want a job? cool, there are 17 interviews…

Most people who are looking for a job welcome an invitation to interview and are pleased if they’re invited back for a second round. But what happens when the process extends to third, fourth, fifth, and even more interviews? Increasingly, that’s what job seekers are encountering, and it’s leaving them frustrated and exhausted.

In the past, companies typically held one, two, or maybe three interviews with a candidate before making a decision. But in recent years, many more rounds of interviews have become common, sometimes stretching into the truly absurd. I wrote about this trend at Slate today. You can read it here.

{ 216 comments… read them below }

  1. Justin*

    Really appreciated that my current job didn’t drag it out – HR phone screen, zoom with (now) boss, panel with (now) peers, was offered six days after said panel (and it was only 6 days because the weekend was in there; stressful weekend though).

    My last job didn’t either even if I didn’t end up liking it. My job before that, it took So Many Rounds just for me to make 40k in NYC. But I really needed the job and they knew it. Sigh.

    Just shows poor planning and is likely to demonstrate how they (don’t) get things done if you’re hired.

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      Unless someone is in a high-level leadership position that may require more (or working around executive scheduling), this is exactly how we do it.

      HR phone screen is mostly just to make sure that we’re in the same ballpark salary-wise, find out if the candidate needs any HR-y information (benefits, policies, etc.) that are dealbreakers for them or any preliminary questions, and get some scheduling options. I am fortunate that our current HR is very good, but I cannot stand when there is an administrative issue with the process – makes us look disorganized and like we’re not taking the candidate’s time seriously.

      Hiring manager(s) do the first full interview, and a peer interview is offered after a successful manager screen. (Everything we do is team-based, so it’s helpful to meet the team and also hear about the job from the perspective of someone who’s doing it and not just the boss.)

      I don’t need more people than that involved in most processes. Any time I have to hire someone higher-level that has to interview with principals (whose schedules are always a nightmare), it just gets more convoluted and complicated for me. I hate hiring by full committee. Consensus of the 2-4 people matter is fine for the vast majority of my jobs. The last place I worked, the HR person thought that candidates should do at least three rounds of interviews to “demonstrate true interest in and seriousness about the job”, and that is just an absurd waste of everyone’s time.

  2. Spearmint*

    I haven’t run into the absurd number of interviews (yet…). I think the most I’ve had was three rounds, and more typically two. But, I have on multiple occasions experienced companies expecting me to complete significant unpaid work assessments as part of the interview process, and often only after a brief phone interview. In the two worst cases, they both told me the work would only take 2-4 hours, but in fact took me a whole day to complete. To add insult to injury, in both cases I was ghosted after turning the work in. It really reflects a complete lack of consideration of a candidate’s time.

    1. TurnedMeIntoANewt*

      I got ghosted after doing unpaid “test work” but I assumed it was because half of the work was them trying to get the names and contact info of all my professional connections relevant to what this organization did. I wrote out names and titles and said I would share contact info with the people’s consent and I got to know the organization (they were newly-started). Total silence.

      1. Reb*

        I did four interviews dragged out over 3 months for a VP role with a major multinational. Whole process was chaotic with interviews being changed and moved around at the last minute – which I tolerated as it was with SVPs and C Suite around the world. The first three interviews went very well though, with pleasant people who were polite and courteous and left me enthused about the job. Last one was with the C suite exec who headed up the division I would have joined. He was hideously macho from the outset, thinly veiled misogyny, lots of power games and then of course they totally ghosted me.

        I did get some schadenfreude though. This company has been struggling with a very negative image, which this guy seemed to be taking very personally – to the extent he asked me what I thought the company should do and then got very hostile over my answers. Three weeks after my interview they got slammed in in national newspapers around the world and in trade magazines. He must have been furious.

      1. Spearmint*

        One of them, maybe, but the other gave me made up data from a made up client to work with (it was obvious when you saw it). That same company also had me do a 30 minute logic/reasoning evaluation before even the phone screen, so I think they were just not considerate about candidate’s time.

      2. azvlr*

        If you do design work and are asked to do a work sample, add a watermark of some kind or otherwise make it obvious that it’s a sample.
        If they balk at it, well – you just weeded out an employer who would potentially steal your labor.

    2. Maglev No Longer to Crazytown*

      Thankfully, the worst I had to do was a series of essay question responses where I was demonstrating my past directly applicable very niche experience (they were trying to weed out those who said they had it or equivalent but didn’t). The interview itself was a brutal 3 hours, including a skills test. But I got the job a week later!

    3. Elizabeth West*

      The last time I did unpaid test work was for Exjob. To do it would have only taken me an hour, but I wanted to make it fancy, so I spent extra time on it. That was MY choice and I got the job.

    4. Qwerty*

      they both told me the work would only take 2-4 hours, but in fact took me a whole day to complete

      Add this to the list of reasons I hate take home assignments as a hiring manager (I refuse to do them as a candidate). I have argued round and round with senior managers and execs about this.

      I had one job where the higher ups insisted that candidates prefer take home assignments and replaced the 1hr tech interview with an assignment + 1hr review of your work. Candidates reported spending an average of 14hrs on what was supposed to be <4hr task (still too long!).

      Part of the issue is that it is very hard to come up with a meaningful take home assignment in tech that is small enough to be done in <2hrs but complex enough to learn the candidate's skill.

      1. TurnedMeIntoANewt*

        I had to do an on-site test assignment for exjob and they were thoughtful of candidates’ time for it. For one, they warned me ahead of time that I would need to budget time for the project. Secondly, they said that they expected it to take about an hour (accurate) and that I had two hours available if I needed it. Also, it was very clear that this was a sample of what I would be doing but not with a real client. Some of their other hiring practices needed work (extremely long job descriptions and reference checks that often lasted 30+minutes) but that part felt fine.

        1. SansSerif*

          I had a similar on-site assignment for my current job. It was kind of nerve wracking because they didn’t have a computer to lend me so I had to write it out by hand. My first drafts are a mess, so I had to budget the last 15 minutes of my hour as time to re-wrote everything more neatly. The good thing was that they called me with an offer the next day.

    5. SansSerif*

      I would suspect they went ahead and used your (and others’) free work, which may have been their goal anyway.

  3. Courageous cat*

    I’ve been interviewing for a job for 2 months straight now. Oddly it’s not even the number of interviews (3), just the sheer amount of time in between each stage is insane. I’m currently waiting on them to make a decision and it’s been over 2 weeks since the last interview.

    I suspect that larger, global companies have more issues with this than smaller ones for sure.

    1. Courageous cat*

      (to clarify, the “insane amount of time” I’m sure is relative since I’ve only worked at smaller [>100 employee] companies before, and it may be normal for larger ones – just a PITA either way, I’ve never had a job decision take this long before)

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        Naw, dude. That is a long time between meetings. How many second AND THIRD round people are they interviewing? There is some hold up on their end. They can’t or won’t make a decision.

        1. Courageous cat*

          Lol right? Apparently there’s an internal candidate that’s adding complexity to the mix somehow, but they claim I’m their leading candidate, so I just… don’t know.

          1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

            That is a question for Alison right there. Why are they telling me this and what am I supposed to do with that information?

      2. Panda*

        Same for me. For my current job, I applied in December, was contacted in Jan for an interview with HR. Did that, then I one interview with the hiring manager, one panel interview, and then two surprise interviews with the hiring manager’s manager and director after I started negotiating the salary. I didn’t start the job until 6 months after applying.

      3. MigraineMonth*

        My current job had an even longer timeline, but in it’s defense a) it’s government, and b) COVID struck between the first and second interviews, and they were waiting for that to blow over.

        I am still confused by one of the interviews. They were hiring for department A and determined from my background that I would be on a project working closely with department B. So naturally, one of the interviews included representatives from departments X and Y. It’s been three years, and I’ve never seen those people again.

    2. Random Dice*

      My global company has a much tighter process for hiring than my prior smaller ones. They make us put in place a bias-resistant process upfront, which forces us to think through what our questions are and what we actually want, in advance. It’s a tight ship.

    3. TurnedMeIntoANewt*

      Two weeks is on the longer end but doesn’t sound unreasonable in my experience. Then again, my experience is: a) small non-profits where everyone is wearing multiple hats and the HR person is also finance is also office manager and other things, so there isn’t a dedicated person pushing things forward. b) government with its attending bureaucracies and seemingly-arbitrary timelines.

    4. Lizzo*

      I interviewed for a government job once (state higher ed institution) and hoo boy was that process PROLONGED. Months and months. So many stages of approval for *anything* to happen.

    5. Cascadia*

      A friend of mine was finally offered a job in April. He first applied for the job in May, (11 months previously!) and had a phone screen in June. I think he had at least 8-10 interviews. Ridiculous!

  4. Seahorse*

    I never thought the all-day marathon of academic interviewing would start to look more reasonable than the corporate world!

      1. fueled by coffee*

        Yeah, the actual interviewing process in my academic job search has been… fine. Usually a Zoom interview followed by a second round involving a campus flyout, which I think is reasonable for TT jobs (the postdoc I’m starting next year had one interview, over Zoom, involving a 20 minute research talk, which I think is entirely reasonable). Job talks take a lot of prep time, but on the other hand it meant I had my dissertation defense basically put together months before I needed it.

        But the amount of documents needed upfront, when you’re in a candidate pool with ~100 other people, is bananas. A search committee should be able to make a longlist based on a CV and cover letter; I shouldn’t need to also send research statements, teaching statements, DEI statements, statements of administrative experience (really), DEI statements, writing samples, recommendation letters, course evaluations, and sample syllabi with my initial application.

        I would give my soul for academic jobs to only require recommendation letters for shortlisted candidates invited to campus visits.

        1. datamuse*

          Dang, that’s a lot. We require letter, CV, a short statement (which personally I think could be included in the cover letter if it has to be there at all, but that’s out of my control), and three references. That’s it. (If there’s a possibility of granting tenure upon hire we’ll ask for more documentation then, but that’s after an offer has already been made.)

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      It seems to me, that corporate looked at academia and said, wow, that’s crazy. LET’S DO IT.

      1. indigohippo*

        Academic hiring has upped the ante recently too. In the UK, a single presentation and an interview used to be the norm. I just got asked to an interview in two weeks time and told I need to give a 20min research talk AND a separate 10min teaching talk. I will now be spending the entirety of my working hours from now until then prepping these. As a woman with two young kids, I can’t help but feel there are EDI issues here, because a process that asks you to produce so much at such short notice ends up benefitting those who don’t have caring responsibilities to juggle.

          1. quetzal*

            Does your job require you to have published a book and several papers by year 7 on top of your full time job? If not, stop complaining. Non academics get that luxury.

            1. I Know from Experience*

              Amen. And tenure + a solid publication record doesn’t even protect you these days. More and more universities are laying off tenured professors due to “financial exigency” and cut programs.

        1. Pippa K*

          In US academic hiring, it’s common do zoom interviews of 10-12 applicants from the original pool (at least at my university), then invite the top 3-4 to campus. Those candidates are commonly expected to do a job talk (research) of about 45 minutes to an hour, plus questions and discussion, and also do a teaching demonstration of an actual full-length class. This is in addition to meeting with department members for individual interviews, plus deans, program directors, etc. And meals with department members, which of course are really informal interview sessions. And they have to submit written mission statement essays in advance now as well (on top of the usual academic application materials).

          It’s brutal. And incredibly time consuming for everybody.

          1. Pippa K*

            …and now, having seen the comment above mine, I want to clarify that I meant this more as commiseration with indigohippo, and not at all in the “don’t complain, others have it worse” sense. Academia finds plenty of ways to be brutal to people in all positions, and it’s only getting worse as full-time and tenure-track jobs get scarcer.

            1. Jiminy cricket*

              For real. I applied for a non-academic, mid-level manager type position at a college that required a full day (!) of on-campus interviews, after the initial two rounds of interviews with the hiring manager and staff.

              And here’s the kicker: I was an internal candidate.

    2. Newly minted higher ed*

      For real! Though, I did have one set of interviews with a college that was heading towards five or six (including the on-campus visit and an unexpected additional 45 minute phone call followup to my second interview). All the rest were one interview no visit, or one interview + visit, which were totally reasonable time-wise (and my on-campus visits didn’t last quite all day, which was nice, and had plenty of informational or downtime sections). It seems my field looked at corporate going insane and said, naw we need to cut back wow.

    3. datamuse*

      Seriously. We’re doing only two rounds to hire a dean! And (per some of the comments below about multiple presentations) they only have to give one talk. It’ll be a full day for them but we’ve got lots of breaks built in.

    4. UncleFrank*

      I honestly didn’t find the academic process that bad when I last did it (which was in 2019, so maybe things have escalated since then). I had to tweak my research talk and teaching demo depending on the institution, but since most places require something like that I had the basics ready to go. The all-day flyout is time-consuming, but I thought I learned a lot about the departments by seeing people interact together, especially in the informal between times that I might have missed otherwise. Plus it gave me time to check out a place before moving there. I acknowledge that it is a big ask for people with caregiving responsibilities though — although I think departments can help with this by offering to pay for a second person to come.

      1. Anonymous*

        The American process has always I think been more onerous than UK, but then it’s a different system (we don’t have tenure here, so at most your job is just ‘open ended’, ie not a fixed term contract. They’re not stuck with you forever like with tenure, they can fire you/lay you off any time they want, but there’s no set end point baked in). For the record my two talk process isn’t even for an open ended job, but a three year fixed term research fellowship. A few years ago that would certainly have been a 1-talk process and now it’s two. But then, a few years ago a job like that would have been interviewing people just finishing their PhDs, not someone 5 years postdoc (7 if you count my two years on maternity leave, which they sensibly don’t) like me. Even for a fixed term job in my field at the moment you’d better have a book to get your foot in the door. Academia is wild at the moment, even more than it always was, and it’s going to become even less diverse if this keeps up.

    5. BitterGravity*

      The big problem with academia that some businesses have copied is just ghosting applicants.

      I wasn’t particularly interested in going for a TT position so left after a postdoc, but corporate hiring has given me at least automated rejections 90% of the time at least.

      Though the biggest gripe was probably having to deal with ten different application systems and ask references to submit to them at the initial stage through ten different portals. Just ask it at the short-list (or even long-list) stage.

  5. Iridescent Periwinkle*

    A family member experienced something similar, there were around 6-8 interviews between screenings and Zoom and such. She was not selected for the job and the employer turned around and wanted her to do it all over again, almost immediately. She declined, which is unfortunate as she could use the job improvement but it was totally justifiable.

    1. PNWorker*

      It’s hard to say no, but sometimes you just know you’re not improving your situation even if would be an upgrade, on paper.

  6. Jmac*

    I would not be sticking around for a job interview that was 45 minutes late. If that’s how they treat you as an applicant, imagine how they’ll treat you as an employee

      1. My Useless 2 Cents*

        Yeah, a 2 hour job interview that started at 7PM…. nope. The 7PM time I don’t have an issue with, schedules and all. But 2 hours at that time of night, let alone more than one 2 hour 7PM interview ???? Serious, serious side eye. Strong suspicions that, if you got the job, they would expect you to work 24/7 and any reasonable boundaries would be met with questions about your “dedication to the company”.

        1. Merrie*

          I had a (video) job interview at 9:30 pm, but I think it was the rare scenario where that was justifiable, as I was interviewing for a night shift job and the interview panel included several of my would-be peers, so it had to be scheduled at a time they were available. Alternately I could have opted for 6 am but I am noooot a morning person.

        2. SpaceySteph*

          In some ways a 7pm interview would be a blessing for someone who wants to job search without their current employer knowing. But not for 2 hours!

    1. Aelfwynn*

      My husband had an interview (years back) that was 2 hours late. He eventually just left and then they got mad because he ‘should have blocked off 4 hours for the interview’. It kills me that they acted like HE was the one being unreasonable.

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        That’s absurd. I wish he would have/could have said, “I blocked off the whole day. You didn’t show up.”
        But you can’t argue with jerks.

      2. Analytical Tree Hugger*

        “because he ‘should have blocked off 4 hours for the interview’”

        My (fantasy) reply: lol, whut? No. Kthxbye.

        That employer is utterly ridiculous. No reasonable person would expect to have to block out four hours for an interview that’s supposed to take 1-2 hours. I was going to add “without previous notification”, then I realized it would still be absurd.

      3. CSRoadWarrior*

        This was THEIR fault, not your husband’s fault. It just makes me so mad when an employer does this.

  7. ExecRec*

    I’m an executive headhunter and let me tell you: the multi-stage interview process is a real thing! We are often guiding candidates through rounds of 10+ interviews… Bear in mind, these are execs who head up global companies often on $1m+ salaries with very little time!!
    As much as we advise clients NOT to do this, they very rarely listen… I think there is a definite element of multiple stakeholders wanting to have their say, but I also think there is an element of testing a candidate’s interest/investment in the role. It’s a LOT.

    1. scandi*

      I think it’s quite different on that level too. I can see that a very intense screening process makes sense for a C-suite position, but the problem is companies doing things for entry level/junior/mid-career roles too. If you’re paying someone that amount of money, and they would have a massive impact on the direction the company will be developing, of course you want to have multiple, in-depth conversations to figure out that their ideas and visions and management styles mesh well with the rest of the leadership team. If you’re hiring a junior programmer, not so much.

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        Funny how these same people will invest other people’s money with a “it’s a sure thing!” but won’t gamble their reputation on a person.

    2. irritable vowel*

      If anything, executives with $1M salaries have *more* time, because they have much more ability to delegate and make room in their schedules as needed. Someone making a 5-figure salary in the lower or middle ranks of an organization has less vacation time, less flexibility to reschedule meetings, less support from other people in the org, probably more hands-on responsibilities at home, etc. And the intensity of the interview process is probably more important when a company is hiring at an executive level – the person they hire is going to lead the company or have a C-level role. So the imbalance is not that executives are being asked to do too much as part of the interview process, it’s that “regular people” are being asked to devote an executive-level amount of time to interviewing.

      1. ferrina*

        Executives also have a lot more control over their schedule than many other roles. Exec has afternoon appointments for three weeks? Okay, that’s fine, probably no questions asked. The receptionist has that? Nope.

      2. CommanderBanana*

        “So the imbalance is not that executives are being asked to do too much as part of the interview process, it’s that “regular people” are being asked to devote an executive-level amount of time to interviewing.”

        ^^ This. Forgive me if I’m not hand-wringing over executives’ time being wasted.

        1. Fish*

          Yes. I interviewed at a small field office of a midsized firm, and the office’s head executive insisted on meeting the candidates himself. The position didn’t report to him, and the interviewing executives were annoyed because they could make the hiring decision without his input.

          Head executive’s packed calendar required me to meet with him separately, at a time it was super-awkward for me to be away from my current job.

          I still occasionally fantasize about telling him, you’re not important enough to make someone move heaven and earth to spend five minutes with you.

    3. Qwerty*

      hm, I think I’m ok with execs having a lot of interviews. It is a huge commitment on both ends that affects a lot of people’s lives.

      I’ve worked with VPs who had small vs large number of interviews and the ones that were thoroughly vetted came in with their eyes open about the pros and cons of the company and did really good worked. Those from the short interview process seemed polished and perfect on day 1 but after a month-ish turned out to be horrible chaos monkeys. People still haven’t recovered from the chaos monkeys, so I’m in favor of extra vetting of those with a lot of power.

  8. Coffee Please*

    When I hire, I do one phone screen and then one in-person interview with my small team and ask for a writing sample. My team and I take turns asking questions and everyone has input into those questions prior to the interview. I know how valuable folks’ time is (not to mention our time as well).

    1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      This, this is a role model for a solid interview process.

      Anything more than three interviews (HR screen, hiring manager, panel) makes me shake my head and back away.

  9. Claribel*

    Today, I was asked for references for a company that I’ve done 8 interviews for. Four of them were back to back, but that is still a lot.

  10. DisneyChannelThis*

    The recent trend I’ve been seeing is to ask for an in person full day, then cram as many interviews and meetings into it as possible. It was exhausting. But on the other hand it was one day of PTO to go do, and then only 2 follow up calls afterward. Its good that it’s over quickly, but it also feels excessive and a little obvious to current job (oh you’re taking all of a random Wednesday off but you have no plans to tell us about).

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      When I was graduating from college, it was typical to do a 30-minute on-campus interview, then if you made the cut, a full-day on-site interview. Which included 4-6 more 1-1s, including some with relatively senior people. But those companies were hiring for 10+ open slots, had a business model that needed lots of fresh new talent every year, organized everything well, arranged and paid for all the travel, and included a big chunk of “here’s what you’ll do working for us as a recent college grad, and this is what New City is like”.

      If you’re hiring mid-career professionals with a solid track record and meaningful references, that dog and pony show should not be necessary – neither all in one day, nor spread out virtually.

      1. The Yale Club*

        Tell us you’re an investment banker without telling us yiur an investment banker

        1. Fuel Injector*

          It’s not just investment bankers. I’m an engineer, and that tracks for my field.

        2. Caroline*

          Yeah, that’s the schtick for a lot of professions where graduate recruitment is a thing. Chartered surveyors do something very similar, just as an example.

        3. TurnedMeIntoANewt*

          BigLaw and certain boutique practices are like this too. Defender and prosecution offices are similar but not paying for a thing or wooing of candidates.

    2. ferrina*

      That’s brutal! If you’re applying for a role where a lot of meetings make sense- yep, fine. But if the role won’t have a lot of meetings? That’s just bad practice.

      At that point you’re testing the candidate’s endurance and ability to stay charming and intelligible and on their game for 8. hours. straight. Is that really a skill they need for the job?

      1. Fuel Injector*

        My work day is 8+ hours long, and yeah, I have to stay charming and intelligible for all of it.

    3. But Not the Hippopotamus*

      This is the one upside to the ridiculous service windows for maintenance/repair jobs. When I’m interviewing and have nosey coworkers, I always seem to have appliances break. can you believe they always give me some horrible window like 8-4?? At that point, I figure I might as well binge Netflix and take the day off.

      Mind, that works a whole lot better with in person work than remote!

    4. Yes And*

      How obvious to the current job it is depends on a lot of factors. Every working parent I know (including myself) has taken random days/hours off midweek to deal with kid stuff. Furthermore, I work in a field where people frequently have side hustles, and will take PTO on random days to pursue personal projects.

      1. Meghan*

        In early 2022, I knew that my job was going to try to replace me at my 90 day mark (I’d been there for 3 years but we had been bought by new management) and decided to follow my old boss across the street. I was very well known for taking my lunch at like 1PM, but my old boss texted me at 10:45AM “can you be over here at 11?”

        My co-worker hadn’t even arrived yet, so I just went downstairs, clocked out, did my interview across the street and came back. I don’t even know that my co-worker knew I had been gone. It was so weird.

        Then when I left that job, the hotel I was going to next asked what time I was available to meet “first thing in the morning, or 1PM, lunchtime-ish.” They gave me 11AM then kept me there almost 2 hours talking to different people in the department. My boss knew where I was and what I was doing, but I still had to point out to the new hotel that I was currently an hourly employee and still needed to earn my paycheck and couldn’t stay there all day.

    5. Former Themed Employee*

      “I’ve got some errands that I need to run. Bank, multiple appointments, renew my passport. Just decided to take 1 day and smash it all out”

  11. Lcsa99*

    I can’t even read this one. The thought that I might have to look for a job when I am already feeling down and out of sorts is hard enough. The thought that it might be worse than it was the last time I did it? I just can’t. I don’t have the spoons.

    1. Ashley*

      Remember when you are interviewing, you are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you. The desperation level for a job can change this (just like a companies desperation level for an employee changes what they are willing to accept).

      1. ferrina*


        I’ve found that I feel better when I care less about the job search. It means I’m more willing to walk away from a bad fit. I’m more protective of my time. A couple times I got off the screening call and immediately emailed the recruiter to withdraw from candidacy.

    2. Lobsterman*

      Has anyone actually gotten a job offer after >4 interviews? It seems pretty clear to me that these grueling processes are simply meant to fail.

      1. Not that other person you didn't like*

        Yeah, when I got my amazing job doing very cool things with awesome people and supportive management it was like six interviews! It was rediculous! Especially since I only really found out what the specific tech application was during the last interview. They also took 8 months to fill the role. 10 years later and the verdict is, totally worth it! I’ll be retiring from this job.

      2. mondaysamiright*

        The job I have now only took one 15 minute phone screen and one on-site 1-hour interview. I was sure there’d be more steps or I’d just get ghosted because every other place I’d interviewed with at the time had cumbersome processes, or didn’t move me on to the next round, so when this one emailed me an offer a few weeks after the interview, I was floored. It’s the best job I’ve had so far, so I’m not complaining about their process, but it seems outside of the norm.

      3. Qwerty*

        Yep! I mean, I’ve had 4 interviews during a single on site visit.

        I do recall an interview with Microsoft when I was in college where my first interviewer didn’t show up, so the recruiter spammed my resume to see who he could tack on as a replacement at the end of the day. College candidates had to be get a certain number of approvals to get to an EOD interview with a hiring manager. Except everyone signed up! So my day just kept going and going…I think I eventually asked to go home. That’s kinda how I envision some of these never ending chains of zoom interviews happen – people just keep getting tacked onto the list because they think virtual interviews are so easy and the candidate’s perspective gets lost.

      4. TCO*

        My current job had one phone screen and one in-person interview panel. Best job I’ve ever had. I’ve interviewed or worked several other places with only 1-3 interview steps, the first being just phone or zoom.

      5. Lucky Meas*

        Yes but the candidate might not choose it! I applied to Company A in January, had 5 interviews with weeks of back and forth in between. After the 2nd or 3rd interview, I applied to Company B, which responded immediately and had 3 interviews over the course of a month or so. I got job offers from both and went with Company B because they seemed more agile and less bureaucratic. I would have gone with Company A if they had just moved faster!

    3. SarahKay*

      Not all companies are as bad.
      I moved internally and when my company was interviewing for my replacement it was a short phone screen for high-level deal-breakers, an hour zoom with direct manager, and an hour on-site visit with matrix manager (site leader), me, and a member of the site team they’d be working with.
      If replacement had actually been reporting direct to the site leader then the second stage would have been cut out too – although the third stage might have been 1.5 hours instead. This was for a mid-level role – part of the site leadership team, although without any direct reports.

  12. FrivYeti*

    I have a pretty strong rule that if an organization wants me to do more than three stages of interviews, they had better either have a hell of a good explanation for why this is unusual for them, or they have to be the absolute golden ideal of a job that I would kill for. Otherwise, I will simply bow out of the process, because any place that doesn’t respect my time to that degree in the hiring phase isn’t going to respect me in the employment phase.

    1. Beveled Edge*

      What if they all had clearly defined different purposes?

      See, we do four and I can’t see any to cut. There’s the initial phone screening, which as a candidate I wouldn’t want to cut either — both sides want to make sure the other is sane, plus we explain the interview process and answer questions. Then the regular interview with the team, and the technical interview to see the candidates code skills. Finally, the leading candidate has a conversation with someone at the C-level, which seemed strange to me when I interviewed but I ended up really appreciating getting a high level view of the organization before deciding to accept the position.

      1. Beveled Edge*

        And we limit the length of those two main interviews to respect the candidate’s time; I never feel like we have enough time to really get to know the people.

      2. Qwerty*

        This seems fine with me for an experienced hire. I would bundle interviews 2 & 3 as Round 2 (still have them be separate, but handle the scheduling part at the same time). I’ve been a candidate at places that tried to combine the code interview with the regular interview and it was not pleasant.

      3. FrivYeti*

        Hrm. I’m not a technical employee, so it hadn’t occurred to me that the “skills” portion of the interview process would be in a different place than the “regular interview with the team” portion. My job applications have always involved submitting my work portfolio, and then I answer questions about it in the regular interview to prove that I know what I’m talking about.

        Also, when I’ve had interviews that included a C-level conversation, that was almost always done in the same phase as the team interview. It was technically two interviews, but they were back-to-back in one block of time so it felt like one.

        I will trust the commentariat if they say that separating out the coding portion is necessary. I’d still probably prefer to have at least two of those stages back to back, but if it was explained that way at the start of the process it seems reasonable.

      4. TurnedMeIntoANewt*

        I also see 2 & 3 as the same step, especially when it is really common to do both on the same day or at least not have one contingent on passing the other.

    2. Caroline*

      I was recently burned and really strung along in this manner. Initially, because it was over summer and various people were away, I could understand the process dragging a little – and that was fine. They referenced it, said it wasn’t usual. BUT THEN… ”oh but you might be ideal for this other, very similar role in a different team, so we want you to meet X… ooh, and also Y. But they’re away!” All this translated into about 4-5 separate meetings, with 2-3 weeks in between, each one promising – often with a tinkling laugh – that ”this is the LAST TIME! WE PROMISE”…

      And then ”yeah, no, we’ve decided not to go ahead with you.”

      Though I was reasonably pissxd about the treatment, I had my now-awesome job coming down the pike and did realise that this could be a huge red flag about the company in question, who preached work-life balance, loving ”their people” and so on…

  13. Jaybeetee*

    I get honestly curious as to what questions even get asked by the 4th+ interview – let alone by the 17th!

    Like, in the various interviews in my working history, there seem to be a general combination of “personality” questions and work experience/expertise questions. Employers want to know that you’re capable of doing the work, and that you’ll more or less be compatible with that workplace (i.e. overtime-heavy job vs. someone who says they value work-life balance, etc). But like… there are generally only so many questions you can ask, or need to ask, in those veins, before things get repetitive or circular.

    If anyone here has been through a pile of interviews for one job, I’m genuinely curious – what sorts of questions were they even asking by the later rounds?

    1. rubies are red*

      I described one situation below, but at my company HR puts together a job description comprised of 8-10 “key skills”. They do this with minimal input from the hiring manager, or put nice-to-haves as key skills. Then HR picks different people to test the various skills. Since this is done (1) largely without consulting the direct manager and (2) there’s a lot of leeway in the job duties (we need someone to do A and B, but we can’t hire two people) the jobs are not really fixed until the hiring is done. So each interview is testing different skills. Because we’re engineering, it’s all technical and no personality.

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        I read your comment below.
        Your company does Texas Bullseye hiring?
        Needed: entry level sales rep.
        Hey, are you an engineer who codes? Whoo HOO!

    2. pally*

      I’m thinking the latter rounds of interviews may be with add’l employees.

      But yeah, you make a good point. How much questioning does it take to determine competency in the work, cultural fit and interest in the position? Is endurance now a thing?
      Is that 15th interviewer really going to come up with that one question that uncovers evidence that the candidate is a fraud? C’mon!

      One time, I had an online interview with 17 different employees. To be fair, some of the interviewers were in pairs. Up front, they told me that the incumbent was horrible, and they knew that having everybody at the company interview the candidates would surely prevent them from making a second bad hire. Uh-huh.

      So I got asked a dozen times, “why am I looking to leave my current job?”, and why I was interested in this job. Not everyone was on board with the interviewing. Three people told me they refused to ask me any questions as they feared they might ask me a question I’d answered previously. I had to ‘entertain’ them for 30 minutes. I asked a lot of questions, and they were not very forthcoming with responses.

      Awful all around. And to no one’s surprise, I did not get offered the job.

    3. onyxzinnia*

      When I was interviewing last year there was the rehash of the work history every round, but the direction the conversation took was different based on the interviewer background. I’d choose which parts to emphasize according to what I knew mattered to them. So I’d highlight my comms experience with the marketing person, but educational material creation with the technical trainer and so on.

      A few times I had to give a presentation on the assignment they had me do, CEOs cared more about how I thought about the bigger picture (and these are mid-level roles!)

    4. Observer*

      If anyone here has been through a pile of interviews for one job, I’m genuinely curious – what sorts of questions were they even asking by the later rounds?

      Repeats of the questions that were already asked, apparently.

      1. Jaybeetee*

        Yeah, I’m seeing a lot of it *does* seem to get repetitive and circular once you get past about 4 interviews. Or they’re basically getting free work out of people with “samples” by then.

        I’m in a slightly different niche, in that I work for government (which is its own beast with plenty of hiring practices I dislike), and I’m luckily content enough where I am and not desperate… but I feel like in a multi-interview process, my personal line in the sand would be once the questions start getting very repetitive like that. One or two repeat questions, sure, but I’m on interview #5 and it’s all stuff I’ve already answered, and your team isn’t collaborating enough on the process to realize you already have the info? Nah, I’m out.

        1. pally*

          Sometimes I wonder if they are testing my veracity by each one asking me the same questions. But then, they aren’t comparing notes or sharing answers so nope! they are not.

          1. Qwerty*

            I have sometimes joked that when a candidate is meeting with multiple people, that the first 15min should be an intro session with all the interviewers so the candidate only has to tell the basic “here’s my background, why I’m looking for a job, what I want in my next role” once. Then the interviewers disperse and can spend their individual timeslots on the important questions.

    5. Not that other person you didn't like*

      Direct peers (series of individual / pairs) for fit, philosophy of management, work style, scenarios
      Team members I’d be managing in groups (leadership style, ability to engage in technical topics, general “can I stand this person in authority over me”)
      Collaborative leadership exercise (can I bring a group to a consensus when there’s no good answer)
      The VP (who gave me technical homework ahead of time)
      HR for benefits, ect.
      My boss, to tell me what it was they actually did

      I’m sure I got the order wrong
      They were apologetic throughout about the number is meetings, some caused by team availability. They’d also been looking for 8 months.

    6. Parenthesis Guy*

      I’ve been through something like that. I had a first round with the hiring manager, and then a second round with all the team members. But the team member interviews were largely 1 on 1s. So, if there were six team members, you’d meet with six people. And they’d ask overlapping questions because they all want to get to know you.

      By the last people, I had no more questions that I wanted answers to.

  14. rubies are red*

    I was involved in interviewing one candidate for a job. I did not know of the job’s existance (we were creating a new role), it was not on my team. I was asked to interview the candidate about a week before, and was given a job description from HR. I interviewed based on that job description. I gave my report to the hiring manager (candidate is strong in X, weak in Y). Hiring manager says Y isn’t important (it was a “key skill” in the job description). I overheard the candidate being given a coding skills interview (coding was neither part of the job description, nor part of the job). I think the poor guy went through at least 7 rounds of interviews. For a job that’s essentially entry-level. I don’t think he got it. My company is HUGELY disorganized.

  15. NeedRain47*

    I hate all of this so much. I hate the multiple interviews on multiple days, I hate the zoom call with the picture off which is essentially a phone interview, I hate the fact that I’m better at writing than talking to other humans, I hate that they don’t tell you before you apply how many interviews there might be, I hate that they don’t tell you what kinds of questions each interview will focus on (entirely skills based? Entirely behavioral interview questions? It’s gonna be a surprise!) All so I can beg someone to pay me enough money to never be able to afford a home or retirement. Excuse me, running off into the woods and never coming back now.

    1. Hanani*

      Higher ed can absolutely take things to an extreme, but I appreciate that my office (we hire for staff jobs, not faculty jobs) tells candidates how many rounds ahead of time, who will be in the conversations, and what questions we’ll asked. I did have an all-day second round (Zoom) interview for my own hire, but I knew the schedule and could prepare.

  16. BellyButton*

    For a job I ultimately turned down:
    1 30 min screening call with recruiter
    1 60 min more in-depth call with recruiter
    1 60 min interview with head of HR (the position I was interviewing for was not an HR position)
    1 90 min with hiring manager
    1 60 min with team (3 people)
    1 60 min presentation with hiring manger, 1 person from team, 1 person from global team
    1 60 min interview with CEO

    That was over an 8 week period, it was so spread out because of the time of year was a particularly busy one for them and because people had PTO scheduled. It was exhausting and I ended up turning it down for a job I LOVE that had 3 interviews over 2 weeks. It was a much better experience over all!

    1. Corporate Lawyer*

      And a partridge in a pear tree!

      I literally started singing the Twelve Days of Christmas to myself as I read the list of interviews. What a ridiculous process; I’m so glad you found a great job elsewhere.

  17. M.*

    The last job interview process I went on lasted for four interviews and a lengthy portfolio and sample test, and I still wasn’t offered the position. I mean, them’s the breaks, kid, but these expectations from the employer have absolutely become normalized, and it’s frustrating.

  18. Analytical Tree Hugger*

    Alison’s insight on *why* employers are doing this is quite helpful, even though it’s ridiculous and disrespectful.

    In the US, I am curious how this trend (employers demanding more of candidates) intersects with the low unemployment rates and the complaints about employers not finding enough workers. Though the worker shortage is limited to specific industries, so I also wonder how widespread the over-the-top interviewing process is across industries.

    1. NeedRain47*

      I’d doubt the multiple interview jobs and the types of jobs that can’t find enough workers (because they don’t pay a living wage) overlap much. The zillion interviews feels like the price you pay for potentially earning something you can survive on. I could be wrong about this but when I was in “unskilled” but also “essential” jobs I never had to talk to more than 1 or 2 people.

    2. Oxford Common Sense*

      So much this. We have lost out on great candidates because we are too slow. How on earth are employers hiring people if they behave this way in a market like we have now?

    3. Qwerty*

      Industries where there is a worker shortage seem to be leaning towards less interviews and just getting people in the door, as far as I am aware.

      Individual companies that are losing out on candidates due to a slow process tend to wise up eventually.

  19. Chairman of the Bored*

    I might want a job, but I don’t need any *particular* job.

    There’s no position for which I would be a plausible candidate that is so desirable that I’d do more than 3 separate rounds of interviews to get it.

  20. Sunflower*

    Interviews are the reason I’m sticking with my current job even though I’d probably earn more money at other companies. I’m a good worker but terrible at interviews and now the process seems worse than ever.

      1. Zephy*

        Dang, that must be one humdinger of a job if you’ve been interviewing for it for eight years.

  21. I should really pick a name*

    Unless they’re out of work and desperate, I’m amazed at how many interviews people are willing to put up with.

    I think when they try to book number 4 is when I’d be looking for very firm answers on how many more there will be, and number 5 is when I’d consider dropping out.

    1. The Original K.*

      My friend dropped out of a process after interview #5, with no end in sight. He said he felt like he should have been paid for his time by that point.

  22. nope*

    My first interview process out of college was for a social media job at a local branch of a national real estate agency. I did a 30 minute phone interview, an hour long zoom interview, an hour long online personality assessment, a 2.5 hour in-person interview to go over the results of the assessment, and then they called me to set up ANOTHER 2.5 hour long “life story” interview AND a separate lunch interview with the whole team. They hinted that there would be even more rounds after that, and I ended up dropping out of the process at that point for a multitude of reasons. They called, texted, and emailed me wanting to “check in” every couple of weeks for the next 3 months, and I ended up having to block their numbers. Needless to say, I dodged a bullet with that one.

      1. NeedRain47*

        …. there are lots of things that would likely be revealed in a “life story” interview that employers are prohibited from asking about. That seems like a way to get sued?

        1. nope*

          That’s exactly what I was thinking at the time and I went into the depths of Glassdoor to see if anyone had mentioned it (apparently it’s part of their national hiring process). It sounded like the questions depended on the interviewer, but were often asking about your “goals” and sometimes got as close as they could to asking about things like family planning, past events that were “significant” in your life, and other really personal and borderline illegal things. I withdrew before that interview after looking closer into it. This was about 3 years ago so I’m curious to see if it’s changed by now, but it seemed like they’d been doing it that way for a while. Surprised there hasn’t been a big lawsuit over it tbh.

          1. Hermione Danger*

            I think I interviewed with a branch of that same company, because your process sounds REAAAAALLY familiar.

  23. Khatul Madame*

    I am a passive job seeker.
    A recruiter reached out to me, I sent them my resume, we had a screening call. I was not gung-ho on the job, but open to talking with the hiring team. Recruiter asked me, before scheduling an interview, to “revamp” my resume in very vague terms.
    I bowed out of the process.

  24. DC*

    A couple of years ago, I had an interview for another unit within my organization (so, internal) and with a hiring manager I had worked with and could speak to me, my abilities, and contributions. The role I was applying to wasn’t a senior-level position, wasn’t a managerial role, and was generally—at least from what I thought from the job listing—a straight-forward position.

    The interview process took place during the height of COVID, and they were adamant that I come in for multiple in-person interviews. That already left me feeling extremely uneasy, but then they asked that I put together an entire PPT presentation and come up with a white paper for how they should be revamping their entire social media presence (on top of the samples I provided and an assessment they gave me). At that point, I pulled out—I had another offer come in, but it left me with the worst taste in my mouth.

    It’s frustrating that it happened that way because the hiring manager made it clear to me that I was the top choice and the job was basically mine—a lot of what they were putting me through was just for formality sake. But I think the larger lesson here is that, just because someone dares to send in an application and express interest in your position, it does not mean that you’re entitled to gobs and gobs of their time and energy. It’s really outrageous, and reading the examples Alison highlighted in the article, my experiences with this are on the lower end of this ridiculous spectrum.

  25. Punk*

    It’s even worse if you’re working with recruiters. The amount of really long calls and follow-ups they demand is ridiculous. I’m normally a patient person but during my last round of job searching I hit a point where I got so tired of listening to these people talk every day. That’s part of interview fatigue too: so much of an interview is just listening to long spiels, so you’re skipping multiple lunch hours and you barely get to say anything.

  26. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    To everyone sharing interview stories: Thank you.
    I am reading every single one. Here is one, giant “wow, that crazy” to all of you.
    I am mentally preparing myself for this new “normal.”

  27. Marketing Ninja Unicorn*

    I am currently hiring, and I’m pushing back, hard, on some of what my company considers to be ‘normal’:

    1. Initial contact from HR to set up a meeting = Fine; I’d rather do it, but bureaucracy being what it is, I’m fine with HR doing it.
    2. Initial meeting via Zoom with minimum two people from my team = Nope. NO one needs to be camera-ready for a phone screen. We don’t even know if we’ll like these people! They can do a phone screen and we’ll bring in the promising candidates.
    3. Two in-person interviews = Probably not, unless it’s really hard to choose between two candidates.

    The job we’re hiring for is one, maaaaaaybe two steps above entry-level, so I don’t need three rounds to evaluate people.

    I am requiring that HR tells the candidates we want to screen that they need to send us their portfolios to review in advance (design job, so totally normal.) I wanted to ask for it in the job posting, but HR wouldn’t let me.

    I’m also pushing back that ‘you need to interview any candidate who’s qualified, even if they didn’t mention in their cover letter that they use these design programs, even if they didn’t send a cover letter when we specifically asked for one, and even when their resumes don’t mention any of the design programs you use.’ Clearly HR and I have very different ideas of ‘qualified.’

    1. Beveled Edge*

      Oof. As much as I’d like admin help with our hiring process, I’m glad our team is designing it ourselves and not having to fight with another team to do it efficiently.

  28. Chirpy*

    I’m just worried this is going to happen if I ever get an interview. I currently work retail, (and a fairly dirty job on retail) so I can’t just pop out for a “long lunch/appointment” to do interviews and be able to look nice. I’d have to take half a day (PTO is limited and can only be used for full days) and since I’m not paid well here, I really can’t afford to take too much time off or I honestly won’t be able to pay rent. Which, of course, is why I need a new job….

    1. Qwerty*

      I would bring this up during the first recruiter phone call and ask what the format of the interview process is. Maybe they’d be willing to do a phone call rather than video call for some interviews. Or they can group multiple interviews together to make use of your half day.

      Sometimes companies will schedule after-hours interviews for strong candidates they are excited for who have trouble finding availability during business hours.

      1. Chirpy*

        I mean, hopefully I can schedule things on my one weekday off, but if that day doesn’t work (same day every week), it’s just going to be awkward. I also can’t answer my phone at work, so I’d have to have a scheduled time and manage to take my lunch (or a last minute “appointment”) at that time so I can talk in my car even for a daytime phone call. (Nowhere private in the building to talk, and only allowed to leave the building during lunch, not breaks).

    2. MsSolo (UK)*

      This is another thing that creates indirect discrimination against women, because women are more likely to be working in the service industry then men.

      I had an interview for a free coding bootcamp that was specifically targeted at giving women who were already working coding skills so they could transition their career. The actual bootcamp was one intensive week and then evening classes for 12 weeks, dates and times given in the advert, so you could figure out if it was worth applying. But then they gave five days notice for a 4 hour group interview, in the middle of the working day. Now, my manager was happy to let me disappear for a bit (she was in the middle of resigning herself!), but if that had been a day I had childcare responsibilities? Five days is not enough notice for my husband to take a day off work, or my nearest family member to make the 5 hour (each way) drive to our house, or nursery to take my daughter for an extra day. If I’d passed the group interview, there would have been solo interviews, with similarly short notice. How can you specifically target women and not consider the higher probability of caring responsibilities, or other impacts of the ability to drop everything for four hours?

      (because you don’t actually want all women, you just want recent graduates who are easy to pressure into working long hours for lower-than-industry-average-pay if they’re offered a job at the end of it because they’re soooo grateful for the free training)

      Interview processes that don’t offer flexible times, don’t give sufficient notice about interview dates and time, and involve multiple rounds, are increasing the barrier for anyone with caring responsibilities and anyone working in the service industry (or industries like teaching, nursing, or care – all heavily skewing towards women and PoC). It’s a little bit of indirect discrimination that makes the barrier for entry to these white collar roles (because they inevitably are) higher for certain groups, and that it’s getting worse suggests no one is particularly motivated to address that.

  29. mcm*

    I had a potential employer ask me to complete some sample work that they estimated would take 8-10 hours. It ended up taking me closer to the 10 hrs, and then I was turned down for the job. I asked for feedback on the sample work and never got a response.
    I totally get that you may not get a response asking for feedback on an interview, but honestly, once you’ve asked me to spend 10 hours of unpaid time putting together a packet of sample work, I do think you owe candidates at least the consideration of some brief feedback. If you don’t have time to give feedback on that volume of sample work, I think that should tell you something about how much you are asking of candidates and how early in the process you are asking it.

  30. No Longer Gig-less Data Analyst*

    I was put through a 4 step interview process for a company I had worked for before for 5 years. The job was almost entirely the same as my former position and it was reporting to people I had worked directly for in the past. I had only been gone for 3 years and was very much a known entity, but I had to jump through all these hoops and ultimately I didn’t even get the job. I suspect money was the issue as my minimum was their cap, and they wound up hiring someone just out of college whereas I have 25+ years of work experience.

    Another former coworker at the same place was the hiring manager for a completely different position, and when he heard that they had rejected me he immediately reached out about the job on his team. We had a single interview and he made me an offer at the end of the call for $15K more than the other job. To say that I would move mountains for my new boss is an understatement – the respect that he showed for my experience and skills by saying he wasn’t interested in wasting either of our times when it was obvious to him I was the right person is something I’ll appreciate forever.

  31. Good Luck*

    My husband’s first job he interviewed out of college included 5 rounds of interviews 45 minutes away. He didn’t get it and it was so frustrating. We secretly wished we could have sent them an invoice for gas and mileage, lol. This was long before the era of video interviews.

  32. learnedthehardway*

    I’m in HR and yeah – multi-step interview processes are a THING. Getting hiring manager to NOT do them is really difficult, especially with senior role or roles that entail working with multiple stakeholders.

    When I was looking for my first REAL job, I had 5 interviews, and pushed back when they asked me to come back to meet with more people. Turned out, they thought I needed more selling on the role / company, lol. I told them that no, I really wanted to work there and they should make me an offer. They did, and it was a great job.

    On the other side, a friend of mine turned down a role because he was only offered 2 interviews before he was offered the job. It was a for a well-known consulting company and he felt he didn’t get enough insight because he hadn’t met enough people. He was very likely right, as it was a firm where he would have worked with several different areas (geographic, functional, industry, etc. etc.) and all of them would have had an influence on his career growth. So he wanted buy-in from everyone. He ended up joining another consulting firm instead, that presumably interviewed him 5-6 times.

  33. onyxzinnia*

    I would like to know if this is widespread or mostly limited to certain industries. I’d also be curious if this is US only or if folks from other countries are seeing similar trends.

    I work in tech and when I was interviewing remotely last year, I averaged around 7 interviews per role. Generally went like this: Recruiter screening, Hiring Manager, 2-3 peers of hiring manager (usually team leads within the same department), Grandboss, and finally Department Head or CEO. Sometimes there’d be another conversation with hiring manager after all that. Sometimes an assignment or presentation after the hiring manager round. I even had one org reach out to my references and still reject me.

    Although my current company took a month and a half to respond to my initial application, the actual interview process itself was a blissful 4 rounds.

  34. CommanderBanana*

    Glassdoor now has the option to review your interview experience with organizations, even if you don’t get an offer or take the job.

  35. NCA*

    I was preparing a draft email to Allison on just this topic earlier this week, so I’m very glad to see it’s not just me! I have four primary positions I’ve interviewed for after a layoff, at least 5 rounds of interviews for each (the highest had 9), plus work examples for two (a 5th position I didn’t continue with wanted specifically examples of prior analysis work from earlier jobs, in an industry where that kind of work is proprietary), and now 6-8 weeks of waiting on responses! (With weekly reassurances that yes, I’m still the frontrunner, but they just need to talk to x, y, z person)

  36. A Genuine Scientician*

    This is ridiculous. I’m in academia, which often has its own bizarre bureaucracy, and our most recent faculty hire was way less involved than this.

    On the candidate’s end, they dealt with up to two stages after submitting their materials:

    1) A one hour Zoom interview,
    2) A one day on-site interview. This involved a teaching demonstration, a series of meetings with faculty in the unit, and a formal interview portion with scripted initial questions and then follow ups as needed. Plus meals with people in the unit. For people not already in our city (or close enough by that they preferred to drive — one of our finalists lives in a city about an hour away and preferred to commute for it rather than stay in a hotel), we flew them here, put them in a hotel, etc. We only contacted references for the finalists who made it to this stage.

    For the in person interviews, we had 7 finalists and we asked them all for their top 3 choices over 13 work days in a 3 week stretch. Everyone managed to get either their 1st or 2nd choice.

    Sure, I had a lot of behind-the-scenes meetings as part of the search committee, developing our rubrics, scoring all the candidates, debating who we’d advance to the next round, etc. But there’s no need for the candidates to have to do a bunch of separate interviews.

    1. A Genuine Scientician*

      Should have added:

      Listed application deadline: Mar 20
      Zoom interviews: April 10 to April 14
      In person interviews: May 5 to May 17
      Final meeting of search committee: May 22

      Currently working its way through the bureaucracy to make the offers. Start date will be Aug 15 (tied to academic schedule)

  37. cardigarden*

    Academic library: After a phone screen, we do day long interviews with multiple components. 1) a presentation with Q&A, particularly if there’s a teaching component to the job, or if there’s no presentation an open session that anyone can attend 2) with the positions manager, 3) with the position’s department, and 4) with the director. It’s an exhausting day, but by the end of it, everyone involved from the candidate to the hiring team has a good idea of who everyone is.

    Candidates are consulted on their schedule and if they’re not local we pay for transportation to/from including hotel.

    1. Beveled Edge*

      That was my experience too, but in hindsight I don’t think they really needed me to meet with reps from every department, or require me to be On for a breakfast reception, lunch, AND dinner with various potential colleagues. Talk about exhausting…

  38. Flowers*

    Previous job was 2 rounds, 1 of which was answering riddles and brain teasers (ugh!). No reply for 6 weeks, and I ended up taking an internship elsewhere in the meantime.

    Current job – 30 minutes. I feel silly at times for wondering if that was a red flag.

    1. Avery*

      If you’re silly, I am too! All I had for my job just before this one was a ~20 minute phone interview, and then when I got transferred to this job (last job stopped existing, I’d already been doing some work for my current boss, they needed the work done and could afford to hire me on when previous boss had to drop me), there was no formal hiring process at all, just a brief phone conversation that confirmed it’d work for me. Both struck me as unusually lax, but both have been great jobs!

  39. Observer*

    I read the article and I’m reading the comments, and I simply can’t get over the urge to snark “But no one wants to work anymore!” and “Employees have too much power in this job market!”

    Because this is nuts!

  40. CozyDetective*

    For my current position, I had to go through 6 hr long interviews + phone screen. The phone screen was a 15 min call, and I always expected to have multiple meetings with my boss over the interview process. But after having an hr long virtual meeting with my boss, I had an hr long virtual meeting with two future co workers, then another hr virtual meeting with two members of the extended team (one of whom was a summer intern! Wtf?) and then another one in person hr long meeting with my boss, one in person hr long meeting with my boss’s boss, and then one virtual hr long meeting with my great-grand boss. It was incredible because I was their top candidate (as told to me by my boss afterwards) and they knew they wanted me after the initial resume review. Why they made me jump through so many hoops is anyone’s guess. Had I had any other options, job wise, I wouldn’t have put up with it. These meetings were scheduled during the workday (at one point the recruiter suggested I take a call from my office at the job I was leaving), and at night. I believe they’ve tightened up their process somewhat—a colleague was hired and she only had 3 interviews—one w/ her boss, one with her future coworkers and then one w/ grand boss. That said, we put our summer interns through the paces—3 hr long interviews with the team and our leadership. Everyone on the leadership team wanted a say! Even those that wouldn’t be working directly with the interns. Total insanity. Even the recruiter later on mentioned that’d she’d never seen an intern be interviewed more than 1x (after the initial phone screening of course). And did I say that just to get into the door I had to submit resume, record 6 video responses and also take a behavior assessment and excel assessment(that was based on knowing keyboard shortcuts)?? Reader, I’m more proficient at excel than my boss and the rest of my leadership team.

  41. WantonSeedStitch*

    I’m hiring right now, and the process is HR phone screen followed by a few hours of Zoom interviews (all within half a day, during normal work hours). The interviews are with 1-2 people at our workplace at a time, and include meetings with candidates’ would-be peers, managers, and grandboss. Then we check references of the person to whom we want to make an offer. Unless anything egregious comes up, we make the offer.

  42. Heather*

    In many places, teachers are expected to interview 2-3 times and do a sample lesson or two on the campus. This often turns into a half day or a full day interview.
    I once did an interview for an entire work day that included a sample lesson and 6 interviews with various people at the school. I got ghosted after that despite being told my lesson was great and everyone was happy with my interviews.

    1. Mark*

      Ridiculous. I’ve gone on over 100 k12 interviews. The longest was 90 minutes which included writing or teaching a lesson. This is rare. Most are about 30 minutes and 10 questions in a panel. Sure, I have typically given them references before and other info, but if you need more than a couple of interviews for most positions, I don’t think you know how to hire.

  43. Ginger Cat Lady*

    Two stories:
    My husband went through an interview process that involved 10 interviews. And the first one, the sixth one, and the last one were all 1:1 *with the same person* . Also the people who were the second, third and fourth interviews were the entire panel for the 5th interview.
    I had to complete a project for an application process. I took the fonts and colors from their product and used them in my project, to demonstrate that I understood company branding. I didn’t get the job because “your font and color choices look dated” – and I just didn’t know how to respond to that.

  44. soshedances1126*

    My partner was unemployed for nearly five months recently (just before the holidays until about a month ago). We were both so grateful that his current job had a very quick interview process that didn’t keep him waiting. Applied on a Monday, phone screen on a Tuesday, in person interview Thursday, offer later that day, and he started a week after he applied. It was a nice (and needed!) change from nearly every other job he had looked at over his unemployment period, some of which dragged on for more than two months. It was particularly frustrating in an unemployed situation!

  45. Qwerty*

    I feel like remote work made this worse. It just became so easy to schedule ad hoc 30min sessions that I think schedulers lost sight of how frustrating this is for a candidate.

    We mapped out what our interview process would like for someone on-site and then figured out what the virtual equivalent would be. The candidate gets sent both options so they can be involved on whether the multiple interviews in the final round get scheduled in a single chunk of time or spread throughout the week (A suprising number of dev preferred breaking it up! It was less noticable for them to be unresponsive for 30min at work over multiple days than block off a 2hr time slot)

    On the other end of the spectrum – I’ve been seeing some job postings include the format of the interview process, which I think is great.

  46. Gumdrop Buttons*

    Of course, these interviews are AFTER you apply for a job through a job portal where they have you upload your resume, and then individually input all of the details from each job you’ve ever had starting when you were 12, along with the phone number, address, and email of your supervisor at each job.

    1. Friendly Neighborhood Auditor*

      I recently abandoned an application based on a portal just like that. I grumbled and was prepared to just get on with it until I realized that the portal required manager names and phone numbers. For every role I’ve ever had.

      That was the proverbial straw.

      1. I have RBF*

        Yeah, I walk away from those. Hell, I can’t remember my manager’s name from some of < 1 year contracts I've had.

        I don't have the phone numbers of my prior bosses (and don't have a right to give out even if I did.) I definitely don't have the phone number for the graveyard that my manager from the 90s is buried in (he died in 2015.)

  47. FashionablyEvil*

    I was approached by a recruiter about an opening. I interviewed with seven different people. They ghosted me. It was ABSURD.

    1. Irianamistifi*

      Was this with a certain household baking brand? Because I have had a similar experience very recently, where I completed 8 interviews, was told they needed to schedule a 9th, then told the 8th actually replaced the 9th, and then they ghosted me for 3 weeks and finally yesterday they sent me a form email rejection. I was livid.

  48. JanetM*

    My organization has a lot of bureaucracy around exempt staff hiring. I can’t speak to non-exempt staff or faculty procedures because those have changed since I was hired and supported a few searches.

    From the employer side, it’s a tedious hassle. From the employee side, it was a 30-minute screening interview with the committee, followed by a 60-minute, more in-depth interview with the committee and a 45-minute interview with the hiring manager (the latter two on the same day, with a 15-minute break between them).

  49. DarthVelma*

    I keep having the exact opposite of this problem. I cannot convince our hiring panels to do more than one interview. You cannot know with one hour-long interview whether someone is the right fit for a job. I would think that was axiomatic, but so many people seem to think it’s enough. And then they’re all surprised when the person doesn’t work out. I’m just boggled.

  50. Allisaurus*

    Wow, the stories in the article and these comments are crazy! I can’t imagine anything over 5 interviews. There was a job I really wanted a couple of years ago where I did a phone screen, a Zoom interview with a peer/manager, and then a Zoom interview with the executive I’d be assisting in the role, then a final half-day at the office. But to me, that was A LOT, and I only really put up with it because I really wanted that particular job.

    I work for a small-ish tech company now, and part of my job includes the first-round phone screening. We do a phone screen and then an in-person interview with 1-2 of the management team, and then we make an offer if we like them. No crazy long processes or anything like that. And we only ask for examples of past work; there’s no expectation to complete any test exercises as part of the process. Our CEO is really big on being considerate of candidates’ time, and I really love that! Both as a candidate when I was hired and now when I’m coordinating the interview process for others.

    1. Allisaurus*

      There’s also a reference check, but we don’t require more from a candidate than the initial application (which does NOT ask for them to manually enter their entire resume and job history like some sites out there), 15-20 minutes on the phone, 40-60 minutes in-person, and providing their references if we get to that point.

  51. SW*

    Jeez I thought it was bad when a job had me do a zoom interview, an in-person interview, and had me send an example of my documentation. I was already leaning towards no when they wanted me to do another zoom call with a higher up. I’d been on the fence before about the job but decided to bow out after this (maybe!) last request.

  52. The Wizard Rincewind*

    I just finished round 3/5 today. And no, I’m not interviewing for a position that is managerial/requires deft foreign policy negotiation/could result in the loss of life. Good times.

  53. Elizabeth West*

    *insert bland regret face here* I’m sorry, no.

    Your failure to organize is not my problem, and it tells me a lot more about what it’s like to work for you than it does about what it’s like to employ me.

    As for work samples, no. I don’t do spec work; if you want a sample that takes me more than an hour of my personal time, you need to pay me. That’s why I constructed an extensive portfolio. You can peruse it at your leisure, see what kind of work I’ve done, and extrapolate the showcased skills to the job.

    If that’s too much for you, I guess we’re not going to continue this process. You will also go on my list of companies I won’t apply to again.

    1. dackquiri*

      That’s just it. In my experience, nine-interview processes don’t happen because each of those nine interviews serve a unique purpose and scope. They happen because eight other people in eight other departments wanted to have a say and got their way.

      The more interviews you have with the same people, the more they’re just kicking your tires.
      The more interviews you have with different people, the more cooks there are in the kitchen of the hiring process.

  54. Coffee and Plants*

    I’ve written here about this before, but I’m still salty over the seven interviews I had with a company and I ended up not getting the job. I would have been remote and they ended up going with someone local.

    The process was exhausting and I had to take time away from my work day for it (I think it ended up being close to six hours or something like that altogether). Don’t put people through this!

  55. DivergentStitches*

    My current job, it was a quick “we need one more person on this new team hurrrrrry!” and I wasn’t aware of that. Definitely some things were left out of the interview (like that I’d be expected to work 9 to 6 and that I’d be taking client calls a lot). I would have preferred at least a second interview where preferably someone else on the hiring team could have given me more details. Who thinks to ask whether the schedule would be the standard 9 to 5.

  56. Schnapps*

    Previous job: cover letter and resume, one interview and standardized testing, about 2 hours worth, onsite at the org.

    Current job: cover letter and resume, one interview, and a question I was sent to see if I could do the basics of the job that took me 20 minutes. It would have been less but there might have been wine involved since I was recovering from a very stressful project at previous job and it was Friday night.

    1. Schnapps*

      Oh yeah, and reference checks for both. For current job, I arranged them, then got contacted with “So and so isn’t calling us back” (within a day). I explained why they might not be calling back (llama groomer meetings scheduled) and gave an alternate reference who was called right away. Got the offer later that day. From interview to offer was about a week (would have been less if I’d moved on the little assignment faster), then another week to get the hiring paperwork. Quite possibly the fastest hiring process I’ve been through.

  57. merida*

    Thanks for bringing this up, Alison!! A needed conversation.
    The most number of interviews I’ve had was seven 1-hour interviews (it was an entry level job, my first job out of college). I did get the job but the repetitive interview process was agonizing. I still feel badly that the other candidate went through the same interviews and got rejected after all that…

    And just to pile on with the comments on intense applications – I recently came across a lengthy job application with a long list of essay questions. Very in-depth philosophical questions that stated they wanted multiple paragraphs for each. A required resume upload and field-by-field resume copy/paste (I get why that one is standard, but with everything else…). Required three references, but with the expectation that references will be contacted before an interview, which seemed odd. Required work samples. The job application doesn’t save your progress so it must be completed in one sitting. The job description listed no salary (which is becoming increasingly uncommon, or at least in my experience), and especially because it was a nonprofit, probably means the salary isn’t worth mentioning. Plus, the vague description of benefits did not mention health insurance. No health insurance would be a deal breaker for me, so before I filled out the long app, I contacted the HR email address listed and asked if the benefits for the position included health insurance. The HR person kindly let me know they can neither confirm nor deny what the benefits include, but just that the position has what the company considers to be “full time benefits.” So they wanted me to spend multiple hours filling out their hyper-specific application for an entry-level job while knowing none of the wage/benefit information… before I can be considered for a first (of who knows how many) interview. That told me all I needed to know.

  58. pally*

    Companies fear make a bad hire, but is this extensive interviewing strategy resulting in fewer post-hiring employee problems? Are new hires better able to hit the ground running as a result of this extensive “grilling”?

    Wonder if anyone has researched this.

    1. ohnomycat*

      If anything, I imagine the most qualified candidates (with many options) will opt out of these long processes. So you end up losing really good candidates out of fear of a bad hire.

  59. Phony Genius*

    My longest interview process took an entire business day. They brought in about a dozen of us and interviewed us as a group, then sent us to various people for individual interviews. They did cater lunch for us (sandwiches). They kept saying “We have no fixed number of openings. We will create an opening if you fit in here.” I didn’t get that job.

    My shortest interview consisted solely of being checked for a pulse. (IT tech in college computer room.)

    1. Bah humbug*

      My shortest successful interview (as a temp) was 10 minutes; I thought that was marvelous. After all, they could have got rid of me really easily if the fit had been wrong, and the agency had (I assume) already done my background checks.

  60. Ccbac*

    2018. large east coast city. I was 2 years out of undergrad. job was “entry level” and didn’t explicitly require experience but the reality of the market is that most serious candidates would have at least several years of industry experience and at least an undergrad degree (if not a masters). 32k/yr (explicitly stated to be nonnegotiable). 2 phone screens with hr. 1 phone interview with manager. 7(!) in person interviews at the office over the course of an entire afternoon where each person asked the same questions. they then asked for 7 references specifically from people who had managed you and/or supervised you in some capacity. my most recent job had been at a tiny company with 3 people total.

  61. Salsa Your Face*

    The job I recently started required…six interviews, I think? The second one had to be redone because the person I interviewed with–who would have been my direct supervisor–abruptly left the company a week or two after we spoke. I thought that my changes were slim after that, but then I interviewed with the person who would be the role’s new supervisor and things were back on track. Then interviews with account directors, senior leadership, and the C suite team after that. This process started in November and lasted all the way until February thanks to the holidays. I’ve been there for several months now and I’m very happy, but good gravy that was a frustrating process.

  62. ohnomycat*

    Oh man I feel this in my bones.

    Up until recently, I was feeling very desperate so was willing to jump through just about any hoops for a job (I’d been laid off 3x over 2 years and had been unemployed for 8 months at that point). So so many places had 4-7 interviews plus an assignment(s). It was exhausting. I’m not sure I could have managed it if I had been working full time as well.

    Near the beginning of my job search I started the interview process with company1. Four months later, I started the interview process with company2 (while still in the process with company1). Company2 offered me a job after 3 interviews over two weeks. Their speed and decisiveness was hugely attractive as a candidate (among other green flags).

    Meanwhile, company1 reached out to setup interview #6. They were shocked I “already” had another offer and said I was their “first choice” candidate. I told them flat-out that they moved too slow and had too many interviews.

  63. Parenthesis Guy*

    That’s why I’m a big fan of giving people a test, having them answer it on their own time and then doing one or two rounds total with the idea that anyone that passes the test is likely to be given an offer.

  64. Hiring Manager*

    I am a hiring manager at my workplace and just did some hiring for an entry level role. We’re fully remote. We asked for a cover letter and resume to apply. I did a phone screen, Zoom interview, skills test, then final Zoom interview. Whole process took around 2 months? I felt bad it was so many steps, and it was mostly in response to prior hiring processes for this position going very poorly. But I will say the phone screen and interviews generally took around 30 mins, and the skills test was 60 mins (and wasn’t the kind where we were having them do work that we ought to pay them to do). I actually don’t think I can really cut down the steps too much more than where they’re at now for our needs, but I definitely learned after this process that I need to be way more aggressive about cutting down the number of applicants I move forward with each step. I interviewed waaaayyy too many people and it took up so much time.

    1. Parenthesis Guy*

      Your process is unfortunately long.

      If you’re going to ask candidates to do a skill test, you shouldn’t do a first round of interviews first. It just wastes everyone’s time.

      1. Ginger Cat Lady*

        As a candidate, I will NOT do a skills test before the first interview. I need a chance to learn if the company is worth it to me.
        Drop the second interview instead. You know from the first interview they are a good fit. You know from the skills test that they can do the job. There’s no point to ANOTHER interview.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      A short phone screen, 2 interviews, and a short exercise is a perfectly reasonable process. It’s what I’d coach most managers to do for professional-level positions, and it’s a very normal model.

    3. crookedglasses*

      Yeah, this process is very similar to how we do hiring:

      *Cover letter/resume review
      *Initial interview – hiring manager plus one other person, 45-60 minutes over zoom. We usually have anywhere from 3-5 candidates at this stage.
      *Exercise – generally candidates have a week or so to do it, and I really push hiring managers to design it such that it won’t take more than two hours, and that even if somebody DID take more than two hours the quality isn’t going to go up meaningfully.
      *Panel interview – hiring manager plus three or so other people, 60-90 minutes over zoom. Usually we have just 2 or 3 finalists for the exercise and panel interview stage.

      The panel debriefs on the exercises (anonymized) and the panel interviews all at the same time. Last step is a reference check, generally just on the person we think we want to make an offer to.

      It takes us about eight weeks from posting the role to making an offer, and during the initial interview hiring managers let candidates know what the rest of the process will look like.

  65. Silver Robin*

    For my current position (mid/large NGO) I did three interviews over six weeks (~2weeks apart) and the whole process took about 3 months from application, to scheduling, to interviewing, to offer/acceptance. The interviews were all virtual video calls.

    1. My future manager/boss and another supervisor for the department
    2. My future manager and my grandboss
    3. The Executive Director (not sure why, maybe because I am a new position for my department?)

    Looking back, the lack of phone screen stands out, but they were reasonably proactive and communicative during the process. Working here has been great too, love my manager!

  66. Michelle Smith*

    I had one of those nightmare processes once. I have no idea what the end would have been because I burned out on it. I had several interviews all the way up to the CEO for a role that was barely more than entry level. Then they wanted me to complete another writing assignment and possibly have another interview after that. I withdrew the same day they told me that. At some point, you either have enough information to make a decision or your organization is so dysfunctional that I in no way want to be a part of it. I ended up getting an offer from another nonprofit that only made me do 3 interviews (hiring manager, peers, and skip level) and no assignments. Oh and they had a specialized question they wanted me to answer that I wouldn’t have known to prepare for (how would you approach X problem based on Y information where X problem is super industry specific and Y information is super limited). Rather than springing on me mid interview, they informed me 2 weeks in advance of the final interview that they’d ask me the question and recommended I spend about 30 minutes to an hour looking up Y information and thinking about how I’d approach X problem. I felt like my time was respected. And as it turns out – they still respect my time now that I’m an employee. Funny how that works!

  67. CouldntPickAUsername*

    I’m reminded of 2 things.
    1. Allison’s ever applicable advice to remember that you’re interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you.
    2. Jamie Hyneman’s philosophy for clients relayed via Adam Savage’s youtube channel via my memory: if a client is a pain in the rear during the bid process they’ll be even worse during the job, don’t bother working with them.

  68. One green bottle*

    This is a disability issue too. Expecting lots of written work discriminates against people who have difficulties with written work (some people with dyslexia, ADHD, autism…). And having lots of interviews is extra exhausting – or simply impossible – for some folks with chronic illness or disability or neurodivergence.

  69. Siggie*

    For a moment, I thought you meant there were 17 different categories or types of interviews, and was looking forward to reading the list!

    The recruitment process for my worst-ever role was four hour-long interviews and a two-hour assessment task. It was for a mid-level specialist role, and I cannot express in words how utterly miserable it was. My boss was micromanaging terror despite not understanding anyone’s job, screamed all the time, regularly cried because the specialists were ‘ostracising’ her because they were focusing on their work that she didn’t understand and could not help with, and generally made Miranda Priestly look like an absolute angel.

    For a future job search, the maximum number of interviews I am willing to do is two, which I will stretch to three if it is a higher-level management role. If the role has a technical element to it, I am happy to do a simple, short assessment task to show that I know what I’m doing, but my portfolio can also show them that. That’s it.

  70. Skippy*

    I don’t mind doing two or three interviews for a job — usually one screening call/Zoom, plus 1-2 more extensive interviews with various stakeholders — but beyond that I don’t think you’re learning much more about a candidate other than their ability to put up with nonsense.

    In my field, where there are many highly qualified people competing for jobs, I think a lot of these lengthy processes come down to an inability to make decisions. They start with far too many candidates, and then they narrow it to a handful of semifinalists, and then again to a couple of finalists, and even then, they can’t quite pick one, so they add in an assignment or ask for multiple references or whatever, hoping that something will come up that will distinguish one from the other. I sometimes wonder if these places are hoping that one of their finalists ultimately pulls out of the process so their decision is made for them and they get the candidate who “wants it more.”

    As for me, I have definitely withdrawn from some overlong processes, particularly if they require me to complete lengthy assignments or prepare a bespoke presentation or workshop. I don’t have time for that.

  71. Becky*

    Ooh, I have a good one for this.

    I was headhunted on LinkedIn for a job where I did:
    – Recruiter phone screen
    – Hiring manager 1:1 (an hour)
    – A series of three 1:1s with members of the team (half hour each with half an hour in between)
    – Finally, a 2:1 with the executive team, in which one of the questions the CEO asked me was why I had a “short stay” at my third-to-last position, which was a one-year graduate assistantship that lasted…one year.

    After all of this, I didn’t get offered the job, so I asked the recruiter (who delivered the news) if I could get feedback…and they didn’t have an answer! There was me and another person and they gave some vague answer about “connecting better” with the other person. Apparently it took 7 people to figure out I wasn’t a fit.

  72. Emotional support capybara (he/him)*

    Employers: oh, you want to apply for a job here? Great! You’ll need to email your resume to this address, go to the link in the autoresponse and manually reenter your entire resume in the form, provide contact info for ten references who aren’t relatives or former coworkers, do an initial zoom screen during business hours on a weekday, do five more zoom calls with various higher ups (also during business hours on weekdays), provide three writing samples (can’t be ones you’ve already prepared, you have to write three whole things on topics we give you), go to a place halfway across town to pee in a cup, come in for six different in-person interviews that might last anywhere from half an hour to half the day (during business hours on a weekday) and work on three sample projects on site (during business hours on etc.). oh, and if you don’t respond to texts or emails about your next interview or whatever within five minutes we’ll assume you’re no longer interested

    Also employers: nobody wants to work anymore :(

  73. Powercycle*

    Every job process I’ve been through has had 1 to 3 interviews. The formality has been everywhere from a grueling couple hours of tough scenario questions, to an easy chat over coffee for a half hour. If it involves a promotion, some type of exam(s) is almost always administered at some point, usually before the interviews, but sometimes it was on the same day. Back when we still mostly worked were onsite, maybe a walkabout the floor to see the equipment and/or meet some potential future colleagues.
    I’d have walked away from a job process if it involved something like a dozen or more interviews. That’s an absurd request for entry and mid level positions in my field (I.T. in government and similar institutions).

  74. AnotherOne*

    My current interview process:
    – 30 min phone screener with external recruiter
    – 60 min indepth interview with external recruiter
    – 60 min call with reporting manager
    – 60 min call with 4 senior leadership team
    – 30 min call with reporting manager [this is where I currently am]
    – 4 hour onsite interview and dinner with leadership team

    Each step in the process has included a prep call and debrief call with the external recruitment team. This is for a middle management role, and we’re stretching on to 6 weeks and still haven’t scheduled the final onsite. It’s a LOT of time to prepare for each stage, and I’m one of several finalists. The last job I interviewed for was a similar process, but for a higher leadership role. I’ve learned to be very selective and make my own decisions earlier in the process because these can be grueling.

  75. Moz in Oz*

    I’ve been on both sides and for programming jobs my strong preference is for a cover letter + resume, a quick chat, then a basic skills test followed by a proper interview. We get a lot of plausible application letters from people who can’t write code to save themselves and that filters the worst of them out without taking too much of our time. Our interviews are 50% cultural fit and 50% experience/design questions. The latter matches the normal discussions we have at work and are usually based on real things we’re doing. I try to make an immediate offer to the first candidate who seems plausible because even for senior roles competition is usually fierce.

    I’ve never been hired by anyone who couldn’t make a decision within a week of when they interviewed me. That might just be Australia, but the delayed decisions have all been them waiting until next day to offer me the job. Or ringing me a month later to ask why I took the job someone else offered me rather than waiting to see whether they were interested in making an offer (I am not kidding, one guy seemed genuinely surprised).

    My favourite was a skills test where I critiqued the test, then had an argument with the tester about some point of coding doctrine, then he stepped out of the room for a minute and came back to say they wanted to hire me at the top of their advertised salary band. Apparently I made a sufficiently good point in the argument that he decided he wanted me around.

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