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Strung Along |

Strung Along |

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EP 1164 What do you do when a firm keeps asking you back and back and back again for interviews with no end in sight? Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter offers a simple but elegant tactic for moving things along.


This 1 is a classic situation the job that was running to. It's the one word where you keep going back for interview after interview after interview and it seems like there's no end in sight. What do you do?

I’m reminded of this because of a situation I had years ago with someone who was interviewing for a job with one of the investment banks. 19 interviews. I made a mistake in how I handled it. 19 people this guy saw over at least 7 or 8 occasions.
Here's what I should've done and what I didn't do.

Somewhere around the 3rd or 4th interview, I should've asked this question, “how much longer do you think this process is going to go on?

“Oh, gee! We don't really know,” might be the answer. There are a lot of people who want to meet him and they represent different constituencies within the firm and they will need to sign off. I should've then continued by saying, “Well, he has other things going on and he is going to be making a decision in the next 2 weeks. Do you think you can get things together in 2 weeks time because, otherwise, I know he is going to withdraw his candidacy.”

What that would that would done is set a timeline for action. If they would have gone, “Gee, I don't really know,” that basically indicates that they are going to be shopping and shopping and shopping and you never really know what the target is because they never really know what the target is.

So, I just want to encourage you if you're in a situation where you are going on lots and lots of interviews (I’m not talking about 2 or 3. I'm talking about you are at number 4 are number 5) and nothing's really moving and they're not really indicating when things are going to be over, reach out to them after that interview and ask, “could you give me an idea how much longer this process is going to go on.” Then, you sit there quietly and listen to the answer. Then, if it is appropriate, you turn and say, “I have a few other things in the hopper right now that are pretty close to fruition. I expect to have an offer in the next 2 weeks. Do you think you could be done in that amount of time, or should we just pull the plug on this, wish one another well and move on?

It's very graceful because what you're doing is giving them a timeline. You are not saying it like, “ YOU NEED TO MAKE A DECISION IN THE NEXT TWO WEEKS OR ELSE!!!”

You are just very politely saying, “I have my life to live and you have yours and we each have decisions to make. I am going to be doing my the next 2 weeks. Do you think you can do yours in that amount of time?” if they don't like it, that basically indicates this could go on forever.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for what more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1100 episodes, “Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Connect with me on LinkedIn. Then message me to schedule an initial complementary session.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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