For a Fairer Hiring Process, Put Candidates Through the Ringer

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One of my most intense interviews ever was for a project management role at Target. The process was unlike anything I had ever seen in the labor market up to that point.

Target flew me to Minneapolis one evening, with a day of interviews to follow. As I look back now, the day itself is a total blur. So much happened in a relatively tiny amount of time. I had multiple individual interviews back to back in a small room. One person at a time would come in to interview me. When they were done, they’d leave and another person would take their place. This happened four times in a row, with no real breaks in between each interview.

Then, the human resources manager took me to lunch. Of course, it wasn’t just any lunch — it was a lunch interview. I still had to be on my game.

After lunch, I took an IQ test that was very much like the SAT. There was a math portion and a verbal portion. It was a lot to do after five interviews! But the fun didn’t end there. Next, I met a psychologist, who administered a psychological exam.

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

I’m sure this sounds like a ton of work for one job, and that’s because it is. However, it’s not just work for the sake of work. It’s actually an attempt at a fairer interview process!

No interviewer is unbiased, nor is any interview format. Some people perform better during in-person meetings, while others excel at tests. Testing a candidate in multiple ways can give an employer a more holistic view of the candidate. Furthermore, having multiple people interview the candidate can mitigate unconscious bias.

My favorite interviews are the ones with the most work. I feel like they give you a chance to really sell yourself. The company can truly measure your abilities on multiple facets, reducing the risk of a mismatch between candidate and company.

So, the next time you’re put through a long and difficult interview process, remember this: The process is likely more fair than the traditional one-and-done interview. And, if you get the job, it’s more likely to be a good fit. This arduous interview process is actually doing you a favor!

Whatever happened with me and target? I got the job offer, and the company was so nice that it sent me flowers to congratulate me! Target was a truly amazing company. I didn’t end up taking the job, but I did take away the importance of a thorough interview process.

A version of this article originally appeared on Copeland Coaching.

Angela Copeland is a career coach and CEO at Copeland Coaching.

By Angela Copeland