When I first became a recruiter, I tried really hard to be a “friend” to the candidates and I worked diligently to help them along the way – so much so that it was to a fault. That help came in the way of “feedback”.
Well, to put it mildly, I had to stop doing that because it opened Pandora’s Box.
In the end, I learned two things: Either the candidates weren’t going to take my advice anyway; or on the opposite end of the spectrum, they inundated me with so many follow-up questions that I couldn’t do the number of placements that I needed to because, essentially, I was doing a lot of hand-holding.
So, in short, I was helping them to go land a job on their own without any commission or financial gain to speak of. As the saying goes: No good deed ever goes unpunished. It’s nice to be noble, but not at the expense of going bankrupt.
Of course I understand that candidates want to know why they didn’t score the job, so here are the top reasons that it doesn’t matter anyway…
It’s a Very Competitive Job Market
It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there in the job market. So much so that even getting an interview is an accomplishment in itself. Depending on the company and position, one job ad could reel-in hundreds of hopefuls – many of which will have a higher education and more experience (who will undoubtedly work for less money).
So, simply put, the odds are definitely stacked against you and not scoring the job doesn’t mean you’re any less valuable or employable.
The Feedback Will Be Filtered (Possibly Untruthful)
When I send candidates out for interviews and they don’t get passed to the second round, almost immediately I get phone calls asking why they didn’t “make it.” It’s especially disappointing if the interview was for their dream job.
The long and short of it is that sometimes employers tell me why they chose certain applicants, and sometimes not. Even if they do engage in a dialogue with me about the interview, they are rarely going to give it to me straight and unfiltered. Here is a short list of what they could have thought but wouldn’t tell me anyway:
- Too casually dressed
- Arrogant behavior
- A lack of confidence
- Too desperate
- Bad at interviewing
- Underprepared: no “homework” done
- Long-term goals are too lofty
- No long-terms goals to speak of
Or, maybe, they didn’t like the candidate’s haircut. Actually, it doesn’t really matter because if they didn’t think the interview went well, it’s best for everyone to just move on because there is no use beating a dead horse.
You May Not Fit Into Their Company’s Culture
A candidate may be a “perfect fit” on paper, but they just don’t fit into the culture of the company.
The fact is that employers today are a lot more discerning when it comes to hiring, and a major consideration for many companies is whether or not the applicant will disrupt the harmony of the team they will be working on.
I remember going out on interviews in the 1980s and 90s and, basically, they were “personality” interviews. If the HR person liked you, they gave you a handshake right there in the office and said “welcome aboard.” Well, needless to say, those days are long gone.
Employers are now a lot more methodical and scientific about the hiring process, and it’s not just because of internal policies or even legal reasons (although those considerations do exist); mainly, companies have learned a lot of hard lessons about how one rotten apple can spoil the bunch – it’s truer today than ever before.
The Takeaway: Focus on What You Can Control
If you’re discouraged because you aren’t getting the job offers you would like, then focus on what you CAN control. You are never going to convince a hiring manager to stop making bad judgements because it’s human nature; and if they make a decision to not hire you, then perhaps it’s not the right company for you anyway.
What you can control: preparation, preparation, preparation.
- Do lots of research on the company
- Scour the internet for profiles of current and past employees
- Read reviews about the company’s interview process
- Research the hiring methodologies and then strategize
- See if the hiring manager has a blog so that you can gain some insight
In closing, you would be shocked to learn how underdogs can outperform more experienced candidates in the interview and score the job. That comes down to being humble and wanting it more than anyone else. I see it happen regularly.