Applying for the role is the easy bit because from then on in, it gets hard.
There are telephone interviews, interviews with recruiters, interviews with the employer, sometimes there are psychometric tests or medicals after that, and then there are references, second interviews and in the end you kind of expect for someone to demand your first born child and to sign a contract in blood. It’s exhausting.
And THEN you find out that some hiring managers have ‘rules’ that they recruit by and base their final decisions based on these. Seriously, I once heard of a hiring manager who needed to know the star sign of the candidates to ensure that their planets aligned. And just this week, we find out about Jessica Liebman who only employs people who write her a thank you note or email after the interview!
BUT there is a power imbalance and you need to keep this in mind during your job hunting journey. The hiring manager holds a lot more power than you do for most of the recruitment process – they get to dictate the skills, experience and team fit criteria and they get to select WHO they want to meet and from there WHO they want to progress through to hiring. Whilst you have the ability to influence the decision-making process, in the end, you have little control over it.
Don’t think you are totally powerless though – depending on your skill set and experience, in a market with the low unemployment rates we have been seeing (particularly in NSW and Victoria), you should always keep in mind that there is always another job. It’s like when you are house hunting – you might fall in love with the idea of a particular house but be outbid and lose it at the last minute (damn those auctions, damn them to hell) and you may lose confidence and hope. But don’t, because generally, just like there is another house out there, there will be another job. So don’t get worn down or lose hope if you don’t get offered the first job you apply for.
Also, when you are interviewing, I know you are focusing on presenting yourself in the best light and giving well thought out, articulate answers to sometimes ridiculous questions, but keep your analytical brain working all the time in that meeting. You are absolutely entitled to judge the judger – if the hiring manager is coming across as rude, arrogant and harsh, it’s a sign that this might be what they are like to work for. Do you want to work for ‘Judgey McJudgey Pants’ who asks stupid questions and smirks when you try to answer them professionally?
There is nothing quite like having the power to turn a job offer down. And if you are turning it down because you just didn’t like the way the hiring manager interviewed you – give that feedback to your recruiter. We need to know when a hiring manager is being a twat so that we can try and address it – and if we can’t, then we need to manage that role in a completely different way because believe me, it’s not in our best interests to waste your time on the wrong kind of hiring manager.
And a word on thank you notes/emails – whilst I respect that they are a lovely gesture and will make a good impression on a hiring manager, most employers do not base their final decision on them. Nor do most of them need to know your star sign or to know what your parenthood plans are, for some theoretical day in the future. The efforts you put in to go to interviews and all the other recruitment process steps ARE appreciated and valued by most employers!