As I chronicle my recent job search in an effort to help others understand the steps I took, I hope the pieces I share can be adapted to one’s own search. I realize that my process may not match others’ situations perfectly, however the foundation is there to tweak the techniques and apply them to one’s own process. Last time, I shared the frustration of the waiting game, the seemingly endless time between the application and interview. In hindsight, the timing was not much of a waiting game but to anyone who is going through/has completed a search, you understand the seemingly glacial pace of the application review process. Today, I share the flip-side of the waiting game, a flurry of activity.
My job search timeline is different from most as there is a definite hiring time frame where the bulk of the hiring occurs in my industry. The upside is there is a ton of movement among colleagues between March and June; the downside is there is little hiring activity in the months outside of that window. After submitting applications and waiting, there was a flurry of activity in early April with first round/phone/Skype meetings. The challenge then becomes when to schedule the interviews.
When scheduling the early round interviews, and if one is currently employed, it is important to respect the time of your current employer. Taking phone calls or other screening interviews during the time you are supposed to be working can backfire on two fronts. First, your current employer may find out that you are using company time (and possibly computer/phone) to interview for other jobs. If this is discovered, it could be grounds for termination as you are using company resources for personal use. Think about it, would you use your company’s credit card to purchase your personal groceries? At a minimum, if discovered you are interviewing on company time, you risk creating an awkward work environment as your employer will question your work commitment (rightfully so, I might add). Interviewing during the work day on another company’s time can also send a bad message to your future employer – the message being that you have no qualms using company time for your personal gain. And if you are willing to use your current employer’s resources, you will also be willing to use their resources to find your next job. So, what is one to do?
Many phone call and/or other screening interviews can be scheduled early in the morning prior to your coming to work, during lunch breaks (think of taking an early or late lunch) or at the end of the work day. Most future employers will understand if you let them know that you would prefer a time slot close to the lunch hour so you can take an early/late lunch to conduct the interview. It will send the message that you respect the time and resources of your current employer. While they also have time constraints to get the interview completed, by asking for and explaining your rationale for a time slot, you send the right message to your future employer.
When scheduling the interviews, be mindful of your approach. I tried to schedule no more than one screening call/Skype a day because this allowed me time to research and focus for each interview. Another option is to try to stack the Skype/phone interviews into one afternoon or morning and take a half-day of vacation that will allow you to conduct the sessions. This is difficult to do as you are not always in control of the future employer timelines nor do you usually have enough advance notice to schedule an afternoon off. Also, conducting multiple interviews on one day will wear anyone down. Still, it is an option worth considering if you can.
Remember the old adage, “When it rains, it pours.” I find that true in the job search. When one firm takes an interest in interviewing you, don’t be surprised when all of a sudden other entities step up and offer interviews to you. Be ready for a flurry of activity and how it could affect your current job and send a message to your future employer.