interviewing

Why Did I Waste My Time Interviewing When The Company Offered The Job To An Internal Candidate?

iStockphoto.com |  Bet_Noire

iStockphoto.com | Bet_Noire

You just walked out of an interview at a company where you really want to work. After feeling like you nailed it, you’re stunned – and not just a little upset – to learn you didn’t get the job. In fact, you heard that the person who did get the job was an internal candidate. Why did the company put you through an intensive interview process if they were always going to give the job to somebody who already works there?

Both parties involved in a job interview operate with a blind spot. A company can use every traditional tried and true method of recruiting, interviewing, and hiring staff, but still only learn a fraction of a person’s actual skills and fit before making him or her a co-worker. The outside candidate for a job knows even less; he or she has little to no visibility into the decision process that goes into corporate hiring decisions.

In most cases, there aren’t really any federal regulations stipulating any requirements in granting preference toward internal or external candidates during the employment process. Unless it’s mandated in some sort of labor agreement or government contract, companies have a lot of latitude in who they hire.

That said companies tend to have a hiring philosophy. That philosophy is most likely in a written corporate policy governing staff recruitment. There is no single approach, but many companies explicitly state that internal candidates will get preferential consideration during the hiring process, while many others state that the best candidate wins.

This can frustrate both internal and external job seekers, who aren’t playing by a single set of rules. Candidates wonder, “Why did you bother to interview me?” Here are several factors to keep in mind as to why the process can play out the way it does.

  • The process of recruiting and interviewing candidates costs both time and money. A company is not going to spend resources and dollars for practice. Even when company’s hiring philosophy favors internal candidates, the fact that the company interviewed external candidates signals that you had a legitimate chance at getting the position. Otherwise, only internal candidates would have been interviewed.

  • Many employers give internal candidates preference in the form of internally-posted job openings on the company intranet or similar platforms. Depending on the company’s guidelines, generally speaking a public job announcement shows that the company is looking to identify the best possible candidate, which sometimes means an internal candidate and sometimes and external one.

  • Recruitment policy at some companies can be governed by union contracts, which may specify internal and/or union members receive preferential treatment during the hiring process.

  • Even in cases in which preference is not given to internal candidates by default, you are still competing with employees that possess the advantage of already being a known quantity.

  • The hiring process is fluid and the candidate pool may change day to day due to unforeseen circumstances. Internal or external candidates can – and frequently do – accept offers then back out. A perceived lock for a position may have a rocky interview process that reveals they are not the best person for the job. A dark horse candidate, either internal or external, may emerge and end up with the offer.

 In the end, you shouldn’t allow the phantoms of internal candidates deter you from pursuing the job you want. How can you compete more effectively? In addition to polishing your interview skills, you can tip the scales in your favor via strategic networking. This way, you can increase your profile with hiring managers who still may have a need for you in the future.

And as frustrating as you may find the process, try to remember that companies that selected internal candidates for jobs are trying to provide additional opportunities for development and promotion to their employees. As an external candidate, take heart that this could potentially be a sign of an employee-centered culture.


Philip Roufail contributed to this article.

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 scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.

How Much Does Personality Matter In The Hiring Process?

iStockphoto.com |  bonezboyz

iStockphoto.com | bonezboyz

How much does personality matter in the hiring process?

It’s often less a matter of personality, and more a matter of behaviors that impact the hiring equation.

In other words, companies will often have a variety of personalities working under their roof, but you will generally see consistent threads in their behaviors and competencies. For example, depending on the job function, you might find employers value demonstrated behaviors such as:

  • Action Orientation – Motivation to get stuff done

  • Business Acumen – Good sense of strategy and the industry

  • Creativity – Ability look at (and solve) problems a different way

  • Organizational Agility – Knowledgeable about how companies work, and how to successfully maneuver them

And so on. Hiring managers may or may not have terminology to put on this type of assessment, but this is generally what they’re looking for.

That said, the candidate’s personality does play a factor. Your manager will spend more waking hours with you than they will with their family in a given week. Therefore, if you’re charismatic, personable, and easy to get along with, you may have an easier time convincing an employer to hire you.

Conversely, if you demonstrate an inability to connect in a positive way with the team might not be offered that same job opportunity after an interview because they may negatively impact team dynamics. In my experience, 90% of job seekers fall somewhere on the spectrum between these two extremes, and in those cases the selection primarily tends to come down to a consideration of the candidate’s technical aptitude and competencies.

That said, some people have badly needed skills and expertise, and personality may not play a factor at all. If the company you’ve applied to is actively looking for a COBOL programmer, facing a deadline to fix some old spaghetti code, and you’re the first qualified candidate they’ve interviewed in months, you’re probably going to get an offer regardless of your interpersonal skills.


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, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.

Ways To Kill Time During Interview Breaks

iStockphoto.com |  shironosov

iStockphoto.com | shironosov

 

You're invited to interview for your dream job. On the agenda ithere's a 30-minute time slot labelled "Break."  This means that they couldn't find somebody to fill that period of time, and they need to park you in a conference room or the lobby for a while.

You should plan for downtime, and how to use it. Keep in mind that even if you're not in an interview, the company will still be watching how you respond. Here are some suggestions to  occupy your time:

  • Prior to the interview, print the job description, the agenda, relevant articles about the company, and the LinkedIn profiles of your interviewers. Bring them. Read them. Should someone pass by, they'll see you're taking your day seriously.
     
  • Bring (an appropriate) magazine to read. People will consider what you're reading - if you're interviewing for a job as a fashion buyer, flipping through Vogue won't hurt your case.
     
  • Review your employment application for accuracy. Any mistakes can cause problems during a background check.
     
  • Take inventory of the business cards you received during your interviews. When you're getting ready to send thank you notes, you'll need names and addresses and you can ask the Corporate Recruiter at the end of the day for the information of anyone you may have missed.
     
  • Ask for a nature break. Gotta go? This is the time. Return promptly in case the next interviewer is ready.


A few other things to consider:

  • Resist the urge to check your phone. It's tempting – you really want to know what's going on at work while you're out, but don't do it. Your phone should be off from the moment you arrive at the interview. What if you forget to turn it off and it rings during an interview? Even worse, what if you jump on a call during your break, the next interviewer arrives, and you can't get off the phone?
     
  • Don't get too casual. Keep a professional posture. Don't assume nobody is watching - the interviewers will be.
     
  • Never assume there will be something to occupy you where you wait. Be prepared with something to read. Staring into space because you've got nothing to look at makes you look like you're on a bad acid trip.

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, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website,