I see it so often with my clients. They've got talent, experience, and education, but they can't get a job. They get down on themselves, uncertain why after what felt like a stellar interview, they get a rejection notice, or worse yet, nothing at all. Most companies don't provide any feedback for you to learn from. You just try to fill in the gaps and figure it out on your own. There are many possible reasons for not getting the job, among them:
1. The job has been pulled.
2. They have an internal candidate.
3. You aren't the right fit they are looking for.
4. You interviewed poorly.
There isn't much you can do about the first two, but the final two are definitely areas you can improve upon. Let's look at each one.
You aren't the right fit for the job. There are a few things that could be happening right now and you need to look honestly at yourself, the company, and the position.
1. Are you getting a bit desperate and applying for jobs that you may be overqualified for? Companies are leery of this. They fear you're just trying to get your foot in the door, that they will invest in your training only to have you leave soon for a 'better' position.
2. Do your work values and style differ from that of the company? If you are a high energy, innovative person who needs a lot of autonomy, are you really going to fit in that buttoned-up organization with a strong top-down reporting culture? Take the time to list what's important to you and then target companies that complement those values.
3. Are you applying for jobs that you would like to have, but lack the necessary skills? It's nice to dream, but companies are looking to hire people who can hit the ground running and competition is stiff. While there are certainly skills they are willing to train you for, if you're looking for a business development job because it sounds fascinating, what experience, what wins, can you speak to that demonstrate your ability to get results? If you can't convince them you have the chops for the job (and experience is how you do that), you're fighting an uphill battle.
In the end, if you aren't the right fit for the position, either you'll feel it or the employer will, and you won't land that job.
Be honest with yourself and take a good hard look at your interviewing skills. Yes, we often leave an interview thinking we aced it and anticipate that offer before we've even arrived home. But, silence comes, followed by the "we've moved ahead with another candidate" letter. You're confused, frustrated and bewildered. How could it have felt so good to you and not so to them? In my experience, this is one of the most valuable services career coaches offer. A career coach can conduct a mock interview with you, asking you the kinds of questions you might expect in an interview. Following the interview, they sit with you, in a safe environment, and give you honest feedback on how things went from their perspective. Are your answers too long? Too short? Too vague? Do you have physical habits you're not aware of? Do you come across as confident? Overconfident? I've seen all of these and it's amazing how quickly we can turn around your interview experience with just one session of coaching.
So, be gentle but honest with yourself. Enlist the assistance of a family member, friend, colleague or professional career coach to help uncover anything you might be doing to sabotage your interview experience.
And finally, be patient. I've worked with hundreds of job seekers. They ALL land the job eventually. Maybe not on their time schedule, but they do. The right job is well worth the wait.
What tips do you have for job seekers?
Andrea's passion is to see you achieve your professional dreams. Whether you are a corporate leader seeking leadership development for your employees or an individual seeking guidance in building your career or preparing for retirement, she will coach you to success.