Second interview a week ago - I am having cynical thoughts

(6 Posts)
blackeyes72 Mon 30-Jul-18 13:26:23

I had a second interview for a large company around a week ago. The first interview was an informal chat, the second interview was more formal (think panel/presentation, etc).
What I found really bizarre is that when I asked about next steps at the end of the interview, they said they would call back one or two of the shortlisted candidates to "do the job for a day" to see how they got on.
I have never come across this, especially as I work for a competitor and some of the "work" is highly confidential. I would feel like I am giving away free consultancy after which they could just walk away?This is a senior leadership role...….I also found it odd that there was no HR interview.
Should I be suspicious? I am worried they are taking information from me about the competition under the pretence of a job advert. I am not quite sure what to think or do.
Thanks in advance for any thoughts/advice!!

OP’s posts: |
maxelly Mon 30-Jul-18 13:55:55

Understand your suspicion!

It is increasingly common for employers to try and move away from relying on interviews alone as a means of testing candidates as it's been statistically shown that interviews are not a good way of predicting/selecting people who will be the best at doing the job, especially in roles that are more technical, skill based in nature.

So lots of companies are looking at ways of using more testing and replication of the demands of the actual role as part of the selection process. Most commonly this is through assessment centres where you have to do in-tray exercises, skills tests, role plays etc, but even this has been shown by research to not replicate how people will actually be in the workplace as it's such an artificial environment. So it seems we need to move towards observing people in a real-world situation and with the actual people/in the environment they'll be in to get an accurate idea of their future performance, which might be what they're trying to do through the 'do the role for a day' they've mentioned? I have to say I've not really heard of a large employer doing this systematically and successfully as part of their recruitment processes yet but it could turn out to be absolutely standard practice in a few years, or it could be the latest idea to be thrown on the HR scrapheap, who knows! This could be a really pioneering employer utilising super-innovative recruitment practice!

However, it's also not unheard of for employers to try and score some free labour by making candidates do unpaid 'trial' shifts but I've only really heard of this in low skill type roles like retail and catering rather than senior leadership positions. As you say I would have thought there's not much tangible you could achieve in a day and if there's commercial sensitivity they possibly stand to lose more than they'd gain anyway?

I'm always more inclined to attribute things like this to over-enthusiasm for a new idea/ignorance of usual processes than conspiracy, so if I was you I think I would be inclined to wait and see whether this actually materialises and if so, respond neutrally asking for more details of what would actually be expected of you during this day, how they will be assessing you and what the practical arrangements would be, and take it from there depending on how much you want the job. It does seem a bit much to expect a full day from you when you've already been in for two interviews (it will presumably mean taking a day's leave? and they aren't expecting to pay you?) but if it's a dream job then I guess I'd do it...

blackeyes72 Mon 30-Jul-18 14:19:15

You are right, I haven't heard anything anyway so I probably won't have the problem, but it is interesting to think about what I would say, I guess. I do feel a little aggrieved that I have to take a third day off (other two interviews were in different locations which meant I had to take the whole day off to travel), and all of this is unpaid too.

It might be worth enquiring further, like you say. I had a bad experience this time last year, where I went for 3 interviews, I was told it would move to offer then at the last minute they withdrew the vacancy, (different company though), so I am feeling a little paranoid about it! smile

It is a job I would like, but I guess the upfront investment might not pay off in the end...I suppose I could ask how many other candidates are they inviting in - I can't imagine the senior recruiter being pretty high up in the organisation, would have weeks off to assess scores of potential candidates, so it would I guess just be one or two people...…

Fingers crossed now, I hate waiting...……………………….

OP’s posts: |
maxelly Mon 30-Jul-18 14:30:47

Yes fair enough re being irritated at a third day off, it's a lot with no guarantee of getting anything back and smacks of them being indecisive/risk averse to me. Surely after two interviews they have a good feel for you and your fit for the role, it would be different if they feel there's a specific concern/aspect of the job you haven't covered and they want to test out but if it's just a general 'wanting to find out more' that's a bit vague for my liking!

And yes, one of my issues with this concept of work based assessments is how you judge/score them outside an environment like a factory where you can directly measure productivity. IMO the reasons interviews aren't successful isn't just that it's an artificial environment with little relationship to real life (although that is true!), it's that the judgements on performance have to be subjective and allow lots of room for unconscious biases and irrational preferences/prejudices on the part of the interviewer to come in.

It's not like people can just suspend their subconscious over the course of a trial day any more than they can for an interview, so ultimately someone is still going to have to make a human judgement on how you performed! It's just that it will take a minimum of two days of someone's time rather than two hours!

Let us know what happens?

blackeyes72 Mon 30-Jul-18 14:46:05

I agree....I understand there might be doubts, I have interviewed lots of people and have not always chosen the best ones really. Sometimes I should have gone with my gut feeling but ended up talking myself round. So I do have some sympathy with employers in these situations.

Having said that, this is a risk people take every day and asking someone to take all that time off is probably not going to yield the desired could even put some people off!!

I am sat here thinking that I haven't got to stage 3 anyway, as I am not sure why it would take so long. They are probably keeping me as a second best in case their preferred candidate declines the offer!
Thanks again for your thoughts. I will come back and post with the outcome!!!

OP’s posts: |
blackeyes72 Fri 03-Aug-18 09:58:14

Well it's Friday and 10 days have gone past with no feedback...they said they would let me know at the end of last week or at the very latest I assume this is dead now. I am a bit upset as it would have been nice to get back to me, given I have spent 2 days travelling at my expense AND I was headhunted by them in the first place in a relatively niche market, so you'd think they would at least have a dialogue with me.

I will choke it up to experience....

My DH thinks I should contact the guy but I feel a huge surge of pride and I don't see why I should chase...…?

OP’s posts: |

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in