Five: Understanding the Company’s Hiring Procedure
To correctly gauge the sequence of events surrounding or following your first interview, ask these questions:
- Can you describe to me, step by step, the hiring procedure for this position?This is important to ask, because you want to find out if (and when) the company needs to schedule a second or third level interview. Some companies will make hiring decisions on the spot; others will take months of meetings and endless signatures to process a simple request for a second interview.
- Will I be asked to take any tests?And if so, what are they, and how long will they take to administer? Proctor & Gamble, for many of its professional positions, requires candidates to take a one-hour math and abstract reasoning test. Some companies require a full day of psychological, aptitude, technical skill, and intelligence testing. With most companies, failure to pass the tests means automatic elimination from consideration.Most drug tests are simply referred to as “physicals,” and may take several days to schedule and process. Often, you’ll have to use your own doctor or clinic.
- How long will it take before you reach a decision?This will help you measure your progress through the hiring process, and could spare you from getting the jitters if you don’t hear something immediately.I once got bent out of shape because a new client company was taking a long time to make a decision whether to bring back one of my candidates for a second interview. Later, I found in my original notes that the company was right on schedule; they’d told me up front that it would take them several weeks to reach a decision. As it turns out, I had no reason to complain.
- Do you currently have any finalists?This question lets you know if you’ve entered the race late, and your interview with the company is only a formality. In a situation like this, isn’t it best to know where you stand?
- Who will be making the hiring decision?Find out if the decision will be made by a committee. If it is, must the committee come to a unanimous agreement? Or, will the decision be based on the recommendation of a single person?The more information you can dig up about the hiring procedure, the better you’ll be able to give a more confident, thoughtful interview. What’s more, arriving at an interview armed with a bastion of facts will help you shield yourself from the fear that occurs as a result of feeling out of control.