Seven Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job (even though you were the best applicant)

7-reasons
Seven Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job (even though you were the best applicant)

By Jesse Campbell

Editor’s Note: I have had it happen to me, in my own career, and it has happened to more than a few of the 2,400 clients I have counseled as their career advisor. — You are a perfect fit for the job. You meet all of the specifications in the Help Wanted posting. It sounds like they based the job description on your own resume! You apply for the job and never hear back. Worse, you interview, think you knocked ‘em dead, and never hear back or get a “sorry, but no” email.  Wonder what went wrong? Jesse Campbell, writing for financial organization MMI, has some explanations that you will find helpful. Here are Campbell’s thoughts. — B. Blackwell 

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If you’ve spent any amount of time in the workforce, chances are good you’ve experienced your fair share of rejection. Sometimes you take a shot in the dark at a job you’re not really qualified for and never hear anything back. “That’s fine,” you think to yourself. “I wasn’t really qualified for that job anyway.”

Sometimes, however, you are qualified for the job. Very qualified. You even come in for an interview that goes well, then later come back for another interview that goes well. Everything seems lined up for success, but then…well, nothing.

No matter how qualified you are, there are still a few reasons why you might not end up with the job – some you can control, some you can’t.

  1. The job disappeared.

When a job is posted, there are quite a few things going on behind the curtain that you simply won’t be privy to. And sometimes a posted job will suddenly vanish. Why? Maybe the position hadn’t officially been approved at the time HR began their search. Everyone assumed it would be approved, but then something changed and it wasn’t. Additionally, there’s the possibility that something significant changed during the search and now the position no longer makes business sense.

There’s also the possibility that the job was never really there in the first place. Sometimes a company has an internal candidate all lined up, but is required to go through the formal application process all the same.

  1. The job evolved during the search process

You have everything the employer is asking for. Seems like a match made in heaven, but sometimes the employer realizes during the course of the search that they actually need something else. Maybe someone came in with some skills or experiences they didn’t know they needed, or maybe another employee left recently and they’re trying to combine positions. Whatever the reason, your perfect skill set is no longer quite so perfect for the job.

  1. You came in a bit too early

A good job is going to receive many very good applicants. So many, in fact, that they may end up bleeding together a bit as the process wears on. That means the first applicant through the door has to be so outstanding that no one else can compare, or else risk fading from memory over time. If given the option, you may want to take one of the later interview slots.

  1. You didn’t do your research

Remember – it’s not about how great you are as an individual, it’s about how that greatness will translate for your new employer. That means you need understanding who you’re talking to and make sure you sell yourself in a way that will actually resonate.

  1. Someone else had an inside advantage

Another thing you won’t know about while navigating the application process – internal politics. No matter how qualified you are, and no matter how well you nail the interview, who you know still matters. And if someone else knows someone important within the company, you may be out of luck.

  1. You gave them a reason to disqualify you

When hiring managers are faced with stacks and stacks of qualified applicants, they start looking for a reason – any reason – to disqualify applicants. Complain too much about your former employer during the interview? You’re out. Post questionable things on social media? You’re out. Ask for special considerations right out of the gate? You’re out. It could even be something seemingly minor, like wearing too much perfume or cologne. The point is, do your best to not give anyone a reason to say no.

  1. Someone with similar qualifications is willing to do the same work for less

Finally, the fastest way to lose out a job is to price yourself out of the running. That doesn’t mean you have to take less than you’re worth, but it’s a good idea to try to delay the negotiations until after you’ve been offered the position.

 

Your “Un-natural” Network Connections can be the Best!

Looking for a Job? Did you Tell your Mechanic or Hairdresser?

Your “Un-natural” Network Connections can be the Best!

You’re at a networking event talking with someone, and you’re wondering to yourself — is this the best person for me to be talking to? Should I cut this short and seek out someone who might be a more useful contact or have better connections?

So writes Dave Opton, President of Execunet in a recent newsletter.

Opton goes on to talk about a fellow, John, who was on the job market. John was doing a lot of heavy networking and contacting everyone he thought could help him, but he wasn’t getting anywhere. One day, while getting his car fixed, he told the auto mechanic about his situation. When the mechanic offered to introduce him to some of his connections, John gave him a skeptical look. The mechanic countered by pointing to the Porsches, Mercedes and BMWs sitting at his shop. “Who do you think owns these cars? I know every one of them!” Lesson learned!

I call these “un-natural” connections – getting career help from people you would never expect could be of any value to you in your job search. We have countless stories about how our Career Strategies Group clients received invaluable aid from the most unlikely of sources.

One of my favorite stories concerns Joan, an all-American lawyer who had taken Japanese language lessons in high school and college. Her dream was to work for a Japanese-based company. She mentioned this one day to her hairdresser, who happened to be of Japanese extraction. Lo’ and behold, her hairdresser’s Dad was a senior executive with the New York office of a major Japanese bank. Joan is now on the legal team there!

Then there was Perry, a law firm lawyer who was seeking a legal position in the broadcast or cable TV industries. One weekend he went to a party at a friend’s house. There he met one of his other friend’s new girlfriends, who happened to be a secretary at a dentist’s office. He was small talking about his interest in TV, and she said she had a friend who was a legal secretary at a major cable TV company. One thing lead to another and Perry was able to start his career in the entertainment industry – because his friend’s new girlfriend’s friend.

Another favorite Career Strategies story is about Maria, who wanted to get into public relations in the fashion industry. One day on the way to court, she pulled into a gas station. Not being the type of woman who pumped her own gas, she asked the attendant, a young college student, for assistance. She mentioned how much she hated going to court each day, and how much she dreamed about doing fashion industry PR. The gas station attendant said his older sister was Vice President of Marketing for a major fashion designer. Maria is today writing press releases and supervising photo shoots for that fashion house.

The moral of the story is you can get the most valuable career help from the people you least expect to get it from. Just tell them your story. As Execunet’s Dave Opton concludes, someone’s title will tell you what they do, but not who they know. So, the next time you’re at a networking event, at the grocery store check out, or at the gas station, talk to the people there and mention what you are looking for — because you never know.

Good hunting!

10 things to REALLY IRK a recruiter PART 2

As a career counselor for the last 22 years, I use my experience to help executives and attorneys find alternative careers or conduct their job searches more efficiently. This is oftentimes high end consulting dealing with complex career issues and job search strategies for those in mid-career or aged 50+.

 

Sometimes, though, my job is to stop people from shooting themselves in the foot and sabotaging their job search campaigns.

 

I am primarily a career transition advisor, but on rare occasion I function as a recruiter. I am told by experienced recruiters that finding candidates is easy, but finding GOOD candidates is hard. Now I understand why. Here is Part Two of our story on 10 Really Stupid Things job seekers do to peeve the people who can help them get work.

6. Ask us to call you at 8 p.m. —

Recruiters don’t have lives. We work 24/7 for the love of it. We understand that one cannot always talk at the office. But instead of offering to call us back during your lunch hour or on your way back from a meeting or court appearance later in the day, endear yourself to us by telling us to stay at our office so we can call you at night. That way you are sure to become one of our recommended candidates and we will be most eager to help you in your job search.

 

7. Ask us to call you back later –

We call you and get you at a bad time. You can’t talk. You can make it easier on us by saying you will be available after 3 or whenever and will call us back then – or you can make it harder for us by asking us to call you some other time. Well, let’s see. I have a stack of 146 resumes from job seekers  I need to call TODAY. (Yes, recruiters can be expected to dial 100 or more candidates PER DAY.) Of course, I am going to put your resume ahead of all the others I need to call. You are special!

 

8. Keep pestering us about your status –

We like your background. You were one of a handful of candidates we sent to the hiring partner to evaluate. Probably others recruiters are sending candidates, too. We want you to win the job so we can get paid. When we hear from the hiring authority about your candidacy – yes, no or maybe – we will tell you. It does not bother us at all if we have to reply to frequent emails or phone calls from you inquiring about your status, when we have nothing to report. Heck, no.

 

9. Apply for jobs in states where you don’t live and aren’t admitted

We love to use our imagination and try to ascertain why you reside in MO but are applying for a job in NY where you are not admitted, have never practiced law and have never even lived in – especially when the posting says you must have deep familiarity with NY courts. Of course our client will be more than happy to relocate you to our state, indoctrinate you in NY civil procedure, and have a 2nd year drive you around the 5 boroughs, show you the courts, and introduce you to the courtroom staff. There’s no one already in our State just like you!

 

10. Don’t get back to us after we have tried to reach you –

We have spent hours, days even, researching candidates and matching credentials with the job specs. On paper, you are a good candidate, which is why we are calling you and sending you emails to find out if you’d be interested in talking about the position. Play hard to get and holier than thou by not letting us know about your interest one way or the other, so we can spend more time chasing you. It makes us really want to help you!

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If you are looking for a new job, or an alternative career, do yourself a favor and make it easy for hiring managers to find you and speak with you. Just avoid making these 10 silly errors and you can start moving your career forward.

 

10 things to REALLY IRK a recruiter

Confessions of a legal head hunter

If you want to sabotage your career and miss out on good jobs because of ego, stupidity or sloth, then pay attention! I am going to give you some career-breaker tips – straight from the real world.

I am a career counselor for lawyers. People pay me for my advice and my 22+ years experience in helping clients find new positions. But sometimes I function as a recruiter, and am paid by the hiring company to find lawyers for job openings. I am on a recruiting assignment right now – I have jobs to fill, for free to the taker!

But now I understand why other recruiters tell me that finding good candidates is a struggle. Some job seekers act like they don’t want to find jobs.

In this two-part series, we are going to look at 10 Really Stupid Things job seekers do that frustrate the bejeepers out of recruiters.

Here are five of the dumb things I have seen job-seeking attorneys do in just the last few weeks of doing this search.

1. Don’t put your name on both pages of your resume –
Make it hard for recruiters to get your whole story by leaving your name and contact information off your resume’s second page. We may get hundreds of resumes within a few hours posting a job opening. We print them out in batches. The pages get mixed up. If we find a loose page 2 with education and admissions on it, but we can’t immediately match it to the page 1, guess what happens to the resume? Nothing. It is put in the garbage.

2. Make sure to leave your old cell phone number on your resume —
You apply to our job posting by sending in your resume. We like your background. We call you. We get a message that, “the number you have called is no longer in service.” People change cell phone carriers the way they change underwear. If you don’t want us to call you, leave your old cell number on your new resume. The same goes for your email address; if you were Syracuse Law ’06, you are probably not @syracuse.edu anymore, but no need to keep your resume updated.

3. Ask us to go to your LinkedIn page to get your contact info and resume —
Instead of making it easier for the recruiter to call you about a job opportunity by giving us your phone number, make it hard for us. Tell us to go to your LinkedIn page to get your information, because we have nothing better to do than to spend our time trying to find you so we can offer you jobs and money.

4. Deny that you sent in your resume –
This one happened to me today. We received a resume in email account that we reserve for replies to posted positions. We liked what we saw. The candidate didn’t remember sending the resume to us. That’s OK, because in an active job search, you can send out lots of resumes. But this candidate not only said he didn’t remember sending it, he categorically denied that he sent it. Well then, have a nice day. Click.

5. Don’t put your email address and phone on your resume –
I couldn’t make this one up. We received a resume with NO contact information. No email. No phone. No city. No state. No joke. If you really don’t want the posted job, then send in a resume that makes it impossible for us to find you!

End of Part One. NEXT TIME: 5 More Really Dumb Things you can do to sabotage your job search.