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Career Corner: More Work Means a Fair Process

Sharpen those #2 pencils for your next interview. – Courtesy photo / Alberto G. (CC BY 2.0)

By Angela Copeland

Have you ever had to do extra work in a job interview? One of my most intense interviews ever was at Target. I interviewed there after graduate school for a project management role. The process was unlike one I had ever seen up to then.

Target flew me into Minneapolis one evening, with a day of interviews to follow. The day itself is a blur now; so much happened in a relatively tiny amount of time. 

I had multiple individual interviews. They happened back to back in a small room. One person would come in and interview me. They’d leave and then another person would come in. This happened around four times in a row. It was back to back with no real breaks.

Then, the human resources manager took me to lunch. It was right next door and it wasn’t any kind of lunch. It was a lunch interview. I had to be on my game.

After lunch, I was taken to another business nearby. There, I took an IQ test that was very much like the SAT you might have taken to get into college. There was a math portion and a verbal portion. It was a lot do to after five interviews.

But, the fun didn’t end there. Next, I was met by a psychologist. The psychologist administered a psychological exam.

After it was over, I remember stretching out in the back seat of a cab on my way back to the airport. I was exhausted. I’d never had such an intense interview.

This sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. But, do you know what else it is? It’s an attempt at a fairer interview process.

No interview is unbiased. Some people perform better in an in person interview. Others do better on a test. Allowing the candidate to be tested in multiple ways is a good way to reduce the likelihood of an unfair process.

In fact, my favorite interviews are the ones with the most work. I like it when you write a proposal for the manager, to show them what you will bring to the table. I feel like it gives you a chance to sell yourself. It gives the manager a chance to truly measure your abilities. And, it reduces your risk of a mismatch.

The next time you’re put through a long and difficult interview process, remember this. The process is likely more fair than if the hiring manager met you and quickly decided. If you get the job, it’s more likely to be a better fit for you.

You may also be wondering whatever happened at Target. I got the job offer and the company was so nice that they sent me flowers to congratulate me. Target was a truly amazing company. I didn’t end up taking the job, but I took away the importance of a thorough interview process.

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