company asked me to spend an hour giving feedback on their hiring process

A reader writes:

I recently went through a lengthy interview process (five interviews, one of which lasted over two hours, plus two assessments) for a position, and after the final interview, the company asked me to join them for a feedback call. Interestingly, the feedback call was an opportunity for me to tell them how they could improve their hiring process; there was no real value in the call for me.

The position wasn’t high level. It was not a management or director role of any kind, and not even a niche, high-level, extremely experienced individual contributor position.

Everyone I met with seemed extremely happy with their job, except that their teams were all understaffed and it was taking the company a long time to fill positions. (I’m suspicious that this and the really intense hiring process for relatively low-level positions may be somehow related.)

They did end up rejecting me after the feedback call, so I’m not evaluating whether to work for a company that can’t connect those dots.

I have a few questions:

1. I’m sure that I was still being evaluated as a candidate on the feedback call. But is there a reliable strategy for giving a company feedback on their hiring process while you’re still a candidate? I didn’t feel like it was possible to tell whether they wanted actual constructive feedback or just for me to talk for an hour about how excited I was to work for the company.

2. Are candidate feedback calls before making a job offer becoming common, or is this company an oddball?

3. Would there be a way to decline to give feedback until after the company had made a hiring decision, without necessarily forfeiting my candidacy? I think the answer to this is no, but I feel slighted — I gave the company what I think is really practical, easy-to-implement, and insightful feedback on how the hiring process could have been made more pleasant for me and candidates like me (something I imagine a consultant would charge them a lot of money for!), and they declined to give me any feedback at all. I know it’s normal for companies to not give feedback, but it’s not normal for companies to ask candidates who are trying to get a job to give them an hour of feedback after five interviews and two tests for a low level position.

Yeah, this is bonkers.

First, five interviews is way too much for most positions. Five? Three is about the maximum I’d want to see unless the position is extremely senior or there are extenuating circumstances that they explain and acknowledge (“we’re so sorry to ask you to invest more time; the hiring manager left/the position changed significantly/etc.”).

And then to ask you to spend your time giving them feedback on top of it? I could see maybe doing that as part of the process for a job that was heavily focused on giving others feedback — like if you were applying to be a coach of some sort — but otherwise they were simply taking advantage of you while you still felt pressure to agree. I’m sure there were useful things they glean about candidates from those calls, but not enough to justify the misuse of your time and the abuse of the power dynamics.

Plus, they’re not going to get candid feedback from people who believe they’re still under consideration. If they really want candidate feedback, they should do it after people have been rejected, and ideally anonymously and with a low time commitment (like a survey, not a phone call). If they want something more than that, they should compensate people.

To your questions:

What they wanted: I don’t think they wanted you to talk for an hour about how excited you were to work for them. They just don’t understand the power dynamics would keep people from being candid, or they were assessing something else about you on the call (diplomacy, insight, ability to critique a process while speaking to its stakeholders), or they genuinely thought this was a reasonable thing to ask you to spend your time on mid-hiring process. My guess is a bit of all three.

Is this becoming common: Nope.

Was there a way to opt out of giving feedback until after they’d made a hiring decision without affecting your candidacy: Maybe, but you couldn’t have known for sure. If you were a top candidate and you said something like, “I’ll be frank — I’ve done five interviews with you and two assessments, and it’s a crunch time for me at work; it would be tough to carve out time for another meeting” … they might have been fine with it. Would you have been at a disadvantage compared to candidates who agreed to the calls? If you were already one of their top picks, not necessarily. But they shouldn’t have put you in a situation where you had to wonder about that.

{ 177 comments… read them below }

    1. Onyx*

      100%. Interviewed for mid-level tech roles throughout 2022 and 5-7 interviews was the average number of interviews per position, it’s not the outlier that Alison seems to believe.

      That being said, the feedback call is unusual (the survey is more common).

    2. some days you're the bug some days you're the windshield*

      The vibe is strong. Would love if the email writer confirmed if the interviewers were wearing free t-shirts and hoodies adorned with the company logo and had between 1 and 7 energy drink cans visible on their desks…

      1. Letter Writer*

        No one specifically told me their shirt was free? The company logo stuff was all zoom backgrounds; the interviews were all remote. (Also the shortest one lasted 45 minutes!)

        1. sunny days are better*

          At my place, there is always an HR interview to start, and then, depending on your application, and what the company is looking for, you might have multiple interviews with different teams and they would be asking different questions depending on what their needs were which includes the technical assessments.

          Perhaps this is why you had so many interviews with different people, but the one hour feedback interview? That is just bananas – I’ve never heard of that before.

          Best of luck to you in finding a new position that is good for you.

          1. Chauncy Gardener*

            My company does multiple interviews as well. We are fully remote, so it’s the only way for a candidate to meet with everyone they need to. It’s good for the candidate too, since they get a good read on the company and its culture. We don’t have every candidate meet with everybody though. We have defined steps, so if you pass the first, you go to the second. If you don’t pass at any point the process stops for that candidate.

            The feedback call is totally off base though. What on earth?

            1. Letter Writer*

              I was on board, if suspicious, until the feedback call was exclusively for me to give them feedback and they were unwilling to give me any feedback.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            I had three — one with HR, one with the boss and grandboss, and one with the team lead and the person I was going to be supporting. This is an entry-level job but it’s in a very specialized field. Still, any more than three, and I would have said something.

            I’ve never had a feedback interview. Weird.

        2. some days you're the bug some days you're the windshield*

          The shirts are usually free. Although I did once work for a place that had a store where people could also spend their actual money to buy more company logo items to show their devotion/vain attempts to avoid layoffs.

          I have a theory here. I realise I am making a sweeping judgement, but so much of tech is earnest and desperate to be seen as the next big whatever. Given the ridiculous amount of tech layoffs in the past 2 years, I think a lot of companies see this as an opportunity to crowd-source as much info as possible on how more successful companies are running things (or what they are failing on). The interviews become less about the candidate and more “Are we doing this right? Are these the right questions to ask for this role? What did the other people ask? How about we try a few wildcard-unrelated questions into the mix… like if all of your team were on fire who would you put out first and why?* Are you sure? Why?”

          Or maybe I’ve just become cynical. Related, for all the guides out there on breaking into tech I’d love to see one called something like “Getting out of tech but keeping a decent salary and staying fully remote”.

          *An actual question I was asked in an interview once

            1. Aniima*

              This answer would have gotten me my current job regardless of anything else, because somehow half of my colleagues are volunteer firefighters.

            2. some days you're the bug some days you're the windshield*

              I think I said something along the lines of “the one who has scheduled the least amount of meetings that could be emails”. Ask silly questions, get silly answers. But I would love to work with volunteer firefighters! I bet they’d have interesting stories if nothing else.

    3. EngineeringFun*

      Agree. I’ve been in tech for 20 years. Most standard interviews last 4-8 hours. Even back in 2006 for entry level engineering positions. Right now I’m seeing companies are understaffed and not hiring to keep costs low. I just landed a new job after 6 months of trying. It’s tough out there.

        1. AlsoInTech*

          It depends. I’ve had 3-4 rounds of 3-4 hours each. I’ve had 6-8 rounds of 1-3 hours each. I’ve rarely had a total interview time of less than 5-6 hours, even for 3-4 month long contracts (and certainly not for full time jobs).

    4. So very tired*

      I’m interviewing for a tech job right now that has been 1 hour recruiter call, one hour hiring manager call, one hour call with a person in an adjacent role, and I’m prepping for an hour long presentation and Q&A session with the first 2 folx plus a few others on the team. THEN they want me to talk to the CEO if I pass the presentation phase. This is for an individual contributor role, no people management. Tech is brutal but that’s where the money is for me with my experience.

      I did another interviewing ordeal with a tech company just before the pandemic that was EIGHT rounds, all back to back on the same day. One person I was supposed to talk to didn’t show up so I was left alone in the conference room for 20 minutes before I ventured out to ask what was going on. After that they wanted me to talk to the cofounders but I was tired from being dragged through the ringer for an IC role. I didn’t get that job lol

  1. DeskApple*

    it almost feels like OP’s process was a sham just for them to show that they’re trying in good faith, and even evaluating their processes. it’s too weird

    1. Antilles*

      Look, we’re *really* trying to fill out all of our vacant positions, so much so that we’ve have taken to asking candidates for their feedback to improve our hiring processes. We’re really trying guys, it’s just tough.

      Oh well, guess we’ll just have to keep losing and making extra profit by leaving positions empty, such a shame.

      1. NotGonnaTakeIt*

        And then they also whine “No one wants to work these days” and “Back in my day, I rolled up my sleeves and worked 15 hours a day, 8 days a week, for free, for 18 months to show how dedicated I was. Kids these days!”

        1. DJ Abbott*

          Ha, I remember the early days of tech in the 90s, when companies would offer perks like all meals provided, a gym, dry cleaning service, a place to take naps. A lot of people thought these were valuable perks that meant they valued their employees, but it really meant they were expected to live at the office.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      Ha! I can totally see the meeting in which someone said “This process isn’t working” and someone else’s solution was to gather more data from all the candidates about their experience with the hiring process to date, which would be more information and then valuable. Also it would create the impression of Doing Something, since you could make a Power Point about it, analyze for trends, etc.

      1. Artemesia*

        There are only two circumstances in which this type of interview would be appropriate:
        1. They offer the job and you accept and then they want your feedback. OR
        2. They offer you the job and you refuse and they want your feedback and you would of course be well within the norms to refuse that interview.

        It is insulting to do it with people you then reject — if it is to improve the process so you get better candidates or have better success landing candidates then how is interviewing someone you are going to reject going to help?

        It is really an abuse of power.

      2. Reluctant Mezzo*

        Meanwhile, they’re trying to source all their work to AI even if it wouldn’t perform that well, so they don’t need any employees except for their buddies.

    3. redflagday701*

      My guess is: Not a sham, but an ill-advised idea from an executive who gave it almost no thought and just thinks asking for feedback is what a good company does. Originally they ~did~ do it after the interview process, but discovered that rejected candidates don’t want to make time to give them feedback, so the executive in question told them to start asking for it before letting the candidate know whether they’d been hired or not. (And someone has pointed out to the exec that this makes the feedback unreliable, but the exec is not going to change the plan now.)

  2. Blue*

    Yeah this is completely wild. But honestly, just to commiserate with/affirm the LW, I think it would be really hard to say no to the call at that stage. If it were me, I know I’d get sucked into thinking “I’ve already invested 7+ hours in this process, I’m not going to get myself thrown now.” Because that’s just how the power dynamics/head games of a hiring process work, and the company really took advantage of that. Gross.

    1. Czhorat*

      That’s the definition of “sunk cost fallacy”.

      We’ve all been there, and it’s hard to pull out (especially if you’re in a position of really needing the job), but sometimes you have to know when to cut bait.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I’m tortured by my friend who had five (!) interviews for a role and had already done a short assignment – and they asked her to come back and do a full presentation on a topic of their choice, meaning she had to do like research and everything. Like, a whole class session basically, developing new curriculum, prepping for questions, etc. I told her they were taking advantage of her and she should pass. She did it, got the job, and is really happy there five years later, so now I don’t know what’s reasonable anymore.

        1. Observer*

          so now I don’t know what’s reasonable anymore.

          No, they were still unreasonable. It is possible, as Allison notes, that a company can have bad hiring processes while being an other wise good place to work. That doesn’t make their hiring processes good or reasonable.

          1. NotAnotherManager!*

            This, this, this!!! Good places to work can still have terrible aspects to them. It’s wonderful it worked out in this case, but that’s a bonkers hiring process. Frankly, they were lucky the candidate stuck with them for all that.

            Someone who likes their job and employer overall and fought with prior HR all the time about their insane ideas about hiring (like people had to come back in person at least three times to demonstrate true interest in the job and shouldn’t ask about comp until they have the job)

        2. Jaybeetee*

          While that still sounds like *a lot*, I work for government, which is notorious for slow, multi-stage hiring processes. Expect multiple exams and interviews over the course of about a year.

          The thing is, government jobs are also notoriously pretty cushy in a lot of ways. People put up with the hiring because the actual jobs/pay/benefits are good.

        3. Former academic*

          This is not uncommon in higher ed. Often the “demo lesson” is on a topic of the candidate’s choice (e.g., teach 30 minutes on something you’d cover in {your field} 101), but I definitely know of cases where the candidate taught an actual class session of a real class for whatever was on the syllabus for the day the interview got scheduled.

        4. Artemesia*

          Wow. I used to hire full time practice faculty members (i.e. non tenure track teachers with full time pretty good salary and benefits, not adjuncts) and we always had them teach a class BUT we chose a class they would be teaching if hired that was in their realm of expertise and gave them some choice about specific topic i.e. it is a class on leadership theory and here are some key topics or you can suggest something in this area. To expect a presentation on a topic that is not their own choice is gross.

        5. ItHappens*

          this is not common but not uncommon either; it is more common to let the candidate pick the topic though

          1. Letter Writer*

            Also this was not a teaching job and they did ask me to do this partway through one of the interviews.

      2. Artemesia*

        but any reasonable person would think– well they wouldn’t be doing this if they didn’t plan to make me an offer — don’t want to tank it now.

      3. Eric*

        It’s not a true sunk cost, because you have the potential to recoup your investment — by getting a job you want.

        But it does suggest that the job may not be worth wanting, if they demonstrate decision paralysis and a lack of insight into proper hiring practices.

    2. Heidi*

      I’m wondering if this feedback interview reflects an internal conflict within the company, with some people saying that the hiring process needs to be less onerous while others are insisting that all 5 interviews are absolutely necessary. The candidate can’t really win in this situation, as one side will be “I told you so!” and the other side will be disgruntled no matter what they say. Also, it seems odd to me that everyone seems so happy to work there when there aren’t enough people to do the work, but maybe they just hide the unhappy people during the interview process.

      1. Rayray*

        I have left many reviews on Glassdoor after negative and positive interview experiences. I have had rude interviewers, no-shows, ridiculous 1-way video interviews from a program, been ghosted after being told I’d hear back either way, and then also very kind recruiters who went above and beyond when there was an internal miscommunication between him and the hiring team. It’s good to give feedback.

  3. ThatGirl*

    I once gave feedback on a hiring process *after* I’d been given an offer, which I rejected. I didn’t really mind that; it was pretty brief. They hadn’t done anything massively wrong (I just had another offer I wanted more), but it was good to have the chance to say they should offer more info on their benefits – when I’d asked for info on insurance and so forth, all they gave me was a letter that basically said “yep, we have health insurance” :D

    1. Sloanicota*

      Getting feedback when someone passes on an offer seems actually important, although I don’t know that it needs to be through a formal evaluation process necessarily. Getting feedback from all candidates you don’t even plan to hire is lousy.

      1. ThatGirl*

        I agree – and I would have felt much differently if they had asked for feedback before I was even done with the process.

      2. Adam*

        I think it’s fine to ask for feedback from candidates you reject. Even rejected candidates should have a good experience, and you’d want to know if they’re not. Asking for feedback like this, though, is terrible no matter who you’re asking. It should definitely be optional, easy, and done after the process has completed.

      3. Bast*

        “Getting feedback from all candidates you don’t even plan to hire is lousy.” I’m not sure this is true. If you have a bunch of people giving the same feedback, whether or not they were a top pick for you is not particularly important, because those very things that drive away your 15th choice may very well be driving away your first and second choice too — if a bunch of people state that the pay is considerably lower than others in the same area, or that the benefits package isn’t comparable to others– where there’s smoke, there’s fire and you may be losing great candidates.

        1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          Then again, I think if you don’t want to hire someone, you don’t necessarily think much of their opinions?

          1. JSPA*

            its not like only your top pick is adequate, and the rest are garbage. Presumably you’re at least considering everyone you interview!

          2. D*

            Plenty of jobs have more good candidates than are hirable–that doesn’t mean you don’t think much of their opinions.

          3. NotAnotherManager!*

            Not necessarily. We might have had two strong candidates but could only hire one, we might have had a great candidate whose opinions I would be interested in that just wasn’t the right fit for that particular job (whose resumes I do actually keep on file in case there is better fit in the future), etc.

            1. Sloanicota*

              Yeah but it’s lousy to push for that because they didn’t agree to be your guinea pig or evaluation team; they wanted a job, and at that point you know you’re not giving it to them, so they have no more obligation to help you out and you shouldn’t push for them to do so.

              1. NotAnotherManager!*

                Who said anything about pushing a candidate? I’m responding directly to the person who said that if you didn’t chose to hire someone, you didn’t care about their opinions. In fact, I said in another comment that feedback from anybody post-hiring process was a gift to the employer from the candidate.

        2. HonorBox*

          I don’t think it is bad to inquire of everyone. Though an hour-long phone call is not the way to do it. But that inquiry needs to be presented in the right way and at the right time. If you have not made an official decision or notified candidates that they’re no longer candidates, you can’t expect open and honest feedback.

    2. Shirley Keeldar*

      I’m wondering if they used to ask people for feedback after rejecting them as candidates, realized that nobody wanted to invest time in a company that just rejected them, and “solved” the problem by asking for feedback before the hiring decision is made…without ever stopping to think that this would be burdensome for the candidate and useless for the employer.

      It’s the only thought process I can imagine that might have lead to this.

      1. Letter Writer*

        I mean, I’m sure that if you have someone do five interviews and two assignments and then reject them and then ask them to give you feedback they’ll be upset… but it’s because you asked them to invest 7 hours minimum in a hiring process in exchange for nothing.

      2. ferrina*

        Yep, I’m sure that was part of it.

        There may also have been someone involved who said “we keep getting negative reviews from people we rejected! I bet we can get better reviews if we get them before we reject people.”
        I have worked with people who have that kind of thought process.

    3. Just Thinkin' Here*

      The “yup we have benefits” is a pet peeve of mine. Sure you have health insurance. Who is the provider network? Is it PPO or HMO? What’s the deductible? What are the co-pays and co-insurance? What’s in and out of your formulary? I came from a place where Blue Cross was the ‘gold star’ but what they really meant was a certain PPO plan was great. If you worked for an employer that used their HMO or high deductible health plan, you were constantly hit with bills, pre-approvals, and other obstacles.

      Same goes with 401Ks. Sure you have one. What’s the matching and vesting schedule? What are the options inside the program? Who administers is?

      These benefits can have a big impact on what your net take-home pay looks like post retirement and health care costs. For instance, a high deductible health plan – I’m adding that $$$ to my salary requirements for every dollar I don’t pay in deductible today, otherwise I’m taking a pay cut.

        1. J*

          I was changing jobs and they told me they had competitive PTO and then told me I’d get 7 holidays and 14 PTO days. My last jobs had 28, 24, and 30 days for PTO and none with under 10 holidays, usually more. This was across nonprofit, Big Law and government. I laughed at their idea of competitive. They even have us work on days the campus is closed.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Yeah, it wasn’t THE deciding factor, but the offer I took instead gave me a very thorough booklet about their health/vision/dental insurance options, 401K, all that jazz including employee costs. It definitely helped tip the scales.

        1. Artemesia*

          Any company doing a lot of hiring should have a document they can give finalists that shows basics about benefits including costs to employee as well as the insurance carrier and coverage.

          1. TheBunny*

            It’s not always that simple. My company has 3 different benefit carries for a total of roughly 25 plans. And that’s just the medical. You can’t put that on a flyer.

    4. Elsewise*

      One of my big professional regrets is not giving feedback when I was asked for it after turning down a job. I told them it was the pay, which it at least partially was, but didn’t tell them that the hiring manager had told me that several men in the department would refuse to work with a “young girl” like me and then made fun of me for suggesting that was a bigger cultural issue and not one I’d be equipped to solve on my own, held the second interview in a bar and invited a former employee (who didn’t know that she was attending an interview for her old position), and generally seemed like a nightmare to work for. I was fresh out of college and was too scared to get involved.

      1. Observer*

        Either they knew about this guy and nothing you said was going to change that. Or they didn’t know and that’s a HUGE red flag. Because how do you not know about this problem? They have men who refer to women as “young girls” and refuse to work with them apparently with their manager’s blessing, said manager doesn’t think he has any obligation to deal with this nonsense, and manager in general acts like a total caricature of a dude-bro.

        So, I think you can stop regretting that you didn’t try to empty the sea with a bucket.

    5. NotAnotherManager!*

      This is a gift to the employer and often very helpful. I know our recruiters have adjusted based on candidate feedback – if four people turn down the job because of comp, we’re not offering enough. (And I would absolutely want to know if someone had said something untoward to a candidate during an interview.)

  4. learnedthehardway*

    This was unfair to candidates in the process, not to mention a conflict of interest that would be unlikely to surface any useful information. I mean, what candidate still under consideration is going to tell you that your hiring process is lousy?

    1. ferrina*

      Me. Then I will promptly withdraw.

      I’ve already wasted too much of my life at companies that don’t understand the difference between good data and bad data, and who claim that their good intentions trump real power dynamics. A company that is this broken doesn’t want to be fixed.
      (I’m also at a point in my career where I can afford to be very, very picky about who I work with. I fully recognize the privilege in that)

    2. Mariko*

      Maybe this is the genius of it. The HR department collects glowing “feedback” from people who are essentially hostages to the offer, and presents it to upper management to showcase what a great job they are doing.

  5. Sloanicota*

    This feels like an extension of the idea that all companies ask for feedback all the time now, after mundane interactions where I have no feelings (“how’d we do” surveys after I picked up takeout at a restaurant, got an oil change, etc). I assume it’s because the bar is so low for feedback, they can do text links and the data is analyzed automatically whereas in the past filling out and reviewing paper survey forms would have been too burdensome for them. It irks me because if I understand correctly, innocent people can be penalized for anything less than a five-star review, meaning in most cases the kindest/justest thing for me to do is either lie or refuse to fill out the survey, and it feels like an overreach or our “relationship” to me. I wouldn’t assume it’s some master level test though, TBH.

    1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      I hate this trend. The office I get my mail at, and that’s all I have with them, sends them periodically. Then sends follows up if I don’t respond.

      Everything doesn’t have to be reviewed folks. Especially since we all know anything less than 5 stars is a failure. So what’s the point anyway.

    2. Frieda*

      I got several emails recently asking me to fill out an evaluation form because I’d recently “visited [their] location.”

      No, I ordered some shoes online on behalf of my partner whom you inexplicably decided was a bot because he was using a VPN and despite his protests and the fact that he was a returning customer you banned him for life. The shoes have not yet arrived. WTF do you think I have to provide at this moment in the way of useful feedback, given your bonkers policies about customers?

      He’d normally never darken their (virtual) doorstep again but I guess they have great prices on the running shoes he wants. I just made the order, IDK. Anyway: no feedback from me until the shoes are in-hand.

      1. Rex Libris*

        Personally, I’d respond with “Not seeking an intimate long term relationship, just want the shoes.”

    3. FricketyFrack*

      Ugh, my department is currently trying to get more feedback on how we’re doing, with the current idea being to add a QR code to a bunch of our paperwork, and I’m the only one who thinks it’s a bad idea. I haaaate being asked to do a survey for every tiny thing and I pretty much always ignore them now. We get a TON of positive verbal feedback, and we work in government, so most of the negative feedback is regarding things we can’t change. Why do we need surveys showing what we already know?

    4. Kyrielle*

      Yup. Honestly, if what you want to know is if I had a bad experience, just ask me binary questions. Did I have any problems with the friendliness/helpfulness/timeliness/food/etc.? I can say ‘no’ to that whether I had a stellar experience or a merely acceptable one – and a merely acceptable one is *just freaking fine*.

      1. Too Many Tabs Open*

        Exactly. I do not require every retail or service interaction to be a glorious life-changing experience that I will tell my grandchildren about; I just want my product/service so I can get on with my day.

        Most transactions are not five-star experiences, and that’s fine! If my purchase of a ream of paper was a three-star experience, I’m still going to go back to your store when I need the next ream. I don’t expect or want that transaction to be the high point of my week.

    5. Peanut Hamper*

      Very much this. I hate the thought that a poorly run company relies on a five-star rating system and then penalizes their workers because of it, when the real reason I’m giving them only two or three stars is because they were out of four of the five items I came in for. Their workers have no control over inventory, so why should they get penalized for it?

      In which case, I just decline to give a rating.

  6. Czhorat*

    Having too many interviews for the level feels like a red flag to me. I once had SIX interviews – including at least two in-person – for a solidly mid-level position. They went so far as to give me a draft offer and insisted that each subsequent step was “a formality” and I’d be on board right after jumping through *just one more* hoop.

    In the end they declined to hire me after ghosting me for a day, and I got a different position with more sane people after a single interview.

    1. Saturday*

      Ugh. I don’t see how it being a formality was supposed to make it better – wouldn’t that just mean it was a waste of everyone’s time? But then the fact that they backed out at the end, how aggravating. I’m glad you found something better.

    2. Kevin Sours*

      It sounds like the interview process was excessive (shortest interview was 45 minutes, a two hour interview, 2 assessments) but I really hate focusing on counts as the metric because with a serial 1-1 style you can rack up a fair number of “interviews” in a reasonably short period of time.

      I can’t imaging a process for even a relatively junior dev position with fewer than five interviews if you count the initial conversation with the recruiter and a technical phone screen. I can also image going through 4 or maybe 5 interviews in a 3 hour afternoon interview block.

  7. I should really pick a name*

    Assuming that I didn’t desperately need the job, I’d probably ask if that step could be delayed until a decision on the position was made. If asking that cost me the job, I’d view it as a bullet dodged.

    1. Letter Writer*

      I didn’t really need the job, but it would have made a lot of sense for me as a strategic career stepping stone, and there aren’t many other companies in the space that are a good fit for me in other ways (e.g. I’m not in a position to move my family cross-country, so the ones that are fully onsite hundreds of miles from here aren’t a strategic fit).

      So I’m not heartbroken that they rejected me – they obviously have some issues to work on and I’m not hurting for work – but I wanted the job badly enough to see the process through.

      1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

        Exactly, and that’s why they need to be aware of the power dynamic that’s always going to be at play as long as you are a candidate and they have a job you want/need.

  8. Self Employed Employee*

    That sounds hugely excessive and unfair.

    I’d ask for an hour feedback for yourself, since that was a ‘favor’ you did for them. Quid pro quo and all.

  9. Observer*

    except that their teams were all understaffed and it was taking the company a long time to fill positions. (I’m suspicious that this and the really intense hiring process for relatively low-level positions may be somehow related.)

    LOL! Are you always this understated?

    I have no doubt that their ridiculous hiring process is related to under-staffing (as in it’s at least one of the causes). And chronic under-staffing *also* tends to beget more of the same, because people don’t like taking positions where there is chronic over-work.

  10. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    Well, yeah, that “feedback” call – they were evaluating YOU, still.

    But if they have a very, very, very slow hiring process, then they suffer from “wishy washy indecisiveness” in management, and likely, you’re good to back away from it.

  11. badger badger*

    One thing to remember is that often hiring managers don’t have a ton of control over the whole hiring process, and this may have been mid-level managers desperately trying to get feedback from candidates that was critical of a process that meant they kept losing candidates so they could take it up the chain and tell them the process was broken

    1. Elle*

      I scrolled looking for someone who had already said this. I’m involved in hiring, and the first couple of interactions a candidate has with our company are with HR, not my team. We can neither dispense with those calls nor control what they’re asking/telling the candidates. It’s extremely frustrating.

  12. Potoooooooo*

    If they’re that worried about their hiring processes, why not bring in people specifically to review those processes rather than trying to get free consultant work from their candidates?

    1. Letter Writer*

      A novel idea. Do you mean to say there are professionals who has successfully solved this issue before and might offer their expertise for hire?

      1. ferrina*

        Consultant here.

        First- this made me laugh. I have had this thought so many, many times!

        Second- this is the type of company that would hire a consultant then tell the consultant that they are clearly wrong because *waves vaguely* some intangible gut feeling means that the client is right (actual data doesn’t count). These types of clients don’t want to do anything differently, they just want different results. They don’t want to hear that in order to get different results, you need to do things differently.

        1. Letter Writer*

          That’s so true.

          I gave them several very specific pieces of tangible, easy to implement feedback. For example, “Perhaps you could tell people at the beginning of the process what it will include?” and they rejected that idea, because they had considered it, but hadn’t been able to come up with a graphic they liked that made the process look approachable enough.

          Gee. I sure do wonder what the cause of that might be.

          1. Anonychick*

            they rejected that idea, because they had considered it, but hadn’t been able to come up with a graphic they liked that made the process look approachable enough.


            *backs away slowly*

              1. Gathering Moss*

                LW, I’ve nothing useful to contribute other than my dropped jaw, but your sense of humour is a delight to read.

          2. Bread Crimes*

            You know, this is honestly making me feel better about the bureaucratic processes in academia right now, because at least I’ve never hit that particular roadblock to getting something done.

            They couldn’t come up with a graphic. That made the process. Look approachable enough.

            I am boggled enough to break out the emphatic sentence fragments on this.

            1. Letter Writer*

              One wonders if the resulting graphics indicated anything about how approachable the process might be.

            1. Letter Writer*

              I do sometimes go bully (in a way accordant with my civic duty) my city council, and I always think for the first half of the meeting that I could do their job better, and by the end of the meeting I always think that I could not bear to do their terrible job.

        2. Ellis Bell*

          My first thought upon reading the letter was “these people don’t know their arse from their elbow and wouldn’t understand the directions even if you helped them out”.

  13. Keeley Jones, The Independent Wonan*

    I had a ridiculous interview series a few years back. I had an interview with the recruiter, one with the hiring manager, then another one with HR, then the sent me a schedule for a 4 hour (virtual) interview with 1 hour blocks with different people. It was also indicated there would be at least one more interview. That’s when I noped out of that job. This wasn’t for some high level or even management position, it was very medium. HR asked for a reason I was declining to continue. When I said it was way too many interviews, they dug in and insisted it was necessary to ensure good hires. To me it does the opposite, only people really desperate for a job would continue with that insanity. If a candidate has a lot of options, they aren’t sitting thought 5+ interviews.

    1. Just Thinkin' Here*

      Good point – candidates with the best skill sets who are in high demand are going to have plenty of other offers that don’t require this much “free time” with the interviewing company.

    2. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

      I really hate it when someone asks me for a reason and then tells me my reason doesn’t count. (Hey, that reason guided my decision. It totally counts!) All your reply needed from them was “thank you for this feedback”.

  14. CG*

    I’ve been through 5+ interview at multiple companies, even straight out of college, and in different industries (but mainly tech, true). I thought that was the norm…when I don’t get a chance to speak to a lot of the people I’d be working with I’m concerned that’s a red flag!

    1. The New Wanderer*

      Same, across multiple STEM companies. The only time I had a “short” interview is for my current federal job. Every other job application process was at least one or two phone screens + half- or full-day in-person loop of multiple interviews, usually involving travel and sometimes involving giving a presentation.

      However, the only times I was ever asked for feedback on their application process was from two of the FAANG companies, and the most they asked for was to complete an emailed survey after the decision was made (I did not get an offer either time). In one case, I realized after some distance that the interview process was pretty awful – it really seemed like they were getting free consulting for their current projects – but I wouldn’t have mentioned it anyway if asked for feedback mid-process. I can’t even imagine what kind of questions they would keep asking to fill an hour!

      1. AcademiaNut*

        See, I’d count going to the company for a half or full day of sub-interviews as a single interview. You only have to take off one day off of work, for one thing, and they aren’t making major decisions between sections. Of course, I’m used to academic interviews where they fly in the shortlist candidates (typically about 3 people) for a couple of days, they give a colloquium and maybe a more specialized talk, speak with multiple groups including potential individual collaborators, have a dinner, and give them a chance to check out the city.

        If you have the same amount of time – say, talking to four or five individual people or groups – spread over four or five days, or a couple of weeks, that can mean taking multiple days off work in a short period of time.

        I think what’s happening with the adoption of Zoom interviews is that companies get used to scheduling the sub-interviews when it’s convenient for them, so they end up with something that’s easy for them and has no need to re-arrange schedules, but makes it harder for their candidate to fit it in their schedule.

  15. LTR, FTP*

    I just finished an interview process that took several months and involved seven separate interviews (lower tier management role, higher ed). The final interview was with HR higher ups and included some inquiries for me about the hiring process… I did give gentle feedback that the process felt quite long. Then I got a call from the HR person managing my application and the first five minutes were more questions about the hiring process… I gave the same very gentle feedback… and then the call turned into “we’re making you an offer!” which was a kind of odd segue IMO.

    I’m very excited about the role and looking forward to it. However, once I start, if someone asks me about the process again, I’m probably going to be a lot more honest about how I felt that the process was a LOT. Unfortunately, it’s a large organization and a pretty desirable place to work, and I doubt very much that my two cents will make much of a difference. Some things just aren’t going to change, I don’t think.

    1. College Career Counselor*

      That’s extreme even for higher ed, but it does happen (source: personal experience). Mostly, it takes forever to get permission to post the position from HR/TPTB. Once it’s posted, it’s mandated to stay up for enough time that you inevitably will have to account for conflicts with exams, various periods of student absence/unavailability (e.g., spring break), faculty unavailability (conferences, grading, etc.), so that you’re often pushed into the subsequent semester. (This is assuming you’ve been able to post an application before January, in which case expect the offer/acceptance not to happen until summer)

      Once your committee has reviewed applications and/or made initial interviews, then scheduling campus interviews is a nightmare because the Assistant Vice Dean for Retention is never available, you have to account for getting the person on campus (if you’re in a remote location, or your candidate is far away, it can take a full day), and that interview process may stretch out a couple of weeks, depending on the candidates’ schedules.

      TL; DR: Higher Ed hiring is glacial.

  16. Skoobles*

    In a lot of places, I wouldn’t say 5 interviews is too atypical depending on how you define “interview”.

    For most engineering jobs in my industry, there would be a phone screen and then a half-day on-site visit, and that half-day would include a structured interview with my supervisor & manager, informal discussion/walk and talks with an engineer, a discussion with the manager of tech services (great grandboss), and a followup HR screening. It wasn’t always exactly that, and sometimes it was just the structured interview on a phone call, but depending on how you count it that was “five” interviews… but on the other hand it was also only a phone screen and an on-site visit so it doesn’t sound nearly as bad.

    1. Letter Writer*

      Yeah – for a high level individual contributor like engineer or medical doctor, that makes perfect sense.

      This job paid in the mid-five figures and only preferred a bachelor’s.

      1. Skoobles*

        To be clear, these were entry level engineering jobs and this process was in place when they were paying upper-mid to upper-5 figures, and also only required a bachelor’s degree. It’s really more of an industry thing than a skill level thing, in my experience.

  17. Young Business*

    Yikes. Echoing the sentiment that this is in tech. I’ve witnessed a similar pattern with startups who have disproportionately intensive interview processes.

    I feel like they’re trying to emulate the intensity of what they think FAANG companies do to hire. Asking for feedback from active candidates is so bananas but frankly not that shocking in tech startup culture where everyone is constantly seeking a pat on the back.

  18. glitter writer*

    I did extensive job searching in 2022 and 2023 after a 2022 layoff, and I can say “five interviews and then still not getting the job” is distressingly standard for mid-senior (team manager, but not director / executive level) positions, in my experience. (Five interview rounds, with at least one kind of test or audition, in the middle, is also what I did for all the positions I did get offers for.)

  19. pally*

    I learned the hard way that the company I’d applied to issued two different surveys to job candidates: one for the person hired and another for those who were not. Both surveys wanted to know how the hiring process went and asked what they could do to improve things.

    The story:

    I aced the screening interview. And apparently, the interview with the hiring manager as well. She told me she was definitely moving me forward in the hiring process.

    The following week I received a rejection email. Yeah, that hurt.

    Then I received an email survey from HR. It read along the lines of “Congratulations on being hired! Welcome aboard! Now, please tell us about your hiring experience!”

    I was confused by this. I reached out to the HR contact and explained what I’d just received. She told me that I had been rejected for the position. No mistake.

    So I responded to the survey with comments about how it hurt receiving such an email after being rejected for the job. To my surprise, someone responded with a nice apology.

    And then I received the alternate survey asking about my experience with the hiring process given I was not hired for the position.

    Several days later, the HR contact reached out to me full of apologies as a mistake had been made. I had not been rejected. She wanted to schedule me for the next round of interviews. I reminded her that she herself told me the rejection was no mistake. And then declined to continue with the hiring process.

    Seems to me they need to get their signals straight internally before they worry about the candidates’ experience. As it stands, the impression is that they don’t know what they are doing. Does that extend to the work environment?

    1. ferrina*

      The HR mix-up probably has nothing to do with the actual working environment, since usually HR will be very separate from the day-to-day work.

      That said, I totally understand why you noped out (and I bet their HR did too!). I wouldn’t want to go on that rollercoaster either!

  20. miss_chevious*

    I am very interested in the idea that 3-5 interviews is too many, as I currently use 7 to hire for my team. This consists of one screening interview with HR (to make sure we are aligned on salary, etc., and which I am hoping to do away with if I can convince my boss to list the salary in the job posting), one with me, and then, for the remaining candidates, one each with the 5 other members of the team. I’ve found it valuable to have each member of the team speak to the candidate, as there have been times when problems have been revealed in an interview that I wouldn’t have caught (a candidate being condescending to a junior member of the team when they were perfectly appropriate with me; or a candidate expressing discriminatory views when they thought they were talking to a like-minded person).

    To be clear: only the final 2 or 3 candidates go to the other members of the team, not everyone. And those meetings are all scheduled on the same day in the same block of time — if one of the interviewers can’t make it that day for some reason, then that interviewer is excluded from the process, so it would be an hour on one day, and about 2.5 hours on another day for those final candidates. There is also a 2 hour document review exercise that I ask the final candidates to do, over the course of 5 business days. And this is for a middle-management role with significant discretionary authority and oversight of important functions.

    But, is this too many interviews? I don’t seem to be lacking in strong candidates, but am I missing something? Am I turning strong candidates away with this process?

    1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Wonan*

      Is there a reason you can’t do a panel interview with the other 5 team members? I hate when it’s split out into individual 30 min sessions. I feel by the 3rd person I’m just repeating myself.

      And what is the purpose of a 2 hour document review? Is it necessary, and if so can it be 30 minutes?

      1. Czhorat*

        I think it also depends on the level. If it’s a director-level position who will be running multiple departments then maybe? I’m in the A&E industry; even for moderately senior roles involving direct contact with major clients and responsibility for large projects it’s normally a phone screen followed by one to two interviews.

      2. The New Wanderer*

        That’s exactly how it felt when I did an interview process like this – individual sessions with each would-be teammate. They all had the same sheet of “standard interview questions” and had been told to pick three, and go figure most of them picked the same questions. I felt like it was a test to see if I changed my answers over the course of the day.

        I have done loops with different interviewers (one or two peers, hiring manager, grand-boss or other manager) who had distinctly different perspectives and questions, and that didn’t feel nearly as time-wasting. Same with panel interviews for people at the same level. If it’s done well, it gets you the information you want without all the potential for redundancy.

      3. Kevin Sours*

        Honestly, I find that panel interviews just aren’t as valuable. But when I’ve been in an interview process I generally do like to coordinate a little so that each interview has a separate focus to avoid constantly going over the same ground. For me it would look something like:
        Tech Lead: Stresses technical skills.
        Actual Manager: General fit issues.
        Senior Team Member: Backup on technical skills but mostly so the candidate can address questions they might not feel comfortable asking the Tech Lead.
        QA Lead: Will the candidate play nice with QA. Allows them to ask questions about QA process.
        Project Manager: Similar concept to QA, different focus.

        This would be an single afternoon block of interviews.

    2. Just Thinkin' Here*

      Way, way too many. Why does each person on the team have individual meetings? Can’t they at least double up? I’d rather have a round robin in a single meeting with all 5 since they are highly likely to ask the same questions over and over.

    3. Emily (Not a Bot)*

      The employers who’ve had me do seven interviews, it never seemed an efficient use of my time or theirs. I was repeating myself a lot. The process didn’t seem focused and the whole thing just seemed like a lot.

      I also just talked to a recruiter, and I’m interested in the job but the hiring process is just interminable. Because of that, I’m putting off entering it until I know if other jobs come through. It’s not like I wouldn’t do it necessarily, but it makes it lower on my list.

      But only you can figure out what the effect of your specific process is on your candidate pipeline.

    4. ferrina*

      I think it depends what role you are hiring for. If this is senior/mid level, I think you’re fine. If it’s entry level, I’d role the team interviews into a single interview (or may 2 interviews, depending on the make-up of your team)

      If I’m counting right, it looks like there is:
      -Screening interview (I assume this is a 30 minute phone call? that’s what I’ve usually seen)
      -Interview with the Hiring Manager, aka You (1 hour- is this in-person or virtual?)
      -Team interviews (5 interviews back to back) (2.5 hours, in-person)
      -Exercise (2 hours, at home)

      I think that’s fine, though I would echo some of the other folks here- is there a reason the team members can’t do a group interview? It can be a lot for a candidate to repeat their qualifications 5 times. I used to do a group interview where 2 of us chatted to a candidate together for half an hour. The two of us had similar roles, and it also let me see how they treated my colleague vs me. And my colleague could see the same- there was a couple times when one of us would ask a question and it would suddenly enlighten a whole new aspect of the candidate (good or bad).

    5. Sneaky Squirrel*

      If the 2.5 hours of a day is with 5 separate people (and it’s not a panel discussion), that means 30 min per interviewer assuming HR and you screen in advance? I would question if you’re really having meaningful conversations with your candidates in that time if each interviewer is allocating 5-10 min for questions and then spending a few minutes introducing themselves/repeating dialogue.

      However, I wouldn’t get rid of the screening interview with HR. Firstly, because even if you post salary in the posting, candidates will apply even if the salary doesn’t work. But also because HR can field compensation, benefits, and legal compliance issues for you so that you don’t have to waste back and forth on that.

    6. Jaydee*

      I think the way you’ve structured it is probably the best way for what you’re doing, but I agree with others who have pointed out that 5 distinct 30 minute interviews with the other team members gets repetitive really fast. I’d also wonder how your team members feel about the current process and if they feel like their interviews are useful and meaningful or if they feel like their time could be better spent on other work.

      I’d encourage thinking about whether you can condense the team member interviews in some way – either one panel interview where they spend 1 hour with the 5 team members, or even just rotating and having or 1-2 team members do those interviews instead of all 5.

      I suppose it also depends on how often you’re filling positions using this process. If it’s 1-2x a year or less, then you might as well keep doing what you’re doing. But if you’re interviewing more often than that, I’d think about simplifying the process a little.

    7. Just Here for the Llama Grooming*

      Co-sign with other commenters who thought five separate interviews is excessive. I understand the value added for you in trying to screen out jerks, and I get it that it’s painful to hire such a person and then be faced with firing them.

      All that said — no hiring process is ever going to eliminate every single problem employee. Alison’s letters alone prove that there are plenty of people doing rotten things every single day!

      What about having your team members pair up for interviews, switching the groups for different candidates, so that the final candidates see three people one session, two people another? Even if you add a little time to the three-person group (more people = more talk) it’s still less time overall. And I’m sure you know your team well enough to know which folks would play off one another well in such situations.

    8. Observer*

      So, you are actually essentially doing 3 session + document review, not 5. But still, it is a lot unless this is a very specialized or fairly high end position.

      Also, as others said, can’t you do one panel rather than 5 separate blocks?

    9. Kay*

      One thing that stands out to me – and makes me lean hard to “this is too much” is how you talk about the phone screen. Phone screens are very useful tools to get a feel for each other, not just to make sure the pre job discussion salary band lines up – because lets face it, often after hearing about what the position requires, that initial offered salary may no longer fit. To advocate for getting rid of this, yet wanting a 30 minute interview with each team member (which will most certainly be repetitive), makes me question how the process is handled.

      Echoing the call for shortening that 5 interview portion and cutting the 2 hour length on the assignment. To answer whether you are losing people – yes, you certainly are. Especially depending on how well that initial phone screen is handled, if I thought it wasn’t done well I would definitely question if 5 interviews with the team members and a 2 hour review would be a good use of my time. Unless this position had some outstanding pay/benefits/prestige or I was desperate for a job – I would reconsider going through this.

  21. Rosie*

    Two weeks ago I applied for a job with a major international corporate. It took about twenty minutes to complete their online forms. Last week they emailed to say I will not be offered an interview. A few days later they emailed again asking for my feedback on their hiring process. I gave one star out of ten and said it was because I hadn’t been offered an interview. I suspect we’re all going to see a lot more of this

  22. Molly Millions*

    There are a lot of mainstream, innocuous songs that could be interpreted in that way – “Beautiful Girls” by Sean Kingston, “Grenade” by Bruno Mars, “Can’t Stand Losing You” by the Police, “Creep” by Radiohead…

    Other than some terrible bands from my edgy teen years, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a song like the OP described where the lyrics are meant to be taken literally or the narrator is presented as reasonable. In most cases, they’re being melodramatic for (dramatic or comedic) effect, or the song is deliberately written from the point of view of a socially maladjusted loser.

    I feel for the OP2 working for a dysfunctional manager, but if her larger problems haven’t led to significant action, I doubt focusing on song choice will.

    1. Ellis Bell*

      I think there’s a difference between a manager who hasn’t micro-screened the lyrics of a popular song using inference, and one who plays a song that’s so overt its raking in complaints, yet they are so determined to play it, that they’re blanking customers and refusing to pass on corporate’s number. I agree it’s not OPs circus, but if they want rid of this nut, this could do it.

  23. K*

    I wonder why there is fine but five is too many? Both seem arbitrary. I’ve never had more than a single formal interview for any job I’ve had and I am a teacher so I’d hope that my employers are being discerning. What can be gleaned form a second or third interview that the first one, my cover letter, my CV, my transcripts, my certification and letters of recommendation don’t already tell them?

  24. Brain the Brian*

    Much like auditors who ask for pointlessly detailed backup for mundane transactions, this feels like a situation where HR is inventing work to keep themselves employed.

    1. Letter Writer*

      Yeah, except that every person I interviewed with said their team was desperate for workers, so the real work was there the whole time. Just hire some people!

      1. Brain the Brian*

        Drawing hiring processes to the point that top candidates drop out in frustration or upon getting another offer — resulting in a constant need to fill open jobs — is a great way for HR recruiters to keep themselves employed. They don’t care about results, just about seeming busy.

    2. ferrina*

      No, when done right this is actually something that can be really valuable for HR. And it’s important to make a good impression when recruiting, because a good candidate has a lot of options and “good impression” is part of how people decide what company to go with. Knowing how to make the recruitment process a good experience for candidates and efficient for the internal teams is really tough.

      It’s just that this company is doing it completely wrong.

      1. Brain the Brian*

        And when audits are done right, they are also useful for the company. Adding useless extra steps to keep yourself employed is not “doing it right” in either scenario.

  25. Cookie Monster*

    I’m wondering if they’ve had a lot of candidates drop out of the process because it’s too onerous but instead of just facing that fact or altering their process, they’re hoping candidates will say something else is a problem.

    And to be even more cowardly about it, they’re intentionally asking for feedback while the candidate is still in consideration to ensure they won’t truly get honest feedback, and therefore won’t really have to change anything on their end.

  26. Anon. Scientist*

    I’m in science/consulting and for anything less than entry level, 5 interviews don’t seem crazy. I streamline where I can, but I always have an initial with me and a second person, a second with a larger group including more junior staff (preferably in person) and a pre-offer discussion. With marginal/untraditional candidates, I’ll have an initial “is this worth pursuing” conversation. I’ve regularly had full day or at least half day interviews before.

  27. Ron Baba*

    A thought – would the best response be “I appreciate the idea behind this, but as the recruitment process isn’t complete yet, I can only offer partial feedback. I wouldn’t rate a restaurant when I still hadn’t had my final course, and whilst I’m happy to contribute I’d rather do so when the process has concluded.”?

  28. zuzu*

    I was asked for feedback on the interview process at my current job, which I started about a month ago. The actual interview took place many, many months ago.

    It’s an academic job, so the interview process was intense and pretty drawn-out. I’m used to that by now. The big thing I noticed was that while some of my other previous employers and places I’d interviewed had worked on cutting down on the time the candidates had to spend interviewing, this place stuck to the full day schedule, likely because it’s a university academic appointment that has to be approved by the provost rather than just a law school dean decision (most law school libraries are independent of the university library system and report to the law school dean, but here the director reports to both the dean and the university librarian (who in turn reports to the provost). As a result, I felt like I wound up meeting with the same small group of people over and over again because they had to fill time to meet the university’s expectations.

    And then we went to dinner on top of it all.

    Well, with any luck I will retire from here and won’t have to go through this again. I did let the HR person who asked me about the process know that I thought it was repetitive and too long; I had a perfectly good job already, so I wasn’t worried about answering honestly. But I also have enough experience to know how to answer these things diplomatically.

  29. VP of Monitoring Employees’ LinkedIn and Indeed Profiles*

    This entire story would make a great Glassdoor review (except for the rumors of companies suppressing negative comments).

    At the very least, you should get in touch with everyone you met and send them this story.

    1. TheBunny*

      Yes. You are turning strong candidates away.

      You are walking people who currently have jobs. I just recently went through the job hunt process (successfully thank goodness) and at one point had 19 companies in some part of the interview process.

      It was an act of scheduling determination with spreadsheets. I would have absolutely said “thanks but no thanks” to your process. Especially if I had other prospects.

      1. TheBunny*

        Also sorry that reply was to the commenter who has 300 interviews per candidate.

        I’m new to the internet apparently.

  30. Kindred Spirit*

    As numerous people have already said, 5-7 interviews in tech isn’t that unusual. What really burns, though, is to invest that much time as a candidate and then have the company ghost you.

  31. Dorothy Zpornak*

    See, I would look at this as a valuable screener for me, because I’m very big on speaking truth to power and I believe a good employee should speak up if they see a problem, so I would be diplomatic but truthful. If it turned out they didn’t want to hear constructive criticism (after they asked for it), and didn’t hire me as a result, I would consider that a bullet dodged, because I’d never be happy working in a place like that. Even for someone who has an easier time holding their tongue when they see a problem, I can’t imagine anyone enjoying working at a company where they would ask for feedback when they really wanted ego-massage.

    1. Garblesnark*

      I definitely don’t think these folks would be a dream to work for, but I won’t pretend I’m delighted that I went through all that and didn’t even get to turn them down.

  32. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

    Standard interviews for a fresh out of library school librarian at my old institution took up a whole day. We would interview 3 candidates for most positions.

    1. Breakfast with library dean
    2. Meeting with the search committee to discuss process for the day and answer any preliminary questions
    3. Meeting with the department head
    4. Meeting with the other librarians in the department
    5. Presentation by the candidate as either a class instructional session or a lecture on a topic related to libraries
    6. Lunch with 3-4 librarians
    7. (if a tenure track position) meeting with tenure committee to discuss process
    8. Meeting with HR to discuss benefits
    9. Tour of campus
    10. Meeting with library dean to answer any final questions
    11. Dinner with search committee

    For department heads, there was another half day of interviews, including a panel session with the classified staff from that department and a meeting with the other department heads. The process was the same with internal and external candidates, although internal candidates could opt out of the campus tour.

    For library dean, they added a session open to the campus and a meeting with the library advisory committee.

    1. Anna3*

      I just posted something similar, then I found your comment – yay, a fellow academian! I was reflecting on our process and well – yes, it’s exhausting to even think about it. I still may say it sort of pays off because we get to hire good, well-rounded coworkers.

    2. Grith*

      I mean, that’s a long and tiring day, but it is at least *just* a day.

      In each of my successful job hunts so far, I’ve only ever had 2 in-person interviews, each taking an hour or two, but they’ve typically been on separate days. So when it comes to taking time off my current job to interview, that’s actually more of a stretch for me. And I think when people hear “5 stage interview”, the amount of time needed to take off is definitely a part of my concern – being asked to use a quarter of my yearly holiday on 5 different days for a job I might not get is an extremely daunting commitment to ask. And that’s very different to a “5 step process” where the first step is a quick phone call you can take at lunch and 3 of the steps take place sequentially on the same day.

  33. Anna3*

    on number of interviews: I envy those of you who say five interviews are too many. I work in academia we interview everyone via Zoom in the first round, then we invite the finalists on campus where they stay for about 2 days. The itinerary of interviews, presentations and dinners with various committees is intense: we even squeeze in a campus tour. Each finalist gives a research presentation, and a teaching presentation. They meet (and interview with) six different committees or entitees, and attend two dinners and one lunch meeting, where guess what! they’re being evaluated again. It is an intense process, but in the 10 plus years that I’ve been at this department we have not hired a dud, so it does pay off to be thorough.

  34. ABC123*

    This sounds like some kind of half thought out DEI idea. Like a way to give a candidate a second chance if they say something went majorly wrong (i.e. illegal questions, negative comments about protected characteristics, even things like “I thought I was interviewing for X but all the questions were about Y). Of course, that presumes that candidates would be comfortable enough to disclose those issues, and doing it before a decision is made isn’t the right timing.

  35. TheBunny*


    I thought my company was bad. (And it is with it’s never ending interviews and reworking of positions.)

    I understand wanting to get someone perfect. But egads.

    Not only was that way too many interviews, what did they even think was going to happen at that call?

    I’d be fascinated to see their internal docs on this process.

  36. Mark This Confidential And Leave It Laying Around*

    This could happen at my company. Our process used to be legend for how stupidly intense it was. We improved. But I could see somebody here going ham like this. Our *work* process really is this iterative and intense. People forget the *interview* process should not be.

  37. Paul Z*

    Note to Alison: 5 interviews (each 45-60 minutes) is absolutely the standard for a lot of tech positions (I’m in computer programming, and that’s what I’ve expected for years). At my current position, they’re each testing different things: raw coding, communication, code reviewing, architecture design (not for entry-level, usually), &c.

    Note to Letter Writer: An extra interview at the end to “discuss” the interview process for an hour is absolutely bonkers. Maybe 15 minutes with the interview coordinator, just to make sure there weren’t major issues like “this interviewer didn’t show up”, but that’s it.

    1. Letter Writer*

      I thought five interviews plus two assignments was on the high end for this particular position. The position didn’t require a specific background and is the sort of role where after someone is hired, they’re trained on the company’s process anyway. There are jobs where more assessments might be reasonable – like, I hope the anesthesiologist showed some real credentials. And, yeah, “person who will be set loose in your company’s proprietary software code” seems like it might meet that standard. This… wasn’t that.

      But the hour long feedback call was where my cheese really started to grate.

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