*

    “I was brought back in and questioned about why I wasn’t sufficiently excited.”
    This jumped out at me. This jumped out at Alison. What can you take from this? JUMP. Out of the way of this trainwreck. Jump away. Like the frog in the soup pot of cold water. Get out before you are boiling. It will be one of your life’s unsolved mysteries, but do not invest anymore time or energy into this experience. You do not want this job. Accept that there will be no “closure” as in, you don’t know why they suck, you won’t know if they might stop sucking. All you have is the information in front of you which is, they suck now. They are wasting your time and they are making you question yourself while you are still an autonomous person in a healthy workplace. Can you imagine WORKING in that world?

    1. SheLooksFamiliar*

      Years ago I worked for a woman who said she was never impressed when a candidate was gung-ho and super excited about the company during the interview process. She said she expected someone to be interested and happy to learn more, but she believed true excitement wouldn’t come until they were hired, more settled in their role, and actually making contributions to the company.

      This still makes sense to me. I never expect someone to be super-excited during the interview process. Interested and open to additional discovery, yes. Happy to be hired, yes. True excitement? Not yet. But that’s just me.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I agree with what you have here. I tend to think most excitement on interview is just a place to hide nervousness that accidentally bubbles to the surface.

      2. babblemouth*

        People who come with stars in their eyes usually end up disappointed when their expectations are not met. No, you won’t get to be saving the world 24/7. Chances are, you’ll be sitting in boring meetings a lot, writing grant applications, get frustrated with the expense claims system, and all of the little things that make work a bit boring everywhere you work. There will be conflict, a lot of it.
        THAT’s what makes people burn out. Not a lack of enthusiasm in a job interview.
        This is a well-known fact in the non-profit world, actually, so I’m concerned they don’t realize that.

  15. Seuuze*

    I once interviewed for a job as an administrative assistant to three professors at a university. A position I was exceptionally over-qualified for. They handed me a three page job description in small type. I was grateful they did not ask me to work there because I never would have been able to get all of the work done on a regular basis.

    Your description of the interview process and the expectations made my stomach hurt. I felt scared for you. You are wise to question all of this and know that this place could drive you mad.

    1. Jennifer*

      Gee, only three professors? The last few jobs I’ve been up for would have had four bosses. They were (of course) all newly created positions so nobody had any idea if 1 person could hold up to 4 bosses.

  16. Dizzy Steinway*

    “Most recently, I was brought back in and questioned about why I wasn’t sufficiently excited.”

    Run. Run far away. Then post on Glassdoor.

    1. AnotherAlison*

      I don’t even really look or sound excited when I am excited, like, scoring front row tickets to my favorite band since I was 16’s last tour ever type of excited.

      I think some company’s interviewers are confused about how one would professionally present as “excited.”

  17. Critter*

    Like, they asked for everything except blood samples and your first born child. Bananas.

      1. paul*

        No, they expect you to wreck that with all the coping strategies you’ll use to handle their abuse

        1. animaniactoo*

          RVA is referencing a previous letter in which the owner of the company was requiring all employees to sign up to be a liver donor for his brother and be tested, and firing anyone who wouldn’t agree. Including a pregnant woman and someone who had either cancer or a liver disease, and could not possibly be a donor. Still fired.

            1. LN*

              RIGHT??? Re-reading the comments now and so many great points were brought up…did the brother even know about it? Can you imagine dealing with organ failure, and on top of that, finding out that your sibling did something like this without your knowledge?

  18. Deanna*

    What nonprofit leadership needs to understand across the board is that passion does not make for driven, mission-minded employees. Far from it: employees who don’t operate in their own self-interest (like maintaining work/life balance, being great self-advocates and establishing boundaries, etc.) are the ones who will burn out the fastest. Yet based on my decade in the sector (from which I recently escaped), the self-sacrificing types are the folks that nonprofits want to hire most.

    The level of incompetence outlined in your letter is staggering, OP. RUN.

    1. Liz*

      I kind of have a whole screed about this. Funders don’t want to pay for stuff that isn’t directly related to program work, such as employee salaries or office rent, so nonprofits can’t hire enough employees, so the ones they do have are either underpaid or overworked or both, yet people apply for those jobs anyway because they care and because the whole industry works that way. Finally in the last couple of years some funders are beginning to catch on to this but it’s a long way from being fixed.

      The people I know who work for larger nonprofits with mostly individual funding seem to have an easier time of it than at places with mostly foundation and government funding, because with individual donors you don’t have to send back a super detailed budget with every office supply purchase and cost-of-living raise scrupulously accounted for…

      1. Not So NewReader*

        No. What you do is sent out accounting statements that shows your miscellaneous expense as your second largest expense. And that fixes all those pesky problems.

        Not that I have seen this done or anything…

    2. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      There was just a thread on the Nonprofit Happy Hour about this. Someone had two candidates she was considering, and asked whether she should hire the candidate with proven results or the one with passion for the nonprofit (she later gave more details, but that was her initial framing). The response was mixed, but a majority prioritized passion (and gave, dare I say, impassioned explanations for why they thought passion was more important than results).

      1. Coco*

        This is eerily familiar to me. We recently hired at my nonprofit, and the directors were so dismissive of someone with 10 years of experience, and super enthusiastic about someone with almost no experience whatsoever. They were very focused on who most “believed in our mission” and “exemplified our values” and was the right “culture fit.” It did not seem to bother them that it would be difficult to guarantee that person was actually competent.

        1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          I agree, although as she shared more of the nuances of the decision she was facing, it felt less clear. But still.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        There are places in the universe where the laws of science cannot exist.

        There are places in the working world where SOPs, logic/rationale, common sense cannot exist.

      3. Stay At Home Cat*

        *sigh* This is exactly why I’m thinking of getting out of nonprofits, because of how absurd this logic is. Especially because I ‘look young’ to people, so they seem to think I will be comfortable with an inappropriately low salary and sketchy business practices despite clearly seeing that I have seven years of experience in the field and a Masters degree.

    3. Baska*

      I really enjoy working for non-profits because I enjoy feeling like I’m helping the world be a better place, as opposed to simply making widgets or chocolate teapots. That said, I always set VERY CLEAR boundaries between my personal life and my professional life. No matter how much I believe in the mission of the organization I’m working for, I’m not gonna “friend” my colleagues or the community on Facebook and I’m not gonna put in extra volunteer hours (unless I legitimately am excited by whatever-it-is and would go to it even if I weren’t working for the organization).

      Honestly, what organizations SHOULD be looking for is someone who is professional, competent, and efficient. Their level of “hoo-rah” enthusiasm should be secondary to their ability to do the job.

    1. Amazed*

      I linked to it directly so the comment probably went to moderation, but if you search on the site for “bad interviewers and weird candidates” you’ll find one!

  19. LBK*

    Geez, “not miserable” is a pretty low bar to set for morale. That alone would have me declining the position – I want my manager to strive for her employees to actively enjoy working there.

  20. JGray*

    I cringed the whole time I was reading this. I agree- RUN from this organization. I have worked for several non-profits and I have never been given the third degree about how passionate I was about the work. I have also never interviewed with board members. I have been asked what I know about the organization and their work and what I think of it but nothing that would raise to the level of being called in to talk about the enthusiasm for it.

  21. Michelle*

    I have worked for a nonprofit for 15 years. I did not go through all that rigmarole.

    Trust your instincts and withdraw or tell them they did not seem passionate enough about you.

  22. Hermione Lovegood*

    I learned about 9 years ago that listening to your gut is almost always the right move. I was losing my job at a major pharmaceutical company. I interviewed at another pharma company in a city about 2.5 hours away. The new company offered me a $5000 raise and was going to help me sell my house in current city and give me a housing stipend until I could purchase a new home. But I just felt off about the interviews and tours of the facility, so I turned down the position. Less than 2 years later, new company was put under a seizure order by the US Marshals and subsequently went under. All that to say, LISTEN TO YOUR INTUITION!!

    1. Baska*

      It took me almost a decade but I’ve learned the same thing about listening to my gut, especially when it comes to jobs. I’ve had enough times where my gut said “this is a mistake” and, lo and behold, it turned out to be a mistake.

      There will be more jobs. There will be more opportunities. Don’t launch into something just because you feel you have to, especially not if it’s sending up red flags and your gut is telling you something is wrong.

      1. Hermione Lovegood*

        Exactly! And the red flags can be about anything or anyone. Intuition is there for a reason!

      2. sallyfirstinline*

        Such good advice. They’re are not just interviewing you, you are interviewing them. If something feels off and you’re relatively aware about your own wants/needs, you’re probably picking up on something. I’ve learned after many years to trust my instincts. It almost always leads you in the right direction. Don’t question it. Keep moving on to the next opportunity or at least start heading in that direction.

    2. Artemesia*

      I almost moved my family cross country for a job where it turned out the CEO of the foundation had his hand in the till, the program head had alienated all the local organizations critical to success of the big project they wanted to hire me to run and the person who eventually took the job, cut and ran after 6 months of disaster (I knew him, he was super competent — luckily he had had a recent divorce and was highly mobile and so this was not a disaster for him personally.) I would have used my one ‘uproot my husband from his career’ card and uprooted my whole family into this disaster. It sounded great when they made the offer. I was apparently just right for the job. But I just had this tingley spidey sense and turned it down. I have always paid attention to that spidey sense since then

  23. Daisy May*

    Please don’t take this job. I know the better title and money is tempting. I know that working for a nonprofit can seem noble and fulfilling. But there is literally no reason for you to meet with one person 3 times, along with 5 more times to meet with everyone else. You could be senior management and that still seems like a ridiculous amount of time. They are infringing on your interest and taking advantage of your personal time, which they will absolutely do when you become their staffer, only it will be worse because they’ll make you feel like you owe them because they pay you.

    Don’t do that to yourself. I don’t know know why I’m so adamant that you not take this position. I guess it’s just the entitled/misguided/unrealistic expectations that I have seen at other nonprofits and I think it’s truly despicable.

    The better pay / title are not worth the burnout/anxiety I see in your future.

  24. tink*

    The idea of 8 rounds of interviews (!!!!!!) make me want to bust screaming through a wall like the kool-aid man as I run screaming from these people.

  25. whowho*

    “I was brought back in and questioned about why I wasn’t sufficiently excited.”

    Seriously wtf. W.T.F.

      1. PollyQ*

        E.g. “Well, I was excited, but that pretty much wore off around interview #6.”

        See also, “Burned out from the job? I’m burned out just from the interviews!”

  26. De Minimis*

    Nonprofits can be great, but when they’re bad, they’re really bad. If the interview process is like this [and I agree with Alison, why is the board interviewing you unless you’re applying for something like Executive Director] I can’t imagine what working there will be like. And burnout is an issue even at the “good” nonprofits.

  27. MommyMD*

    You don’t have to be drooling like a rabid dog to be enthusiastic about something. Sheesh.

  28. designbot*

    I think if I were in that meeting being told I wasn’t sufficiently enthused I would say something like, “I think what you are interpreting as lack of excitement is really a case of disorientation. I’ve spent around six meetings with you now expecting an offer at any minute but as none has been forthcoming, am at a complete loss of what to expect to come of our discussions at this point.”

  29. amy*

    Yes, completely agree. Run run.

    If they need to have more than two looks at you, and you’re not signing up to be a spy or astronaut, they don’t know what they’re doing and are telling you they’ll happily abuse your time. Frankly, these interviews with 40000 people seem to me ridiculous anyhow. Either get everyone in a room together or figure out who’s really an essential interviewer. I was tolerant of that sort of “and here’s your 47th person to talk to” thing once, because they were flying me to a place where I had stuff I wanted to do anyhow, but honestly that’s just…it’s not necessary.

  30. Coach K*

    totally agree with alison on all points, EXCEPT, the board member thing. I work for a small nonprofit and we are generally very well-run. We have had board members involved with interviewing for senior staff positions (not making the decision, just weighing in). It’s a helpful addn’l perspective for us, as we can get siloed in our own work, and our board members often have other angles that they bring to the interview process. Also, I know of other orgs that do the same thing. So, while lots of things the OP said are troubling, I don’t think it’s that out of place for board members to interview job candidates.

  31. winter*

    Maybe everyone’s so overworked because they’ve been interviewing 5 candidates for half a year now…

  32. Nissar Ahamed*

    Sometimes companies get very rigid with their recruitment process (for the sake of having a process), and they take pride in their process.
    A friend of mine went through 8 rounds with this current employer (A top software company). When he was asked to meet one more VP – he held his ground and told the recruiter that he had met enough people in the company, and told them he wants to pursue other offers. The recruiter called back in an hour and said that he had the job.
    As candidates, sometimes you have to take a stand.

Comments are closed.