You want the job. You're qualified for the job. Why can't the company just give you the job?
Did you really think it was going to be easy? Employers want to know who they're hiring, and they're going to be intrusive in checking you out before extending an offer. And companies have many ways to vet job candidates before bringing you on board.
The Resume - Your resume is a spelling test. It's a grammar test. It's a Microsoft Word publishing test. It's an honesty test. Reviewers make several judgments about you just based upon that simple 1 or 2 page resume.
Interviews - These grueling meetings often include the hiring manager, peers, human resources, internal customers, or anyone with a stake in the hiring decision.
Criminal Background Checks - Employers want to know you can be trusted with the keys to the company car, or if you're going to take it straight to the chop shop the first time you drive off.
Employment Verification - Did you really work at the company, in the role you indicated, for the pay you detailed?
Credit Checks - Another measure of trustworthiness. How do you handle your finances? If you've declared bankruptcy or have overdue bills, what does that say about your ability to manage company resources – in other words will your expense report be padded to cover your personal expenses?
Physicals - It's rare, but not unheard of to be sent to the doctor for an evaluation if either your job involves a great deal of physical activity, or if you're considered critical to the organization.
Skills Testing - The job requires you to be good at Microsoft PowerPoint - would you be willing to take a timed exam to see just how skilled you really are?
Psychological / Personality Testing - These come in many flavors, but the purpose is the same - to see how well you’ll fit within the culture of the organization, and your predicted behaviors and predilections.
Polygraph - The lie detector. Legal in several states, another test of your trustworthiness. Don't be surprised to take one of these when applying for positions in security or law enforcement.
References - The company speaks with former supervisors or coworkers to find out more about your work habits.
Informal References - This is when somebody at the company says, "Hey, I know somebody who used to work with that guy at my old employer! Let me get the skinny!" Then they do this without the applicant's knowledge or consent. It’s a gray area, but it happens more often than you’d think.
Deep Background / Character Investigations - Applying to a position requiring access to top secret data? You might get an investigator poking around, asking your neighbors about your most personal details.
Asking Around After The Interview - The hiring manager may ask the folks in the office who interacted with you how you behaved. Better have treated that receptionist with dignity and respect...
Your Social Media - Who says they won't find those pictures on Facebook from your drunken escapade in Tijuana? And do you know what comes up in Google when somebody enters your name? How's that picture on your LinkedIn profile?
Drug & Substance Testing - About that trip to Tijuana...
There's a lot of information about you out there, and companies won't be shy about gathering as much as they can before deciding whether to offer you a job. Be prepared.
Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, career coaching services, and outplacement services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.