If you've interviewed for a job lately, you may have noticed that the process has gotten longer and more difficult than it once was. In 2010, the average length of the job interview process was 12.6 days, and today, it's 22.9 days, according to a recent study from Glassdoor Economic Research. Not only are more companies requiring interviewees to undergo background checks and skills testing, but also many companies are incorporating group presentations, brain teasers, tough writing tests, coding tests or asking candidates to solve business problems on the spot.
While most job seekers might prefer an easy, painless interview process, our research shows that more difficult interviews actually yield positive results for candidates. Our recent study Do Difficult Job Interviews Lead to More Satisfied Workers? examines a unique data set: more than 154,000 pairs of interview reviews and company reviews from the same individual, at the same company, across six countries in North America and Europe. The result? Tougher interviews lead to happier employees later on. In fact, a 10 percent harder job interview is associated with 2.6 percent higher job satisfaction later on.
What does it all mean for the job candidate? If you can sweat through a tough interview and land the position, you'll likely to be happier in your new job than you would have been in a position that was easy to obtain. Here are three reasons why a more difficult interview process is actually positive for job candidates:
1. Better matches. Hiring is kind of like dating. It is essentially a matching process that connects workers and companies and helps to evaluate "fit." Good matches lead to more productive and satisfied employees while poor matches lead to low productivity and dissatisfied workers that cause employees to flea. The goal of interview processes is to separate the wheat from the chaff, making job offers only to candidates who are "good" matches for open jobs. Being asked tougher questions and having to solve sample work problems gives employers a more complete idea of what type of employee you'd be. The more they know about your skills and personality, the more confident they'll be that you have the skills to perform the work and you're a good cultural fit for the company.
2. More accurate expectations. Just as more difficult interviews help employers make more informed decisions about which candidate to hire, the process also allows interviewees to get a better idea of what the job will entail. Instead of building anxiety about the potential to bomb a difficult interview, try to view the in-depth questions as opportunities to better understand the type of work you would be doing at the firm in question, which can help you determine whether it's the right place for you.
3. Understanding of your worth. While the application and interview processes for many jobs have become more lengthy and difficult, that isn't the case equally for all levels and job titles. Our research shows that the process of getting hired for a higher-skilled and higher-ranking position takes significantly longer than for an entry-level job. Because companies value these types of employees more highly, they are willing to spend extra time and resources to find the right candidate. As a job seeker, if you find that you're being asked to complete more and more steps during your interview process, the company likely views the position as extremely valuable -- and if you can bear with them and land the position, you're likely to be compensated accordingly.
What kind of interview hoops have you had to jump through? Was it worth it?