I once got a call from a life coach looking for a new career. I agreed to talk for 15 minutes at no charge. As we got into the conversation, she mentioned that she was talking to 21 coaches before making up her mind. She followed up our call with a dozen more questions
I could use the business but I said, “If you’re still not sure I suggest you find someone else.”
This strategy of “just one more thing” happens all the time. When you’re on the receiving end, you might consider plotting your own exit strategy.
Insurance companies use “just one more” as a delaying tactic. Before they pay a claim, they want to see just one more piece of paper…one more question to be answered.
When you’re a job candidate, though, it’s hard to interpret what’s going on. Sometimes you need to realize you’re dealing with a company (or a boss) who’s going to be a high-maintenance hassle as long as you’re there. Or you may be walking into a situation that’s not right for you.
In her book, Carly Fiorina writes about her interviews with Hewlett-Packard. To avoid rumors she had to meet recruiters and H-P managers in out of the way places. She agreed to everything, including a psychological evaluation. She may have done a good job for H-P (she points out that her successor just continued her program), but she never fit in and, as just about everyone knows, as ignominiously fired. (No sympathy needed: her severance ran into the millions.)
Another view: One of my acquaintances “Pauline” applied for a humble assistant professor job at a medium size, middle tier university. She kept getting called back for more interviews. The committee peppered her with questions. They even demanded to see her PhD diploma — a very rare move.
Later Pauline learned the committee had been divided right down the middle. Half wanted “Len” and half wanted “Laura.” So they compromised on Pauline. Pauline wasn’t as strong a candidate as either Len or Laura.
But she was happy to take the job. She was limited to a particular location and she had few other options. So she took a chance. And contrary to what you might expect, she went on to a long and satisfying career with her new university. They treated her like royalty. They gave her all sorts of special consideration.
I’d like to find a lesson to learn here, but all I can say is, “Sometimes you get lucky. Or you go with your intuition, disregard the facts, and expect a great outcome.