How do I bring closure to series of 6 interviews?

How do I bring closure to series of 6 interviews?


I have been on 6 interviews with senior management at a highly regarded company. Although the interviews were exploratory, the hiring manager looked to me to take over and manage a good portion of the department. After the second interview with the hiring manager, he advised me that he wanted to expand the role of the position due to my extensive project management experience.

Since I worked on an industry committee in which this company was represented, I was familiar with their operation. All the interviews went quite well, and I was told that a decision would be made within two weeks. I received a voice mail from the hiring manager yesterday and he advised me that it may take a little longer to make a decision. He stated that they are still developing the position, and some other “things” came up that diverted his attention.

What do you suggest I do to bring this to closure? Thank you.

Nick’s Reply

6 interviewsYou have two choices: bring this to a head, or let it alone. My advice is to let it alone. Let’s explore the other option, then I’ll explain why I think you should leave it alone

After 6 interviews, invoke your own timeline

You can bring it to a head by calling the manager and giving him a polite ultimatum, along these lines:

“I appreciate that you have internal reasons for this taking so long. However, I have some key decisions I need to make, too, regarding my work and some new commitments. I’d like to set a deadline for us both – say, two weeks? Respectfully, if your team can’t make a decision by that point, I will need to withdraw my candidacy for the job. I want you to know how much I’ve looked forward to working with you. I know I can do this job profitably for you. I hope you can respect the other decisions I have to make in the next couple of weeks, but I hope we have the chance to work together. Feel free to call me any time.”

The risk you take is that he may say they can’t deal with the deadline, and you’ll have to walk away.


Sometimes closure is under the control of one party more than the other – in this case, the employer. When a company is ready to hire, they do it. When they hesitate, we could speculate about what’s really happening until the cows come home – we’ll never really know what’s up. So, don’t put your life and career on hold and wait by the phone. You’ve already given them 6 interviews. That ‘s way more than enough.

I’d focus on other things and leave the hiring manager alone. The ball is entirely in his court. Let him play it. He’s already told you he doesn’t quite know what this position is really all about — but you will never really know whether that’s a serious problem. You may get a job offer at some point but, depending on how long that takes, you may need “a little longer” yourself — to judge whether you want to work with these people.

There is really only one way you can take control. Get on with any other opportunities or plans you have. Pretend this one job doesn’t even exist. You’ve done everything you should. Don’t be sidelined because someone else isn’t ready to make a play.

What does it mean when an employer delays a hiring decision? Should you even care? What’s the best way to handle this kind of situation?

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Manager talked a blue streak in my interview

Manager talked a blue streak in my interview


What do you think of managers who interview by talking a blue streak? I interviewed with the VP of Technology in a good company. I followed your advice about how to gently take control of an interview. Even before I sat down I said, “You are in a tough business. What challenges does the company face in the months ahead?”

He answered in about five minutes then he talked non-stop about the position, himself and his company. When he finally finished I asked a few questions, but he kept looking at his watch. I didn’t get to say much.

At the end he said he wanted to make a decision within a week, and that the finalist would have to take two hours of psychological tests. I tried to “do the job in the interview,” as you recommend, but it didn’t seem to work. Now, what do you think?

Nick’s Reply

manager talked blue streakIf the manager talked a blue streak during your interview, I think the manager should let someone else do the interviewing.

He knows next to nothing about you after such an interview. He likely will make a hiring decision based on (a) the little you revealed about how you could help him, and (b) the phase of the moon, because he probably doesn’t have any other information other than your resume. In not having a real discussion with you and in not evaluating your ability to do the work when he had the chance, he revealed poor management habits.

If you’re hired, it will likely be for the wrong reasons. Once you’re on board, you’ll probably get as much of his attention as you did in the interview process. Is this someone you want to work for? He’s an example of what’s wrong with too many American businesses.

I’d sit for two hours of psychological testing only if they paid me my going hourly rate, whether I got the job or not. Before you do such testing, check last week’s edition and here.

Stories like this burn me up when I consider how much time is wasted. I think the best way to profit from an experience like this it to use it as a basis to judge the manager and the company. The manager didn’t just say a lot; he revealed a lot — probably all you need to know!

My advice: Look for managers who can articulate in detail the problems and challenges they face, and who then let you show how you will do the job. In a good interview, both parties roll up their sleeves and work together. It’s a back-and-forth, not a speech.

Other matters may be important, but the work comes first in a job interview. If it doesn’t, I think you’re probably talking to the wrong company.

This is a good example of “meta data” about a company. That is, data that provides context for everything else you learn about it. For example, this manager’s method of “interviewing” affects his department’s success every day. It tells you a lot about the company’s prospects. What kind of meta data have you gleaned in a job interview that helped you judge a job opportunity?

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A.I. Job Interview: You need to know why it’s crap

A.I. Job Interview: You need to know why it’s crap


I’ve been told once again that to be considered for a real job interview I have to first do a solo AI job interview via video with a robot called HireVue. I’m really fed up having to invest my time with nothing invested by the employer! They don’t even give you your results. Just a rejection colder than those little postcards HR used to send out! (Remember those? I’ve been around a while.) After the robot “interviews” you, they use software algorithms to “watch” your video and more algorithms to score your facial expressions and voice. Am I just unschooled in AI or is this a racket?

Nick’s Reply

I’ve been writing about the likes of HireVue and other vendors of AI job interview robots since they came on the scene. I predicted they’d die a quick death. I was wrong.

ai-job-interviewToday these highly questionable — but apparently profitable — HR technology systems proliferate. They purport to interview and assess job applicants, search social media to measure employee loyalty, and score people’s personality — all without ever meeting anyone. Among these companies: HireVue, IBM, Humantic AI, Fama, Arctic Shores, Good Egg, Ferretly, Intelligo, Predictim and many more. They are taking over HR.

Does anybody know how the AI job interview works?

These vendors have supplanted real job interviews and legitimate assessments of job applicants and employees, substituting AI and extreme automation. They have infected Human Resources departments everywhere.

Critical review of this phenomenon has been sporadic and scattered, and HR’s role in the pain you suffer when job hunting has been sketchy.

If you’re a regular in this community, you know I very rarely recommend books about job hunting and hiring. So I’ll get to my advice: Read Hilke Schellmann’s new book. Before you consent to one more job interview by a robot, before you sit and video-record yourself “talking to the hand” while unaccountable algorithms “assess you,” get this book and take notes while you read it:

The Algorithm: How AI decides who gets hired, monitored,
promoted and fired and why we need to fight back now

Schellmann reveals what’s going on, and you’d better strap on a rubber apron because it’s gonna get messy.

HireVue and HR’s other AI fantasies exposed

Hilke Schellmann, an award-winning investigative reporter and journalism professor at NYU, has delivered a stunning survey of what’s wrong with using AI to judge people. Somebody’s responsible for this growing blob of inscrutable fake intelligence, and we must follow the money. The purchase orders originate in Human Resources — they own it.

In The Algorithm Schellmann skins HR alive, revealing the flaccid underbelly of AI-based HR technology in what seems to be the biggest rip-off ever of job seekers, employees and employers alike.

Rather than hold forth myself on the evils AI is visiting on your career, I’m going to show you what Schellmann has discovered and revealed about a phony technology propped up by PR, marketing and double-talk.


If you believe AI is still a relatively small component of hiring, consider that HireVue alone announced that by the end of 2022 its software had conducted 33 million “one way” job interviews. Schellmann reports that over 60 Fortune 100 companies use HireVue to conduct AI job interviews. One employer used HireVue to interview 50,000 applicants over just one weekend for 1,500 locations.

What this tells us is there is no Human in HR anymore. It’s called “Artificial” Intelligence for a reason — it’s Fake Intelligence. The only humans involved are job seekers suckered into “talking to the hand.” I read one account after another in this book about how these vendors misrepresent — or, if we want to be generous, misunderstand — the science behind their products. I believe any job hunter could save thousands of dollars and untold amounts of time and anguish in their job search by understanding that algorithms cannot judge your personality, analyze your facial expressions, fathom your character from how you move your head or predict from your voice whether you’d be good at a job.

Digging deep into the artificial HR

There’s nothing human about HR anymore. The profession has metamorphosed into a piggy bank for AI start-ups. To get to the bottom of it all, Schellmann played job seeker and used these AI tools herself, then cornered their developers with tough questions.

She interviewed at length the entrepreneurs behind the vendors. She consulted with psychologists, computer scientists and attorneys who evaluated the legitimacy of the “science” behind the tests, games and robots involved. She spoke with hiring managers and studied the experiences of job seekers who were subjected to AI assessments.

I’ve been waiting for Schellman to come along for a long time.

No single article can begin to portray the breadth of Schellmann’s findings, so I won’t try. I’ll give you some examples and I’ll hope you read her book.

Microseconds of deep thinking, or gas? Or a load of crap?

In its video AI job interviews, HireVue uses “facial expression analysis” to identify and measure emotions. Emotions are then scored and those scores are used to judge your “thinking style” and predict whether or not you would do a job well. Schellmann suggests compellingly that none of this has been shown to predict how well you’d do a job.

While discussing the “results” of a video interview, HireVue executive Nathan Mondragon tells Schellmann: “Your eye went like this and down and you went ‘umm.’ So two seconds of video capture, two seconds of data, but every microsecond of the video frame is frozen and your eye movement went down and your head tilted and you went into an alternative thinking style. A lot of times ‘eye going down’ means a deeper thinking style, and going up can be a creativity thinking style.” (p. 107)

After reviewing the facial recognition metrics and discussing the “science” of personality that HireVue’s algorithms rely on, an independent psychologist points out that “The face is not a window into the mind.” HireVue claims its algorithms determine your thinking style, but the psychologist points out that “thinking styles” are not supported by sound science. “We just don’t know what the meaning is of someone looking up or down… the movements don’t have inherent meaning… People scowl when they’re angry… when the are really focused, when they have gas.” (p. 113)

The theory behind their technology is “hugely problematic”

Much of the basis for the facial analysis algorithms rests on the (questionable, it turns out) assumption that if your best current employees display certain expressions during HireVue’s testing, then job applicants with the same expressions will be successful hires.

But Schellmann’s experts explain that to use facial expressions to identify emotions you must assume that ”emotions are indicated by roughly the same facial expressions that almost every human can recognize, and therefore computers could detect too.” (p. 112)

But bias creeps into the selection of “best employees” who represent the baseline.

“It could be that facial expressions… are just as random as hair color. If you look at high performers in video interviews and most people have brown hair, an unsupervised algorithm could pick up on that and choose only people with brown hair.”

Furthermore, the theory of universal emotions the technology is based on is outdated. “That’s what they’ve built their whole science around and it’s hugely problematic.”

We can’t check whether candidates can do the job!

This bit really warmed my heart because it proves effective marketing distracts us from crappy products.

Schellmann gets this little gem from Lindsey Zuloaga, the chief data scientist at HireVue: “What’s interesting with any job interview — if it’s scored by humans or by AI – is that a candidate only talks about their experiences. We are not seeing the candidate in action at their jobs. There is just a limitation of how do you know if someone’s going to do well at a job. The best way to know would be to let them do the job for a while and see how they do.” [Emphasis added.]

Duh, right? Now wait for it, because here it comes… “And obviously, you can’t do that,” said Zuloaga. “So assessing people is, in nature, kind of a proxy to getting to the actual job and the performance in the job.” (p. 101)

I can see this guy asking the seller of a used car to fill out a checklist about how well the car works but sees no reason to take it for a test drive. Zuloaga is so lost in his data that he has no concept of how people actually work “in nature”… by actually showing they can do the job! Better to use a proxy!

Skinning HR alive

These selected quotes are straight out of the book and speak for themselves. Memo to CEOs and boards of directors: Is this where your HR operation is spending your money?

“The problem exists when the data that underlies some of this is filled with errors or the design of the algorithms is filled with errors,” [said assessment tools expert John Scott] about Humantic AI’s and Crystal’s software. “It’s this going after the latest technologies that has resulted in a commercialization of these assessment tools that exist at the expense of sound, professional practice and good science.” (pp. 48-49)

[AI vendor] Crystal acknowledged that there are no independent studies verifying that its method works. (p. 48)

When we ran Humantic’s AI [which analyzes social media postings] separately over participants’ Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, the software returned different personality predictions for many of the people in our study. (p. 49)

[Harvard business professor] Joe Fuller’s report calls it ironic that company leaders keep complaining about not having enough qualified candidates for jobs, when they know that their own hiring processes are broken and actively excluding the very applicants they claim to so desperately want: “Employers almost universally acknowledge that these negative filters cause them to inadvertently exclude qualified candidates some, if not most of the time.” (p. 25)

There is a company that predicts personality traits based on users’ social media feeds — with or without users’ consent…. Humantic AI advertised that with just an email address the company’s algorithm can scan social feeds of job candidates and give hiring managers hidden insights into job candidates: “Get to know their real persona, not just the persona they want you to see. Let DeepSense predict their culture fit, personality and behavior for you.” (p. 30)

One job seeker whose uses the pronoun they… was able to see the report [compiled by Fama]. It contained more than three hundred pages analyzing all their tweets, retweets and likes. They were not amused by what they saw. (p. 36)

I spoke to a lot of hiring managers. Most pointed to one main problem they were hoping AI would solve: they are overwhelmed by the number of job applications they receive. AI promises a quick fix. One hiring manager, who started using an  AI-based resume screener… told me that his people are not checking whether the algorithm works, since artificial intelligence never makes mistakes. (p. 46)

[Uh, if the company stopped soliciting so many applications via fire hose, its managers would have time to screen the resumes? Now we’ll close with the most embarrassing quote in the book. –Nick

Book: The Algorithm8.
Safe Hammad, the chief technology officer, and cofounder of game-based assessment provider Arctic Shores said… “For me, it’s magic. I understand the science a little bit underneath. I certainly understand the mathematics, but it’s like magic.” p. 56)

These quotes barely scratch the surface of  Schellmann’s findings and analysis. There’s so much more, and I so admire both the depth and breadth of her research. Some of her interviews with AI firm managers made me crack up — they seem as clueless about being exposed as they are about the missing scientific underpinnings of their slap-dash “products.”

My hat is off to Hilke Schellman. A fine job of delivering a valuable public service!

Join the book club!

I’m not even done reading the book. I spent as much time writing in the margins and highlighting as I’ve spent reading! This is a remarkable book. A downright scary analysis, expose and general all-around skinning of HR — the good folks that fund these AI companies and make you talk to a screen. (I haven’t even brought up the parts of the book about withholding the files these firms create about you…)

What do you think? Is it like magic? Are you already aware of the scope of AI (FI?) being inflicted on job seekers, employees, employers, managers and, well, the entire economy? How much of “the jobs numbers” do these AI dealers and their HR junkies affect? Have you been subjected to the magic? Is Hilke Schellmann serious? Do “we need to fight back now?” How?

Let’s start a book club. Get the book (from your library or buy it so you can mark it up!), post your comments, questions, analysis and, uh, intelligent banter. That’s what we’re here for. (This website earns a small commission from Amazon on books you buy from links you find here. I use the funds to pay for the servers and maintenance. Thanks for your support.)

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Over-worked, about to crash & burn

Over-worked, about to crash & burn


I am extremely valuable to my employer, working 55-60 hours a week and too close to burn-out for comfort. I’m curious what else is out there, but don’t have time to do the networking that’s necessary.

I really don’t want to leave, but am fearful that as more gets added to my plate, I’ll fail to meet my employer’s expectations and I will burn out trying – a very bad combination. I have 12 years experience in finance and project management and I have been with my company for three years, working up from accountant to finance director. It’s a tough business – contract services, national scale. I revolutionized our budgeting process, saving thousands of man-hours while generating budgets that were fair, challenging, and achievable, resulting in excellent annual growth in earnings. How can I find out how marketable I am without taking time away from my job?

Nick’s Reply

I commend you for recognizing you’re over-worked, but there’s no excuse for not taking time to learn what other opportunities are out there. When it comes to career development, complacency (no matter what the reason) is professional suicide. It may feel like prison, but only if you allow it.

over-workedMake time!

Over-worked and crashing

Diversify your career investment. Start turning down some projects. Delegate more tasks to others to create time for yourself. Take a little away from your job and put it into your future. You can meet all sorts of people in your industry through your work. Go to conferences, seminars and professional gatherings including continuing education — whether via Zoom or in person. (Do yourself a favor: in person is better than Zoom. Do it.)

I’ve met many people who share the “fly high/crash and burn” syndrome. They let themselves be over-worked and they all crash.

Burnout is not a career

Here’s how it goes: You use all your skills and talents to benefit your employer and gain recognition. When you hit the wall, you compensate by working harder and longer. Impressed (or just taking advantage), your employer “gives” you more responsibility. You feel blessed. To prove yourself worthy, you accept it. To handle it, you work even harder. Finally, you burn out, or you start making mistakes because there’s too much on your plate and you don’t know how to say No!

Meanwhile, you’ve trained your employer to expect more. Suddenly, you are not meeting expectations (ridiculous though they have become). You either quit in frustration and anger, or you get fired. You might brag to your friends that four people were hired to replace you, but that doesn’t change your situation. There goes your career — and possibly your health.

Take control

Stop aiming for quantity and quality at the same time. Start managing your employer. When you’re given more work, sit your boss down. Enumerate the work you’ve done successfully so it’s evident. Outline your next projects and tasks in detail. Then map out your work schedule and show where time runs out. Calmly explain the company needs to allocate help, or something has to give. Let your boss decide what. “Which projects or tasks would you like me to omit from this month’s schedule?”

If your boss says nothing can be cut and indicates you have to work even more hours, you must decline. “We need to hire help, or the work won’t get done. Here’s what we need…” Be ready with a clear, cogent plan for the work, and be ready to quit or get fired.

(You could try “quietly quitting,” or slowing down and letting things take their course, but I’m not a fan of this passive-aggrssive approach.)

You take a risk when you push back. You must decide what’s important to you and stand up for it.

Invest some time in your future. Yours is the classic cry for help. Please listen. Your well-being depends on it.

Have you ever been so over-worked that you were afraid to push back? Did your job ever make you sick? How did you handle it? What was the outcome?

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