How many interviews is too many interviews? Y’all, it takes SO MUCH time and energy to look for a new job. You have to research, reach out, tweak resumes and cover letters—then redo all of your hard work in one of their useless clunky portals. That’s not even getting into the most emotionally draining tasks, like panicking about the “what are your salary expectations” question, evilly marked in red as a required field. Honestly, getting to the interview stage is a relief. It feels like the home stretch.
…Until there’s too many interviews.
You’ve done one, two, maybe three… And instead of a reaching out with an offer, they have the audacity ask for your availability to meet with a fourth, fifth, and sixth?!
What the hell is going on here? If they seem uncertain about hiring you, should you change your question-answering strategy? Or stay the course because, hey, you made it this far? Are too many interviews a red flag? Because while thoroughness is good, indecision is not! And plenty of smart people have walked away from a disgustingly long interview process.
Here it is. The episode you’ve all been waiting for—nay!—begging for. For this is the episode in which we reveal our preteen sexual awakenings. Completely unscripted and honest.
Naughty fantasy books from the library! Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing! And of course, there’s nothing like David Bowie in The Labyrinth to make heterosexuality seem so… possible???
What’s that? You literally did not ask? Not one of you? That can’t be right. ROLL THE TAPE.
This week’s question
Today’s letter comes to us from Patreon donor Brigit. Brigit asks:
Hi Piggy and Kitty. I’m in a pickle and have a question for you all.
I’ve been at a job for 4 years now since I graduated college. Let’s just say it’s an arts nonprofit to keep details vague. I’ve been thinking of leaving for a while because it can be toxic and the joy has kind of left it, but also my dream organization recently posted an open position. Either way, I knew I had to apply or I’d regret it.
To my delight, I’ve now done a phone interview and a Zoom interview with the supervisor and President of the organization. I haven’t heard back yet (it’s only been 48 hours since the second interview), but I do know they are doing “multiple rounds” of interviews. So I have at least one more round before they make a decision.
My problem is: if I do get to advance to the next interview, I’m not sure how to prepare and what else to say about myself. I’m used to a couple interviews and then a decision being made. What is this third interview all about? I’d appreciate any help, oh wise ones.– The source of all goodness and light in the galaxy, Brigit
BREAKING NEWS! Since we recorded this episode, three major developments occurred rather unexpectedly.
- Just after recording, Mr. Kitty’s contractual job did in fact end! He enjoyed about a month of fun!employment, then started looking for a new position. You know what’s really nice? Having enough stability to be picky. Oil company? Non, merci. Company with a bunch of women venting about sexism on GlassDoor? Bien sûr que non! In the end, he pursued a handful of opportunities at companies that didn’t sully his pure INFP heart.
- His #1 choices did exactly what we talked about in this episode! They dragged their feet with a super long testing and interviewing process! But he handled it exactly the way we couched y’all to on this episode, and it worked like a charm. He just accepted an offer, woohoo!
- The Olympic Modern Pentathlon Federation agreed to drop horses from their sport. Did Kitty’s rant on the subject work?! Man, we should rant about stuff more often…
Darling readers-slash-listeners, if there’s one thing we love, it’s gamifying the job interview process. If you also love hate-discussing this topic, check out the following episodes and articles:
- How To Get Ready For a Job Interview: Prep Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself
- What To Wear (and What Not to Wear) To a Job Interview
- 10 Questions You Should Never Be Asked in a Job Interview
- Common Job Interview Questions and How to Answer Them with the Confidence of a Mediocre White Dude
- What To Do When You’re Asked About Your Salary Requirements in a Job Interview
Lastly, we want to thank our Patreon donors for generously supporting the production of season three. Without them, we’d just be two idiots crammed into coat closets, laughing at our own bad jokes over Zoom while our legs fall asleep. Save us from this pathetic fate. Join our Patreon below!
Episode transcript (click to reveal)
Today’s episode, like all of our episodes, is brought to you by our patreon donors. So this time, we’d like to say thank you to Sandy, Sam, WanderingOff, Jessica, Abby, Kathleen, Heather, Sara, Maddy, Avery, Holly, and Carly. And an extra-special thanks go to Christopher, Andy, Kate, and Kathy. You know, I went camping with these four Patrons, and I gotta tell ya, I was very impressed. Christopher can build a fire with their mind. Andy can stand for hours in freezing cold river water, catching salmon with their teeth like a grizzly bear. Kate told us a campfire story so spooky, it was like a Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark illustration brought to life. And Kathy constructed s’mores so perfectly that angels appeared and took them to heaven. We miss you, Kathy!
So when I was 11, I had read every age-appropriate book in the house, and the library was a little bit too far away for me to ride my bike to. And my mom was like, I can’t drive you to the library again this week. You’ve been three times already like, oh my god, what do I do with this child. So, she led me to her bookshelf, which was full of like, classic sci-fi. Like your Heinlein’s and your Asimov’s and your Norton’s and your McCaffrey’s. And she was just like, everything the light touches is yours, Simba! And I was like, ooh this one has a dragon on it! And she was like, yeah you can read that. And we discussed this years later. She was like, I thought the sex would just go straight over your head, like just directly over your head until you were old enough to understand it and she was right. She was right!
It is written in such a way that I was like, huh, I don’t know what that means.
I really appreciate very tasteful love scenes like that. But also, you know what, as I say this, that’s what I appreciate now as an adult. When I was a child I was like, find me the horniest books that there are in the library!
Give me the schmexy scenes!
Theme Song 2:00
If you need some dough
You don’t know where to go
In this patriarchal capitalist hellscape
Well here’s the ‘sitch
We’re gonna help you, sis
Because bitches get riches
Bitches get riches
Bitches get riches
Bitches get riches
And so can you
Listen, I am a 13 year old girl who just watched The Labyrinth for the 13th time and I am sexually awakened, so give me that book.
Oh my god, David Bowie, we owe so much to him. Those tight pants, really made me—
—realize oh, I’m a little bit heterosexual. It’s down in there. Yeah, I feel it. And of course it takes David Bowie to make a woman realize she is heterosexual. It’s such a beautiful arrangement.
I hope all of our listeners treasure those moments of realizing, whatever you’re attracted to, including nothing, I hope you always remember what made you realize, you know what, this is it for me. This is what I’m really into.
If you would like to share your sexual awakening or non-awakening, you can write to us at—
No no no, this has to be patreon-exclusive content.
Oh, right right right.
You must be a patron and then send us a DM to our Patreon inbox telling us about your childhood sexual awakening based on whatever novel or movie or video game or whatever it was. Please. I actually do want to hear it.
I really want to hear it.
$1 a month, folks. That’s all it takes. Anyway, I’m Kitty.
And I’m Piggy.
And we are the bitches in Bitches Get Riches.
We’re Wolverine and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
No really, we are!
Our time on this planet is limited.
So let’s get started.
Today’s letter comes to us from Patreon donor Bridget. Bridget asks, hi Piggy and Kitty. My dream organization recently posted an open position. I knew I had to apply or I’d regret it and to my delight, I’ve now done a phone interview and a Zoom interview with the supervisor and President of the organization. I haven’t heard back yet (it’s only been 48 hours since the second interview), but I do know they are doing “multiple rounds” of interviews. So I have at least one more round before they make a decision. My problem is, if I do get to advance to the next interview, I’m not sure how to prepare and what else to say about myself. I’m used to a couple interviews and then a decision being made. What is this third interview all about? I’d appreciate any help you have, oh wise ones. Ooh, I like that she called us wise ones.
You know, I didn’t feel wise but then Bridget said it and now I’m living it.
Okay so, when we’re in a situation where there’s multiple job interviews, they kind of tier up. So the first interview is all about you. It’s them evaluating whether or not they want to sit next to you in a cubicle farm or if they can stand to be on a zoom conference call with you twice a day everyday, because we now live in the plague times, so that’s the interview where you really want to a) dress to impress, b) act to impress, like focus on those me-centered questions that are all about those past experiences and how you would react in certain work situations. Okay, so that’s the first interview.
Second interview is more about the employer, the company. That’s where you bring all the homework that you’ve done about researching the company, what you know about them, their background, their goals. That’s where you show that you have that knowledge, and you are prepared to hit the ground running on day 1. So, at the second interview is usually the time when I talk about tell me about your goals as a company or I noticed that you are working on X project. How do you see me fitting into that project? And really just showing that you are not just interested in a job, you are interested in this job. So that’s the second interview, it’s all about the company.
Now we get to the third interview. This means you’re a serious candidate. I rarely have heard of job interview processes, especially on the entry to mid-level jobs, that go longer than 3 interviews, longer than 2 interviews. So if you have made it to the third interview, you’re a serious candidate. This is where you bring in your 6 month business plan. This is where you say, okay, you’ve heard about who I am. I’ve shown and demonstrated knowledge of who you are. Now let me talk about how we can mesh those two things both together and have it equal success. So bring in that six-month business plan, don’t be afraid to tell them your opinion on what they’re doing and projects that you would like to work on, initiatives that you think would benefit the company. This is the one where you are basically saying, here’s what I’ll start doing on day 1 of my job.
All of that advice is really good. You and I are fairly progressed in our careers so we’re going to tend to talk about things like coming in hot with a 6-month business plan. Now, all of this still applies if you are applying for an entry-level job in let’s say a retail situation. Usually it is about the tiers. The first person that you meet with might be someone who works in HR, where it’s their full-time job to just meet with people briefly on a phone interview or whatever, and make sure they’re going to show up. Make sure they’re not obviously immediately totally unsuitable. And then the second round might be you talking with a team lead and then maybe the store manager or the company owner or something like that. But I totally agree. Like, if you are getting to multiple rounds of interviews, that means you’re doing well. So in general, I think whatever you did in the first few interviews, like whatever side of your personality you showed, whatever skills you focused on, that’s good, keep going. If you’re meeting with the same people than I think yes, absolutely, try to come in focusing on them, focusing on asking them questions or doing research about what it is that they’re doing and what their goals are. But if you’re meeting with different people every time, just do what you did last time because what you did last time was good enough to get you through to this round of interviews.
That’s a really good point.
What’s the highest number of interviews you’ve ever had to do to get a job?
Ooh, I think it might have been 3 plus a project. Working as I do as an editor, very often publishing houses want to see an example of your work before they’ll hire you. What I was asked to do was a book pitch, which is a pretty standard part of an acquisitions editor’s job description. How bout you?
The most I have ever had to do was 8.
8. Speaking with 11 total people.
And I called the recruiter back and I said, I’m sorry, I have to take off and fake sick every time I want to come in for these interviews.
Oh my god.
So like, you’re putting me in a really difficult situation where you’re asking me to come in for like, at that point it was like my fifth or sixth in-person interview.
And she was like, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. Let me call you right back. And 20 minutes later she called again and said, they’re going to make you an offer, please please don’t walk. Now that is a really unusual situation, but I was hired for that job and I found out the tea afterwards as to why that interview process was so drawn out.
After I was hired into this role and got to know some of those people, I was like, what was the deal with all of those interviews? And they said, here’s what happened. We got to the final round of interviews with another candidate. They called references just as part of a comprehensive background check process before making her a final offer, and her references trashed her.
Basically then, they sort of as a department got in trouble from HR, where they were like, how did you have 3 conversations with this girl and no one picked up on the things that her references were, like, champing at the bit to tell us about. You know, bad things that she had done in the past. So basically they got in trouble because they let someone get really, really close to being hired who was clearly, like, not a great candidate. So because they got in trouble, they were like, okay, so clearly you guys can’t be trusted to fill this position so you need to include us as well. So then they like doubled or tripled the number of people who basically got a say in that decision-making process. So—
Okay, that story is rich with so much I want to follow up on.
I know! I was like, there’s so much I want to know. The main thing that I will never truly know is, how did this candidate not know that the people she listed as references were going to trash her?
Like never—listeners, never list a reference unless you know exactly what they’re going to say.
If you have any cause for doubt, you don’t have to put anyone as a reference that you don’t want to. It’s customary to put your past managers or team leaders or clients. But if you know they have really bad stuff to say about you, whether that stuff is true and fair or if you guys just ended on a bad note and you don’t want them involved, it’s completely fine.
List a friend and describe them as a client because you put together their wedding invitation or whatever. It’s fine.
Hey, you put together my wedding invitation!
That’s right, and you’ve been my reference for years.
Okay, so on the note of references, yes, correct. Don’t include any where you don’t know exactly what they’re going to say and that thing is amazing. I applied to a job once. On my resume, I listed these two groups that I volunteer with and then I provided them a list of references. And those tricksy minxes! They did not call any of the references that I listed, what they did was they called the nonprofits that I said I volunteered for. And fortunately for me, I wasn’t lying about being a volunteer at those outdoor nonprofits and the person who happened to pick up the phone not only knew me, but was like one of my best friends. This person was somebody who knew that I was in the job market, like I had been confiding in her, so she was like on the ball and ready to give me a glowing reference. All of which is to say, when you’re putting things on your resume, think long and hard about it. Obviously we would never recommend you lie on a resume. Reframe reframe reframe, yes, but lie, no. Because some savvy HR manager or potential boss might call the fucking soup kitchen and see if that’s something you actually do.
I’m pro lying on a resume only if you are in a situation where you cannot pay your bills and you are desperate, in which case like, lie away. Because these companies—
But we’re not going to call it lying! Kitty! We don’t call it lying, we call it reframing for career advancement.
All right well, I choose to reframe the truth if I cannot afford another grocery trip that month. Like say what you need to say, do what you need to do to take care of yourself and pay your bills.
I am a Nobel Laureate, if I can’t pay my fucking bills. That is what is on my resume.
Yeah, totes. Okay so let’s circle back to the original question. Every job I’ve ever applied to has begun with an interview with a recruiter and an HR Manager. And I don’t even consider those to be interviews. Those screening calls, basically, are like a) are you marginally qualified, b) are you not an asshole? Obviously, you want to be on your best behavior. Again, you want to talk about your qualifications. You want to put your best foot forward. If you don’t get through those, You weren’t meant to have this job, you were not qualified for this job. Those are basically of the same importance as your resume. Once you get past that, that’s when you really gotta worry about impressing somebody.
I agree, but I’ll also say, every recruiter and HR person who you have an opportunity to speak with, always aim to impress them as well, because you never know. Maybe you’re not quite right for this role, but maybe that HR person knows that there’s another role coming up that you would actually be perfect for. So he’s going to steer you away from that so that he can give you a call when this other role comes up in a month. My partner has an amazing relationship with his recruiter. His recruiter calls him on a quarterly basis, checks in with him and says, like hey how’s the role going? Like, are you still happy? Do you feel good?
I love that.
Because his work is on a contract basis. So at some point his company will not renew the contract anymore because they’ll be done or done enough that they can do everything in-house at that point and then he’ll be ready to hit the market again. So she just does that to keep up with what he’s doing and also to ask him honestly, like, hey, if you’re unhappy in your current role, let me know. There are so many people who are looking for someone with your skill set, I can always move you if you need it. So those relationships, they may feel a little bit perfunctory and maybe they are, but also they are always an opportunity to make one more connection and maybe you think you’re interviewing for 1 role, but you’re really interviewing for multiple roles, cause if you really impress those early decision makers, they are powerful potential connections.
In the words of Bridget, our question asker, that was so wise. So in my last job search, during coronavirus, which like, oh my god, shout out to anybody who had to look for a job during the total lockdown of 2020. I was looking for new jobs and doing a lot of sort of odd jobs and working for myself, you know, freelance editing, working on this little blog called Bitches Get Riches, etc. Point being, I was also job interviewing at this time. So there was one day where a company I was interviewing with was like we would like a three-hour interview with you and I was like, oh really?
Yeah.And they were like, we’re going to break it up into like 4 chunks, but you’re going to meet with our marketing team. You’re going to meet with our editorial team. You’re going to meet with our production team. You’re going to meet with our leadership. And I was like, well, you know, this is kind of fine, but I also have this side gig I’m doing and like, you need to be sensitive to your job candidates’ work schedules, which is honestly, I think it’s kind of a big problem and maybe we can solve that another day. But I had 3 or 4 interviews in a 3 hour period, all at the same company, that were with different departments. I started out with the leadership team and then moved through each department and they clearly didn’t talk to each other about the questions they were asking me because I found myself repeating answers, which was fucking obnoxious. But I still had to do them with the same amount of brilliance and charm as I did before, because you know, these people were going to come back to each other and be like, yeah, I really liked her answer on that. If I had half-assed the answer that I had given twice before, somebody on the team might have been like, oh, well, I didn’t think she did a very good job answering that question. So be aware that, you know, we might be talking about like, this is what you expect from the first interview and the second and the third. And this is what you expect from an HR screening, or a recruiter screening. But you can still end up having these long-form day-long interviews that you need to really set aside for. And you really need to bring your A game for hours at a time. And when I say A game, I also mean like dressing to impress, which we have a whole article about, but basically, take a fucking shower and put on clean clothes.
Yeah, actually, this brings to mind a really painful memory for my partner.
When he was interviewing, he went to a company and did an all-day interview. They asked him to come in the whole day. So he took a sick day and went in and he met with a bajillion teams just like you described and he had a really great interaction with all of them. And the very last one of the day was like, from 4 to 5. And by this point, he is mentally exhausted because he’s had to be on the whole time and so in this very last interview they were asking him some technical questions. And at that point he said, very candidly, he was like, you know, I don’t know off the top of my head, but I know how to find the answer so that kind of thing doesn’t concern me. Which is a perfectly good answer.
But for this particular person, they were like, I think that this is a red flag, that he couldn’t answer this technical question.
So after he spent the entire day interviewing, he’s on the train home and before he even gets back home, he gets a call from his recruiter and she says, they’re going to pass on you. I’m so sorry.
And he got home and cried. Just sat down on the couch and cried.
No, oh, honey.
Because it was such an effort for him, and he felt so good about the way that so many of his interviews had gone. And it was just that like, he was out of steam. I bring this up because I think there are a lot of common practices in how people get interviewed that set interviewees up for failure, that are super inconsiderate of their time, asking them to repeat themselves, asking them to do tests and projects, and little work-for-frees so that we can judge you better. And I just really want to encourage our readers to think about it this way. If you are in a really long drawn-out, interviewing process, and you are starting to kind of like, lose patience or question if your time is being used well, pay attention to that. And as I told in my story, make that known. Say hey, I’m really excited about the opportunity to work with you guys. I think the role sounds like a great fit. I’m going to be honest with you. This is our fourth round of interviews and I actually already have a competing offer. And I told them, because you guys are really my first choice, I told them like, hey, can you give me a week to think it over? So, I really need us to bring this process to a close by the end of this week. Is that possible? Because otherwise, I’m afraid I’m just going to have to take this other offer. And whether or not that’s true, fuck it. Lie, who cares. At a certain point you have to defend your time and if they are not receptive to that, then you dodged a bullet. And if they’re not going to show you consideration in the hiring stage—it’s like someone acting like a jerk on the first date.
It’s like, I’m not doing this. I respect myself too much for this. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Yeah. I think it’s a really great note to end on, that like, you should not be afraid to stand up for yourself in the hiring process and the interview process. And you know, be clear about what your needs are, be clear about what your situation is. We get a lot of questions like this where people are like ugh I’m juggling an offer while I’m in the final rounds of interviews with somebody else that I really would rather work for…be transparent with them about that, like tell people again, maybe if it isn’t true, I have another offer on the table. I have another opportunity on the table, which another opportunity on the table is a great way to say that you’re waiting for another offer to come in without actually having the offer in, like it’s very kind of vague wording. But be honest about what your needs are in that hiring process. Tell them when they’ve gone on too long with too many interviews. Let them know that you’re a hot commodity. You are a qualified, smart, valuable job candidate.
Mm-hm. And they need you.
They need you.
They need you more than you need them. You may not feel that that is true in your bones, cause you know that I’m down to like 2 dusty cans of Spaghetti-Os, but listen, put that fact out of your mind. Remind yourself. They need you.
Are you good with that?
I’m good with that.
Listeners, if you want us to answer your question, go to BitchesGetRiches.com and click “Ask the Bitches.” Production of this podcast is directly tied to our total number of Patreon supporters, so if you want to hear more, join us at patreon.com/bitchesgetriches. And if you need a little more Bitches in your life (and who could blame you?), you can read our articles and follow us on social media at BitchesGetRiches.com.
Hey, is there anything else they should know?
The Olympic Pentathlon. It is an embarrassment to horseback riders everywhere. And I just want everyone to know, I am over it and I think the entire format needs to be changed. And if not, you know what, just get rid of all the equine sports. They shouldn’t be in the Olympics. It’s a high-risk, high-pressure sport. Animals cannot consent to being a part of it, and that’s all. That’s it. Fuck the Pentathlon.
Good to know!
Kitty & Piggy 23:55