Job interviews are a nightmare — and only getting worse

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In late 2022, Jessica found herself in a predicament that will sound familiar to many job seekers: slogging through an extended interview process with seemingly no end in sight.

She was up for a job as a fundraiser at a major social services organization in New York. Across the span of two months, she took part in six separate interviews with nine people total, multiple of whom she met more than once. She’d pulled one of her first all-nighters in years putting together a dummy presentation on a hypothetical corporate partnership for interview No. 4, which entailed what she describes as a 15-minute “monologue” from her on the matter followed by a 45-minute Q&A with a panel. It wasn’t until the final interview that she got a real one-on-one sit-down with the person who would be her boss.

“Every time I thought, ‘Okay, this is the final hump,’ there was another thing,” said Jessica, which is a pseudonym. Vox granted her anonymity in order to protect her privacy and keep her out of hot water with her current employer. “It just gets really mentally exhausting, and it’s hard to manage your work schedule because obviously, you don’t want your employer to know you’re interviewing.”

Job-seeking can be a real exercise in immersive futility. It often feels like you’re tossing your resume into the abyss and praying to the recruitment gods for a response. If and when you get that response, the landscape doesn’t always get easier. Companies are seemingly coming up with new, higher, and harder hoops to jump through at every turn. That translates to endless rounds of interviews, various arbitrary tests, and complex exercises and presentations that entail hours of work and prep. There can be good reasons for firms to do this — they really want to make sure they get the right person, and they’re trying to reduce biases — but it’s hard not to feel like it can just be too much.


https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/56FH_1uzbDeVtfkodckeaNEdgpE=/0x0:3000x2000/920x613/filters:focal(2138x857:2618x1337):format(webp)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/71856229/bigsqueeze0111.0.jpgIt should not take endless interviews to get a job. And yet.Getty Images/Vox



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