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While preparing for job interviews, I keep coming across the term "interview loop". The phrase "interview loop" seems to be used interchangeably with "interview".

  1. What is the meaning of "loop" here, then?
  2. And what is the etymology of this usage?

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  • As far as I can tell, the "interview loop" term was used by Microsoft and popularlized by Amazon, to describe a typical tech company interview with multiple people in sequence. But I found occasional usages back to 1968. An Amazon reference: businessinsider.com/… – Ken Shirriff Jul 9 at 5:52
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"Interview loop" refers to a process where you take a candidate, have them interviewed by various people and possibly also carry out testing, portfolio evaluation, etc, often over the course of a day or morning/afternoon, but maybe longer (multiple days). It's different from an interview in that it may involve multiple interviews/conversations with different people in the company (e.g. speaking to people from different departments), as well as possibly involving testing or other evaluation.

It can refer either to the interview process or specifically to the panel of people conducting the interviews. In the former sense, "loop" presumably means a part of a cycle, running through the full process for a candidate, a smaller part of an interview process which may involve multiple loops. In the latter sense, "loop" probably means something similar to "ring" or "circle" as referring to a group of people with nobody in overall authority; also compare the expression "in the loop", meaning part of the group who has knowledge and/or power to decide. It's a short leap semantically from a group of people to the process they are conducting, or vice versa.

There is a Stack Exchange for workplace topics, https://workplace.stackexchange.com/ if you want ask about what interview loops involve (rather than questions about meaning or etymology).

References

Note that more rarely, the phrase can also refer to a cycle where a candidate is forced to interview over and over again and never gets a clear answer. This often happens in dysfunctional companies, where either nobody has the authority to take on new staff, or they can't come to a decision on a hire, or some other reason. https://www.jeffersongroup.co.uk/blog/escape-interview-loop/

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The Interview Loop An interview is an opportunity for the candidate to expose to you their abilities. You only have an hour, the amount of information gained per minute is worth trying to optimize. Try keeping this model in your head during the interview: Think "What more do I need to know to make a decision?

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  • 3
    Okay, but what does the "loop" part mean? – nnnnnn Jan 13 at 6:45
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    @nnnnnn It’s management-speak. It doesn’t have to mean anything. :P – Lawrence Jan 13 at 9:16

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