There are many phases in the job search process, all of which are a time-consuming emotional roller coaster ride for many. The problem is that many people get excited that they’ve been called for an interview, a second interview, even a reference check, and presume that means they’ve got the job, only to find that someone else was offered the position. In the meantime, they have put all their eggs in an imaginary basket which never materializes. What are they left with? Some broken eggs and no omelet.
This means, no matter how deep you are in the hiring process with an employer, you must never stop looking until you actually get a written offer of employment with start date, salary, benefits, even projected performance review dates. Some might even say you can’t stop looking until you actually are a week or two into your new job and are sure it’s a good fit, though I’m loath to suggest for someone to keep actively looking once they’ve accepted an offer because it’s not very ethical to renege on an offer and burns bridges like very little else can. However, some folks just want to be 110% sure the job is right for them before they truly commit.
Anyway, know there are several phases of a hiring process:
1. Application and (hopefully) internal recommendation and referrals
2. Employer looks through applications, and might look at your Linkedin profile or Google you, to decide whom to interview
3. HR might do a phone screen
4. A first-round interview, usually in person but possibly by phone or Skype call; possibly by a hiring committee
5. A second-round interview, either with the full team you’ll be working with or with some of the higher-ups you’d report to
6. Potentially, other screening mechanisms like an assessment test
7. Potentially, third, fourth, even fifth or sixth round interviews
8. Reference checks, background checks, credit checks, drug tests etc.
9. Then, maybe, an offer. You just don’t know, even once you get up to the reference check process, whether something will go wrong, some reference won’t check out, or some other candidate might pop up. And the process can occur concurrently in which they might get all the way to references and then decide they want to re-open the search to find a better candidate; the budget might get cut; the founder of the organization might get cold feet– you just don’t know until you get the offer.
So keep looking!