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 Ask Yourself Why You Are Not Getting Hired

By Joe Stein

For any Job Seeker who has been on the employment market for a while, it is inevitable to start wondering about and questioning every step in the process.  A person will start examining every aspect of his or her job search in the quest to find the answer to why a job offer has not been coming.

What I have found most often in Job Seekers, is that they will examine every possible external factor while ignoring what, I believe, is by far the most important area.  While I acknowledge you may have external factors (such as the economy, or a “clueless” Hiring Manager) that hinder your results, it is more likely that the reason resides within the candidate.

You may be wondering what are some of the questions you should be asking yourself.  Let’s take a look at just some of the main ones to ask.

• Are You Working Hard Enough?  - The search for new employment for an active Job Seeker should be hard work.  If you are currently unemployed, your new full-time job is finding a new position.  I do not recommend taking time off (at any time) during your Job Search, or delaying the start of your search as any momentum break can be difficult to recover from.  You don’t want any of your competition outworking you for a new job.

• Do You Know What You Are Qualified For? – The old school of thought was to apply for everything and anything, as a job search is a game of numbers.  The chances of you being selected for a position that you are not (at least) generally qualified for is pretty remote.  What chasing these positions can do for you is expend some of your precious job search time, while also serving to demotivate you when you are not selected for the position.

• Have You Fully Prepared?  - A generic approach to pursuing an open position will result in you competing with every other candidate.  Instead, your Cover Letter should be written specifically for the position you are seeking.  Your Resume should be reviewed for any customization that may be needed.  Practice for your interview by preparing your responses to any frequently asked questions and any other inquiry you expect to receive.

• Can You Get an Inside Edge? - It is so much easier to be hired if you have an inside track on the position, so work your network to see if you can obtain a referral for the position.  Examine your network to determine if you have anyone connected to the Hiring Manager who can provide a recommendation.  Even better is if you know someone from within the organization.  The connection you have can even be as simple as someone you are linked with using a business social media tool.

• Are Your Selling Yourself? – Every contact you make with the prospective employer should be considered an opportunity to sell yourself to the Recruiter or Hiring Manager.  In today’s world, selling yourself is a function of showing (to the other party) that you are the solution to their needs.  It is all about what value you can add to the organization to assist them.  So, read the job posting closely and listen intently for clues regarding what the employer is truly seeking and in need of.  You can then customize your approach and answers so that you don’t come across as just another candidate, but rather the person that they need.

• Do You Have the Right Positive Attitude? – Being told that you have not been hired (or even worse, not being told and just assuming that is what happened) can really weigh a Job Seeker down.  It is easy to start getting down on yourself and this can really have a negative impact on your interviewing quality.  A Hiring Manger can easily pick up when you lack confidence, or if you are generally not at your best.  It is imperative that you stay positive and truly believe that you will be hired for the position you are seeking.  You can help yourself (in this regard) by focusing on positions you are qualified for and fully preparing yourself. 

The most successful people tend to focus on what they can control, rather than external factors.  Unfortunately, most Job Seekers seem to do the opposite most of the time.  If you find yourself in the position of not being selected for the jobs you are seeking, then start asking yourself some critical questions like those noted above.  By conducting this self-introspection, you may just find the answer to why you are not getting hired by prospective employers.

As always, best of luck in your job search.