The process of looking for a new job is stressful. If you already have one, you’re a bit like a secret agent, sneaking around town trying to complete the mission of getting someone new to agree to sign your paychecks, without the old boss finding out. If you don’t have a job, it’s even more stressful, as you wait around and watch your bank accounts dwindle, with nothing to replenish it.

I knew by March of this year that I was ready to move on from my now previous employer. I’ve never really had a difficult time finding a job when I decided to commit to the process. I don’t think this time was any different in that respect, but it was interesting. I was fortunate and excited to accept the position that I had the most interest in of all those I looked at during the entire process.

My process was around the same time that my friend @davemhenry was in the midst of his #HireDaveNow campaign on Twitter. It was fun to watch Dave advertise himself, while I was lurking in the shadows, although I’m sure it was super stressful for him at the time. It would have been refreshing to be able to shout “I’m available” to the world.

Someone eventually hired Dave.

I have never used a third-party recruiter in any of my job quests. I’ve always been a direct applicant, and it was no different this time. I’m sure people have had success with external recruiters, but I’ve never tried. I’ve shared my thoughts before, on that process.

It just seems like even direct recruiters could do better to make the process suck less for the people on the other end. If the application, interview and waiting process is completely crushing all your enthusiasm, what does that say about your future if you’re offered a job there?

Direct recruiters, I like to think, are salespeople. They’re looking for qualified applicants sure, but they’re also selling you on the company itself, and they’re the first line in representing the culture of the company. In a twist, as the candidate, you’re a salesperson too. In every moment of the interview process, you’re supposed to be putting your best foot forward to try and make the sale, of yourself. It seems like the recruiters should be doing the same thing on the other end.

I’m happy that I’ve found one that did.

I was pretty surprised that a recent comment about the efficient hiring process of my new employer on LinkedIn, seemed to be popular, garnering 7,600 views over the last week. It gave me the idea to discuss a little bit of my process for my most recent job search.

From the application on April 27 to the accepted offer on May 19, there wasn’t more than a few business days that went by without some contact with employees of the company.

The application process itself consisted of a phone screen with the recruiter, three phone interviews, and an on-site interview. Each one lasted between 30 minutes to an hour. Honestly, it seems like a reasonable amount. A few years back I interviewed for a position that involved a total of seven interviews, three phone interviews but then I was flown out to their offices to do four of which were back-to-back-to-back-to-back.

At least they took me out to lunch for the last one.

Since the offer was accepted, I’ve continued to be impressed by the manager and recruiter keeping in contact with me. For instance, I closed out of my work with my previous employer on June 2 at 11:30 am. After lunch that day, I got a call from the recruiter that all of my background check processing completed and before 2 pm, I had an employee ID and access to the HR system to begin filing as much of my new job paperwork online before I started.

I didn’t even get an afternoon of “true” unemployment.

Even this weekend, I got a personal email from the recruiter letting me know how excited they were for me to be starting on Monday. To say that I was impressed by the efficiency and professionalism through this entire process is an understatement.

During my search, I had other companies that I was talking to about various positions, which is atypical for me. It sounds strange, but my last three jobs were mostly I knew I wanted to work for Company X, and so I figured out how to make it happen. In fact, with one of my past employers, I purchased my house less than a mile from to their headquarters with the intent of going to work for them eventually.

I did, 8 months later.

This time around, after expanding my community involvement over the last six years, I put out feelers to see what was out there. I blasted my resume out to some places I had no connection with, sure, but for the most part, I tried to focus on where I could leverage my professional network to some degree. However, none of them got as far into the process as the company that I accepted a position with, even though they all had a much more extended period to try.

The shortest process (aside from those who never get back to me at all) was a vendor I applied to for a professional services role. Their recruiter emailed me on a Sunday morning asking me to call them as soon as possible! It was Mother’s Day, and I knew I’d be traveling the next day, so I quickly emailed to let them know my plan to call them in the morning. After leaving a couple of voicemails across the next two days, I was finally called back, and they immediately asked what my salary requirement was.

When I told them the number, she cut me off to say that was way too, and that was the end of the call. I swear the entire event lasted less than a minute. I was driving home, but I couldn’t stop laughing after I hung up. It didn’t upset me, in a way I respected her for just getting to the point. Nobody wasted any time.

Still, maybe tell me I’m pretty before you dump me.

Another vendor, I applied for a sales position with back in March. I had multiple internal referrals. I don’t have a background in sales, but I know the technical subject matter inside and out from a post-sales role and want to see at least if I could talk about making the jump. I had the contact information for the hiring manager and left a voicemail one afternoon as an introduction, but I didn’t hear a peep from anyone for a long time.

Finally after two months, during the last week of interviews with my new employer, the recruiter reached out to let me know I was under consideration, but one of two candidates. Then despite the excitement in that call, I didn’t hear anything else from them again until after I had another offer. At that point, I was told I was no longer under consideration despite never having spoken to anyone else.

For a brief time, I considered the possibility of relocating. One VAR that I applied to, I had an internal referral for and the day after filling out the application got an email from the recruiting manager to let me know they were interested. He asked when I was available for a call, so I replied with possible times over the next few days. I then didn’t hear anything back for a week. I politely replied again with some refreshed dates and got an apology for missing the previous email. We agreed that I’d get a phone interview that next afternoon, but my phone never rang. I reached out to my internal contact to see what was going on, and then the next week got another email with a time scheduled for a call, and we had a friendly chat.

Then I was told a recruiting coordinator would be setting up another interview with one of the hiring managers. Except that scheduling process was me getting notification of when they’d call me. No asking if it worked, just a date and time predefined. In all my interviews I’d never had it happen that way, and my initial reaction was that it was very off-putting. In this case, the date and time was about the worst option it could be, so I asked to have it rescheduled.

The next assigned date (again not even bothering to ask me for suggestions) worked for me but then 15 minutes before the call I received an email notifying me the manager was stuck traveling. Understandable, given the nature of what we do. But the call was rescheduled again, and then again. Each time they were never asking me when I was available. Finally, the call comes, and I’ll be damned if it’s one of my poorest interviews in recent memory.

Information that I could have told you about in my sleep, that I’ve talked about in every interview I’ve probably done in the last few years, or that I’ve talked to customers about daily, I choked on. Based on my experiences in the process at that point, I didn’t even want the job and wasn’t interested in relocating. The whole thing felt like it was my body’s involuntary way of just making sure I didn’t stand a chance.

Despite being an uncomfortable mess, they told me that I’d proceed to another interview but … here’s the kicker … they didn’t need to fill the position at this time. I’m just on a list, I guess. Someone else told me that they went through multiple interviews with the same company to be told the same thing at the end.

At this time, the position is still listed on their website.