A “marathon” interview day, how to prepare

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Q. I have been asked to participate in a “marathon” interview day.  It has been defined as a half dozen interviews in a single day.  I worry about how repetitive I may be.  Do I keep repeating the same “stories,” or do I look to find a new and fresh way to answer the same question six different times?  Thanks so much.

A.  Great question.  Employers often arrange a single day to interview one candidate for several reasons.

First, often they want to minimize the number of times they bring a single candidate into their office for interviews.  When a candidate has to return 3, 4 or even 5 times for follow up interviews, the candidate can sometimes get exasperated with the process (and rightly so).  As a candidate, it may be difficult to excuse yourself from work repeatedly if you are currently employed.  Especially with candidates that are interviewing from out of immediate geographic region, this approach makes a lot of sense.  Video interviews can help reduce the inconvenience.  We have found that our clients willingly participate in at least “first round” interviews via Zoom or Teams.

Second, employers are often eager to move quickly through the interview process.  When there is some momentum, the hiring manager can usually convene his or her colleagues quickly and solicit their feedback and input.

A marathon day of interviews is exhausting for a candidate, more so if extensive travel is involved.  If a company is smart, each interviewer should focus on a different aspect of your candidacy to avoid redundancy.  For example, your first interviewer may focus on your technical skills.  Your second interviewer might target your management skills.  The hiring manager may ask about your relationships with your former managers, peers and your preferred work style.  Some companies will intentionally have interviewers repeat one or two questions throughout the process to determine if there is consistency and authenticity in your responses.

As with any type of interview, you should prepare yourself.   Bring fresh copies of your resume with you, if the interview is face-to-face.  Be ready for the standard interview questions like strengths, weaknesses and career goals.  Have ready solid work-related examples of where you have succeeded.  Lastly, get good nights sleep the evening before and arrive early to your interview.  Good luck!

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.

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