The Five O’Clock Club says: NBCNews/Today got it wrong. Our research on experienced professionals, managers and executives shows that the person who is interviewed last has the best chance of being hired!! Read on to find out why.
Here is their article, as reported on NBCNews:
This is the second to last paragraph of that article, which better reflects what our research shows:
“But for many of the positions we fill,” Deutsch says, “a candidate meets with a company multiple times, and there are really only a few people who would fit well in a certain job role.”
For very junior-level jobs (even recent MBAs, as mentioned in their survey), an employer can choose among hundreds of candidates, can select one that fits the bill, and easily replace that person if he or she does not work out. However, our research (on professionals, managers and executives–as opposed to recent MBAs) proves that the person who is interviewed last has the best chance of being hired. That’s because the last person benefits from all the thinking the manager has done. The manager is able to discuss all of the issues of concern with this final applicant.
What Happens as Time Passes
Most jobs are created for people: Most interviewers don’t know clearly what they will want the new person to do. Yet job hunters expect the hiring manager to tell them exactly what the job will be like and get annoyed when the manager can’t tell them.
Generally, the job description depends on who will be in the job. Therefore, help the hiring manager figure out what the new person should do. If you don’t help him, another job hunter will. This is called “negotiating the job.” You are trying to remove all of the company’s objections to hiring you, as well as all of your objections to working for them. Try to make it work for both of you. But time is your enemy. Imagine what happens in the hiring process as time passes:
You have an interview. When I, your coach, ask how it went, you tell me how great it was: The two of you hit it off, and you are sure you will be called back. You see this interview as something frozen in time, and you wait for the magical phone call.
But after you left, the manager met with someone else, who brought up new issues. Now his criteria for what he wants have changed somewhat, and consequently, his impression of you has also changed. He was honest when he said he liked you, but things look different to him now. Perhaps you have what he needs to meet his new criteria, or perhaps you could convince him that his new direction is wrong, but you don’t know what is now on his mind.
You call to find out “how things are going.” He says he is still interviewing and will call you later when he has decided. Actually, then it will probably be too late for you. His thinking is constantly evolving as he meets with people. You were already out of the running. Your call did nothing to influence his thinking: You did not address his new concerns. You asked for a status report of where he was in the hiring process, and that’s what you got. You did nothing to get back into the loop of people he might consider or to find out the new issues that are now on his mind.
Oh I could show my prowess, be a lionnot a mou-esse, if I only had the nerve.
The Cowardly Lion in the movie The Wizard of Oz (from the book by L. Frank Baum) by E. Y. Harburg and Harold Arlen
The manager meets more people and further defines the position. Interviewing helps him decide what he wants. You are getting further and further away from his new requirements.
You are not aware of this. You remember the great meeting you two had. You remind me that he said he really liked you. You insist on freezing that moment in time. You don’t want to do anything to rock the boat or appear desperate. You hope it works out. “The ball is in his court,” you say. “I gave it my best. There’s nothing I can do but wait.” So you decide to give it more time… time to go wrong.
Annie: …you want to give it time— Henry: Yes—Annie: . . . time to go wrong, change, spoil. Then you’ll know it wasn’t the real thing. Tom Stoppard, The Real Thing
You have to imagine what is going on as time passes. Perhaps the hiring manager is simply very busy and is not working on this at all. Or perhaps things are moving along without you. Statistics prove that the person who is interviewed last has the best chance of being hired. That’s because the last person benefits from all the thinking the manager has done. The manager is able to discuss all of the issues of concern with this final applicant.
He had made a fortune in business and owed it to being able to see the truth in any situation. Ethan Canin, Emperor of the Air
Sample Follow-Up Note
Now that you are in the final stage of your search, I wanted to summarize my feelings about the position and address what I see as some of the major issues affecting your decision.
My almost 20 year career at Gotham unequivocally attests to my loyalty and commitment to my employer and my job. It is only because this opportunity is so exceptional that, for the very first time, I am seriously considering leaving Gotham. You can be assured that this sense of loyalty will remain with me at the Foundation.
I feel strongly that my experience in the for-profit sector represents value added to the Foundation. I base this on the following:
- My experience in securities accounting, clearance, and custody, where virtually 100% of your assets and revenues reside, is critical to your organization.
- My review of the Marwick Report on its review of the Comptroller’s Office very interestingly included recommendations identical to the initial conclusions I drew from some of the specifics we discussed.
- The cultural changes you are introducing represent concepts ingrained in me. My experience in the for-profit sector would nicely complement, support, and help expedite your initiatives to become more businesslike in your operations.
- My research on foundation accounting, primarily at the Foundation Center, illustrated the striking similarity in the Statements on Financial Accounting Standards and the Statements on Financial Accounting Concepts between the two sectors.
- My in-depth study of your annual report assured me that the differences in accounting and financial reporting between the two sectors are insignificant. My conversation with Mark Klein, senior manager at Ernst & Young, confirmed my conclusion.
I have a very positive feel for the Foundation, its philanthropic work, its infrastructure, and its human resources practices, both in general terms and as it would affect me directly.
Harvey, I believe that the Foundation and I are ideally suited for each other. My broad managerial and technical expertise is needed for the immediate tasks at hand but will also be of value in your other areas of responsibility. My experience in operating in a decentralized environment has honed my decision-making skills and my ability to interface with others at all levels.
I am looking forward to your favorable decision.
Very truly yours,
What You Can Do during the Interview
If you go into an interview with the goal of getting a job, you are putting too much pressure on yourself to come to closure. When you walk away without an offer, you feel discouraged. When you walk away without even knowing what the job is, you feel confused and lost.
Boone smiled and nodded. The muscles in his jaw hurt. “What I meant was did you ever shoot anybody but your own self. Not that that don’t count.”
Pete Dexter, Deadwood
Instead of criticizing managers who don’t know what they want, try to understand them: “It seems that there are a number of ways you can structure this position. Let’s talk about your problems and your needs. Perhaps I can help.”
Your goal is not to get an offer but to build a relationship with the manager. You are on the manager’s side, assessing the situation and figuring out how to move the process along so you can continue to help define the job.
Pay Attention to Your Competition
Most job hunters think only about themselves and the hiring manager. They don’t think about the others being considered for the position. But you are different. You are acutely aware at all times that you have competition. Your goal is to get rid of them.
As you move the process along, you can see your competitors dropping away because you are doing a better job of addressing the hiring manager’s needs, coming up with solutions to her problems, and showing more interest and more competence than they are.
You are in a problem-solving mode. Here’s the way you think: “My goal isn’t to get a job immediately but to build a relationship. How can I build a relationship so that someday when this person decides what he or she wants, it’ll be me?” You have hung in there. You have eliminated your competition. You have helped define the job in a way that suits both you and the hiring manager. You have the option of saying, “Do I want this job or don’t I?”