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The Marathon Interview: Keeping Them Straight

Posted June 21, 2011 by Marcy Twete in Career Moves

Every interview is different, and every company conducts interview processes differently. Some will bring you back over and over to meet with person after person on day after day. Others, though, opt for what I like to call the “marathon interview.” This type of interview generally comes after a first or second interview and gives you the opportunity to meet members of the team or leaders in the company.

I once had an interview just like this – 9 people in one day! Three individual interviews and two panel interviews with three people each. 9 people, 4+ hours and hopefully it will lead to a job. But even if it doesn’t, it taught me a lot about this kind of interview, giving this Chicago Career Girl the opportunity to offer my readers some advice on the marathon interview.

Should you find yourself scheduled for an interview in excess of 2 hours long with numerous interviews throughout, think about the following:

  • H20 It! Bring water. Most often, a place of business will offer you water, but just in case they don’t, have a bottle in your purse. With hours of talking, you’ll want to avoid that horrible dry mouth feeling.
  • Stalk away, career girl. If you have the names of the individuals you’re meeting with, be sure to run a Google and LinkedIn search on each of them individually. Know in advance how long they’ve been with the company, what their background might be, and whether or not you have contacts in common. On LinkedIn, be sure to look at the bottom of the page for “interests” – you never know what you might have in common. And it’s especially useful if you need to fill awkward silence to bring up mutual interests.
  • Avoid a rumbling tummy. Eat a healthy, balanced meal before you go. This is advice I’m giving, but didn’t take. A tiny croissant before a 4+ hour interview wasn’t enough to keep my tummy from rumbling and a tinge of a headache toward the end. So avoid my mistake and eat well before you go.
  • Keep smilin’. The most difficult thing about a marathon interview is keeping your energy up. So smile! Smiling can boost energy and spur endorphins to keep your mood up and your answers energized.

Hopefully when you cross the finish line, you’ll have a job. But even if you don’t, you’ve had the opportunity to develop a new set of skills in marathon interviewing.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."