It's nice to be wanted, just not all at once
October 24, 2008 7:29 AM   Subscribe

It's MBA hiring season. I have been selected to attend second round interviews with three different companies in three different cities on three consecutive days.

This is the schedule:

City 1: 9:00am - 4:00pm Eastern on a Wednesday
City 2: 6:00pm Wed. evening and 8:00am - 4:00pm Central on Thursday
City 3: 4:00pm Thursday Evening and 8:00am - 3:00pm on Friday

Each city is separated by a 2 hour flight, not including extra time to get to and from the airport. I have committed to attend the interview in City 3 since they notified me first and it is my first choice job. There isn't much of a conflict with the interview in City 1, but it would be nice to leave early to get to City 2. City 2 and City 3 were originally scheduled for the same days at the same times, but City 2 agreed to move back a day, but not enough to prevent overlapping with Thursday evening in City 3.

If I am unable to make it to City 2, they have indicated that they will "see if any positions remain" after interviewing the candidates who are able to make it. I interpret that to mean there's not much of a chance of getting another opportunity if I can't make it for the interview.

Short of chartering a private jet, should I tell City 2 "thanks, but no thanks?" I would prefer not to in this economy, but the timing of these interviews is so tight that a simple flight delay could ruin my chances at two companies.

Any other additional thoughts or approaches would be appreciated.

Anon email:
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (5 answers total)
It looks like going to the interview will make you leave City 1 early and arrive at City 3 late. This means you will not be able to present at a 100 percent level at any of the jobs. If competition is as fierce as I expect, it is better to do as well as possible at two interviews rather than do a poorer job at three.

I think you should opt for the "see if any positions remain" option, knowing that it probably won't happen.
posted by grouse at 7:54 AM on October 24, 2008

Do you know what is happening for the evening events? Are these formal parts of the interviews? A semi-formal social gathering that would look bad if you missed? Or just merely a few people taking you out to dinner the night before?

If it is the later you may be able to skip that on grounds that you couldn't arrange transportation, yadda yadda.
posted by mmascolino at 8:24 AM on October 24, 2008

In the past I've simply said "I'm not available that day" and not only have I been offered another date, I've also avoided a crap "group interview", instead getting a one-on-one interview.

So yeah, my suggestion is to ask City 2 if they are available at an earlier (or later) date - if they're not, too bad. Better to perform well at two interviews than poorly at three.
posted by Mike1024 at 9:50 AM on October 24, 2008

They're gaming you. Yes, it's a much tougher economy than in previous recruiting seasons, but there's no reason the people in City 2 can't be more accommodating.

Yes, there are plenty of MBA candidates who jack companies around, and that's probably why they're taking a hardline with you. That said, you've got a legit issue, and they're not showing any signs of really trying to work it out with you. I'd say "Thanks, but no thanks" (when I really mean "You guys aren't nearly as hot as you think you are.") - that way you can put your best foot forward in Cities 1 and 3.

Good luck.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 9:53 AM on October 24, 2008

Skip dinner Wednesday night and just go to the actual interviews on Thursday. Explain beforehand why you are not able to make dinner, call some of the people that you would normally have been networking with at dinner ahead of time to get your networking in. Wednesday night is just one of those 'first impression' deals, I bet. As long as you call them and they get to kknow you, the interview is the most important thing.
posted by echo0720 at 2:06 PM on October 24, 2008

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