Loooooong Job Interviews! 

I recently read an article titled, “Be Prepared for the Worst: Here are 4 Tips for Surviving Long Job Interviews – and How to Ace Them.” It led off with, “While three to five rounds of interviews were once expected for non-managerial positions, the new norm is much more demanding.” Over my career I’ve orchestrated, been an interviewer in, and participated as a job seeker in some extensive interviewing processes. They can be grueling, and I agreed with the article on the need for some specific advice to prepare for them. 

4 Tips For Surviving Long Job Interviews

The 4 Tips the article outlines are: 

  1. Research the company and role – basically, is your time investment worth it? 
  1. Clarify expectations – “Seek clarity on the number of interview rounds, tests, and the estimated timeline from the early stages of the process.” Good advice and great goal to have…unfortunately, many companies don’t do well at managing their process, and their time estimates are poor. 
  1. Weigh other options – “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Consider other job openings and continue networking to keep your options open.” Another solid point, and one I’ve seen that causes many job seekers to stumble. When the initial interview experience is very positive with a company, it’s very difficult not to get one’s hopes up that “this could be the one!” and relax efforts with other opportunities. 
  1. Be consistent – “…it is important to remain consistent when answering similar questions. But candidates should also adapt their responses to the specific context and individuals involved.” 

Overall, a job search is usually more like a marathon than a sprint. Regardless of the individual company processes a job seeker encounters, ideally you’re working to get as many leads going as possible. With multiple irons in the fire, there is a lot to juggle, sort through, and constantly maintain.  Managing your own expectations toward a longer view, regardless of what different organizations may throw at you, will allow you to plan appropriately and take a wide variety of interview processes in stride. 

Additional Counsel

With this perspective, I’d offer some additional counsel: 

  1. Stay spiritually grounded – Psalm 59:16 says, “But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” The YouVersion Verse of the Day Story with this verse expands with, “And He is constantly advocating and acting on your behalf. That’s why, no matter what you face, you can hold onto this hope: Jesus can turn your setbacks and sorrows into setups for your good and His glory. God can take your pain and use it for His purposes. He can make a way through your desert seasons. Nothing is impossible for God.” 
  1. Stay physically healthy – I found it’s easy to get caught up in the huge amount of “to do’s” while in job search and push aside my attention to eating right and getting enough physical exercise. Study after study has shown that our productivity and effectiveness improve if we’re staying in shape. 
  1. Stay in community – It’s easy to become isolated and go it alone while in job search. After a while, you grow tired of answering the well-intended questions, “How’s the search going?” and “How are you doing?” And I know the longer the search extends, the more discouraging life can become. BUT, stick with it! With your church, small group, or multiple friendships, keep others informed about your search, ask them to pray, and accept their advice and counsel. 

Crossroads Career has many resources to assist you with your job search journey. Our online groups can offer expert advice and encouraging community (Find a Group).  Our Crossroads Guides are available to provide a listening ear, insights, and prayer (Connect With a Guide).  Ecclesiastes 4:12 tells us, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” 

I’d encourage you to engage and not “go it alone”, because it can be a looooong journey.  Blessings! 


Dave Sparkman currently serves as the volunteer Crossroads Career board chair and local ministry leader. He is also the founder and managing director of Spark Your Culture, a corporate culture consulting firm. Prior to that he worked at UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune #5 public company, serving in the role of Chief Culture Officer. His unemployment experience came from the implosion of Arthur Andersen, where he served as the West Region Managing Partner, People.

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