20 July 2022

Three-Step Interviews: How to Pass Each Stage to Get Hired

  Nasseb Abdallah       20 July 2022

Three-Step Interviews: How to Pass Each Stage to Get Hired

Three-Step Interviews: How to Pass Each Stage to Get Hired

The job market has changed a lot in the last few years. HR chiefs have transformed into HR specialists, CVs are requested instead of resumes, and interviews take place online and offline in several stages. And if you want to get a job at a large company, you have to “fight” for the position – and not just once, but twice or three times.

A three-stage interview is the process of hiring an employee in several stages. In business practice, there can be over three interviews: four, seven or even twelve, but it’s time-consuming, slow, and most importantly – it can reduce the motivation of the future employee and cause banal fatigue from such a long process.

Companies turn the selection of candidates into a real quest for several reasons:

  • To weed out “unnecessary” candidates, namely those who are not motivated enough to work for that company. Everyone can write a motivation letter with the message “I want to work only for you,” but only those who really want the position can prove in practice and talk to the company’s representatives several times, experiencing the natural stress of the interview itself.
  • Check the candidate for different skills. The first interview is usually held with an employee of the HR Department, where the candidate is checked to see if he fits the position, learn about his experience, about himself, and evaluate his soft-skills. Then comes the stage of communication with a hiring manager, who can assess the hard-skills of a potential employee. If he takes the position of SMM specialist, he is communicated with a chief marketing manager, who knows the professional terminology and can better understand the candidate. The final stage is a meeting with representatives of the top management or director (in smaller companies). Here the person is tested for compliance with corporate values and culture, the ability to work with decision makers. Perhaps he or she even goes through stressful situations. All this experience of interaction helps to comprehensively assess the candidate from all sides.
  • Trust the opinion of the majority, not a single assessment. Studies by several international companies prove that three interviews, as at Behavioral Insights, or four meetings, as at Google, help to make a reliable, correct and objective selection of an employee.

Shortcomings of Three-step Interviews

The multistep interview system is great for huge businesses, like 22Bet or Netflix, but it’s not suitable for all companies. Small firms simply may not have three relevant interviewers for potential candidates, and companies that urgently need an employee don’t have time to screen them for a couple of weeks.

Multiple meetings are still always a time commitment on both sides. Even though both the employer and the candidate are interested in closing the position together, not every department manager and director will have the time to talk to multiple potential employees. Candidates, in turn, may also need an urgent job without the opportunity to have several fruitless conversations with company representatives.

Despite the mutual interest, it’s harder for the candidate in a three-step interview situation. He or she would have to experience stress three times instead of once, because even the most confident professionals are sometimes nervous at job interviews. Besides, there is the fear of a negative outcome because it is one thing to get a rejection after one meeting, and another to find out that “you are not suitable for us” after three interviews.
How to Increase the Chances of Passing Each Stage Successfully?
If you know ahead of time that you’re going to have multiple interviews, it’s important to approach this question in a consistent manner. No matter how many meetings – one, ten or twenty-five, the ideal formula for a candidate is always a quality resume that is relevant to the job + developed soft-skills + hard-skills + the ability to present yourself.

The first step (with the HR-specialist):

  • Take a close look at the job and tailor your resume to fit it.
  • A cool CV is the kind of green flag that makes HR not even think about whether to take you or not.
  • Remove irrelevant or outdated experience and cases that do not meet the requirements.
  • You will save time for the HR manager and show that you know how to focus on what is important.
    Get to know the company, its operations, mission and philosophy.
  • Knowing these parameters will allow you to personalize why you are the right person for the position and how you can be useful.
  • Be collected, confident and friendly.
  • Interviews often follow the same pattern, so prepare a short and clear story about yourself, be prepared to answer questions about past jobs and even be able to react to a stressful situation.
  • You can ask a friend or former colleague to simulate an interview with you and practice in advance.

The second stage (with the head of the relevant department):

  • Familiarize yourself again with the requirements of the position and consider the responsibilities to be dealt with.
  • Here again you need a self-presentation, but with an emphasis on cases, figures, and results. This person is looking at what you can do with your hands.
    You can go further and communicate in advance with the company employees, learn about their duties and tasks, and, if there is time, tighten up the missing hard skills.
  • Even at the first stage, you can ask the manager which hard skills are particularly valued in the company.
    Be prepared to do the test task.
  • Here again, attentiveness is important – you need to read the terms of reference and do exactly what you are asked to do, and not try to show all the knowledge and skills that you have.

The final stage (with the head of the company):

  • Recall the organization’s activities, results, and customers. At the interview, you can natively show that you are interested in the company.
  • But don’t just say, “You’re great at what you do,” but pick a specific case and show your awareness.
  • Show your broad vision.
  • The manager cares how globally minded you are, how long you plan to work (everyone is interested in long-term collaboration), how you fit in with the team and the company’s mission.
  • Be proactive and ask responsive questions of your interlocutor.
  • This way you show yourself as an equal because any job is a mutually beneficial cooperation: if you have no questions, there is no interest.

It’s unlikely that anyone can guarantee employment: the number of external factors that are hard to influence in three-stage interviews only increases, because you have to communicate with three different people. Someone could have had a bad day, or you yourself during the interview process realized that the company and these future colleagues don’t like you. But the basic principles remain: do not be late, be sincere and confident and approach each stage carefully.

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