This was a question a potential job search coaching candidate asked me. Although frustrating, at the same time it is a very good problem to have. At least she was getting interviews.
In today’s world just getting up to bat can be difficult, but striking out is frustrating. So what do you do if this is happening to you? Over 30 years of working with candidates and over 10,000 interviews, it is my experience that when this happens the candidate is generally making some fatal mistakes in the interviewing process. They don’t need a major overhaul. They are either doing something small, that is easy to fix, or in most cases NOT doing something that eliminates them.
After all, the hiring manager has seen their resume, often interviewed them and asked them back, and they may have even come in second place a couple of times. So rarely, if this happens a lot, is it always experiences, skills or abilities. Those have already been taken into account. Also, as everyone knows that has done extensive hiring, the most qualified person doesn’t always get the job. Often, and unfortunately, it is the best interviewer that gets the job. A fact candidates have a very hard time accepting.
Many candidates have this happening to them and never really understand, “why?” The sad part is the candidate ends up spending a lot more time in job search mode than necessary. Often months and that is expensive. To help, our job search workbook, “This is NOT the Position I Accepted” deals extensively with this exact issue.
The first step in dealing with this issue is knowing the answer to this critical (yes critical) question, because if you don’t know the answer chances are very good you will never know what’s wrong, so you can’t fix it. What are the most important three words in a job search and interview? Hint, they are the same words for both a job search and interview.
If you guessed preparation, good guess, but wrong. Preparation is the outcome of these three words.
Presentation is key, and the answer. Candidates are judged so much on the their presentation that it is often a bigger factor in getting a job than qualifications. For example, I heard on a news channel that Whole Foods will not hire anyone that shows up to an interview wearing a suit. I don’t know if this is true or not, (just because it was on the news doesn’t make it true) but that is presentation. Show up in a suit, and before you even leave the lobby, before you introduce yourself, in less than 1 second the hiring manager has already decided you won’t fit in their company’s culture. They assume you didn’t research the company or you would know this.
If this is happening to you, I have found from coaching candidates that it is time to take a hard look at their presentation. This is very hard to do. It means I have to be tough, possibly risk hurting feelings, get critical, tell people they come across too casual and therefore possibly signaling a lack of energy, and for older candidates this is often interpreted as burned out or just waiting to retire.
None of these may be true. It doesn’t matter if it is true or not. It is reality. A dose of reality is often exactly what many candidates encountering this issue need.
Another issue is confidence. Too often when candidates become desperate and really need a job they are too afraid to engage the interviewer. This lack of confidence comes across as weakness. This is the kiss of death especially if you are interviewing for a manager.
You should always interview the same way you would if you had a great job and didn’t need this job. That confidence will come out. Most companies want to hire people that are leaders, and confidence is an essential element of leadership.
Join our Linkedin Job Search Networking Group along with the other 3300+ members. The discussions and articles will do nothing but make your time looking for a job shorter. CLICK HERE to join.
If you are getting interviews but no offers, you should consider reading our job search workbook, This Is NOT The Position I Accepted. It was written to get you through the interview with confidence. We will send it to you to review for just$5. CLICK HERE to get your copy.
I welcome and encourage your thoughts and comments.