Credit Card Case Study Interview Process

Application

I applied online. The process took a week. I interviewed at Essence (New York, NY) in May 2016.

Interview

Phone screen with member of the in-house recruiting team; in person interview w/3 members of the team I was hoping to join. I thought the in person interviews went well (and afterwards, when walking me out, the HR rep assured me that I would be informed of next steps either way), but as of right now, several weeks later, I have received no feedback or further communication from the agency. I have followed up with the HR rep requesting an update in my status (and noting that I understood if they did not want to move forward w/me)) but as of right now, all of my attempts at communication have been ignored.

Considering the time and effort that I put into interviewing with this company, I find it extremely unprofessional that they refuse to even send me an email (which would likely take 1-2 minutes) confirming that I'm no longer being considered. Overall, this started as a positive experience but, as with many other agency interviews where the HR reps go radio silent, ended up being very frustrating. Why agencies decide to ignore communication instead of being professional and informing their candidates about their status is beyond me. It is disrespectful and reflects badly on the entire company.

Interview Questions

  • The in-person interviewer asked me to "sell" the agency to them, which was obviously a way to check how much research on had done on the company.   1 Answer
Essence 2016-10-23 12:39 PDT

Application

I applied online. I interviewed at Essence in August 2017.

Interview

The interview process consisted of two steps for me:
1. INTERVIEW WITH RECRUITER (Phone)
The day after I submitted my online application, a freelance recruiter for Essence e-mailed me to arrange a phone screen. She was cordial, but unengaging -- it was obvious she was going through the motions to tick the boxes on her checklist.
The recruiter asked standard screening questions like why Essence, tell me about yourself, etc. There was nothing difficult or unexpected.
The odd part was that she tried to shoehorn me into a role different from the one I had applied for without telling me. She acknowledged this only after I pointed it out. While I don't mind considering other roles, recruiters should be up front with candidates about significant shifts like this. Despite this, our conversation concluded positively.
She contacted me the next day to say the hiring manager wanted to speak with me, and to arrange a one-hour Google Hangouts meeting with him. This process was quick and fairly smooth, although I did have to ask questions about certain interview details twice before getting answers.

2. INTERVIEW WITH HIRING MANAGER (Videoconference)
The following phrase best describes this interview: Strange and unpleasant .
The hiring manager was unengaged from the beginning, displaying his boredom by constantly leaning his head on his hand. He was a complete cold fish when it came to any social exchange, whether it be pleasantries, or asking/responding to questions

Although the recruiter had told me the interview would be behavioral and skills based, the hiring manager asked me no such questions. Instead he focused on fact checking background details that had nothing to do with my experience or how it applied to the position. This included asking about my current place of residence, and when I had left for/returned from working overseas. All of this information had already been clearly stated on my resume and to the recruiter, yet he seemed skeptical. If he had such doubts, why did he ask me for an interview in the first place?

About 15 minutes in, he aburptly said he needed to leave soon for a meeting with his CEO, who was in town for a visit. He acted like he had just remembered it. Although this was the first time I'd experienced an interviewer trying to duck out early, I could immediately tell this was an outright lie. No one forgets a meeting with their CEO, unless they're incredibly incompetent. And the CEO works out of the exact same office -- this info is on Essence's website and noted in several magazine articles.

I respect managers who have the maturity and integrity to professionally and honestly end an interview when they determine someone is not right for a role. Cowardly excuses demonstrate poor character, as well as poor leadership ability.

The interview dragged out another 10 minutes, which he allotted for my questions. At this point, I knew I absolutely could not work with this person, even if I were to receive an offer, but any interview practice is valuable, so I put on a fake smile and asked my questions. At the end of the interview, he said he appreciated my international experience, and wanted me to talk to other team members. I knew this was another lie, but thanked him for his time.

Post-interview I followed my usual etiquette of sending a thank you message to the hiring manager, and responding promptly to the recruiter when she asked how my interview went. Normally, I find it easy to send sincere, positive feedback, but I couldn't dredge anything up for this one, so I opted to give her a brief, factual recap of what was discussed without expressing much opinion.

I had already crossed Essence of my list and moved on to other opportunities when the recruiter sent me a rejection e-mail several days later.

Interview Questions

  • 1. Where do you live now? Where in that state?
    2. When did you return to the U.S. from overseas?
    3. Did you move overseas right after college?
    4. Why isn't your experience from before moving overseas listed?   1 Answer
Essence 2017-09-05 15:20 PDT

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