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Career Corner: The Human Side of Interviewing

Companies no longer want to spend money to fly candidates out to interviews. – Courtesy photo

By Angela Copeland

Years ago, job interviewing was an event. During my first job post-college search, I flew to companies all around the U.S.

There were phone interviews in the beginning. But, once you got to the in person interview, the company rolled out the red carpet. And keep in mind, my experience was as a soon to be college graduate, with almost no real work experience.

Typically, the company would fly me in the night before and put me up in a nice hotel.  Then, they would take me to dinner. This gave me a chance to meet the team and learn more about the city. One time, a company even had flowers, a cheese plate, and a book about the city waiting for me in the hotel room! The day of the interview was a tough one. I’d have a number of interviews in a row. But, in the middle of the day, someone would take me to lunch. And, they’d give me a tour of the campus. Between interviews, there would be breaks. At the end of the day, a car would pick me up at the company and drop me at the airport for my journey home.

From what I’ve observed, this kind of red carpet interview is very rare today. Many companies don’t want to go to the trouble to fly a candidate in. They say it’s a cost savings, but many flights are just a few hundred dollars. The problem is, this gives a very one sided experience. The company is given an opportunity to get to know the job seeker, but the job seeker doesn’t have a chance to get a full picture of the company.

The companies that do fly candidates out forget a number of things. They don’t arrange ground transportation anymore. The night before, they no longer take candidates to dinner and the day of, they provide no food. There are no bathroom breaks built into most interview schedules. Can you imagine? Many companies will schedule six hours of interviews back to back, with no food and no breaks. At the end of the day, there’s no transportation. You are expected to find your way from a company office (in a city that you probably don’t know) back to the airport.

From the job seeker perspective, there’s little that you can do about this, other than to nicely ask if the company would be willing to bring you in person. Or, you can politely ask them if they’re able to build a break or two into your day.

Employers, wake up! If you’re losing your best candidates and you can’t figure out why, it’s time to re-evaluate your candidate experience. Are you treating candidates the way you’d want to be treated? This is a few hundred dollar investment along with a little time to ensure that the next great candidate will say yes to your job offer.

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.

September 19, 2019

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Angela Copeland


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