If you’ve never felt any of the following during your job search, you are not human: frustrated, depressed, angry, confused, guilty, sad, victimized, stupid, humiliated, embarrassed, lacking confidence. In my three decades of hiring, mentoring and assisting job seekers, I have yet to meet someone who is thrilled and motivated by any aspect of a job search.
Searching for a job is hard. No, VERY hard. It triggers negative emotions, especially if you are unemployed. But the same holds true for those employed and searching within their own company or who need to make a move outside their company.
Think about it. You are selling yourself as a product to employers who are the “buyers.” They are the decision-makers, with multiple applicants to choose from. It is not clear exactly what the employer is looking for, if they are even looking at you, or why you are not chosen.
In school, the team captains picked the best players and nobody wanted to be the last person standing. Worse, in the job search world, only one gets picked and many others are not.
There is no transparency into what is going on during the hiring process, either. You don’t know if your application or résumé is being reviewed, went into a black hole, or got discarded. And you will never know.
Even if someone looks at your credentials, you will not know why you didn’t get the interview. Then, even if you had an interview, you won’t know why you didn’t get the job. There are multiple inexplicable reasons why you didn’t win a specific job, but here are some of the most probable:
- The job went to an internal candidate, someone already working for the company, or already within that department.
- They hired another external candidate who had stronger skills.
- They are still looking since they didn’t find anyone who met their criteria.
- They decided not to fill this job at this time. Or they changed the specification and reposted.
- Another candidate knew someone who knew someone who knew someone… through networking.
Many candidates try to connect back with the recruiter, HR Manager, Hiring Manager, or someone on the interview schedule to get “feedback.” This is a waste of your time. Why?
- It is not their job to give you direct feedback and they want you to leave feeling good about the process with them. They are going to be polite and say, “We found another candidate more qualified.” or “You did great; we just went in another direction.”
- If you met with numerous people, it could have been just one person who found something that was not a fit. Your odds of figuring out the real reason are slim to none.
- You may have been a “benchmark candidate,” one who is placed in the interview loop to validate that the top candidate is, in fact, the best. This is an acceptable practice, and you should not worry or ask.
- It’s your job to figure out why your interviews are not turning into offers. I recommend you find someone who will do a mock interview with you and give you direct feedback. There may be a mannerism that you have, or a general “lack of confidence” exuding through your answers. Great sources are your career placement centers and career coaches.
Bottom line: Study the latest interview skills, prepare your answers to the most common interview questions, and practice for that big day!
Send your comments, challenges and questions any time. I’m here to help!