By Joe Stein
For some, it may be the “luck of the draw”, or a failure to acknowledge holes in a persons’ job search. For others, however, it is not merely a way to rationalize a failure to land a coveted job, but rather the actual reason for rejection. One of the most common reasons for a job seeker to send me an e-mail is to provide me a scenario and question why they were not hired. Inevitably, the job seeker feels that they should have been the person hired.
The subject for today is that sometimes the reason a person does not receive a desired position really has little or nothing to specifically do with them. Knowing what are some of the reasons out of your control and how to recognize them can assist you in bouncing back from your setback and allow you to say motivated in your job search.
A key way for you to find out the reason why you received a regret letter or call, is to ask. It can sometimes be difficult to ascertain the actual reason, because often Recruiters will either move on and not speak directly to those they regret, or will provide a very generic reason. A Recruiter may do this because they do not want to engage in a conversation, which may lead to some type of confrontation. If the reason for the regret was beyond your control, a Recruiter may be more likely to share. This is assuming they are being truthful as they will sometimes hide behind the “wasn’t you” to avoid telling you the real reason.
Let’s review some of the reasons beyond your control that may cause you to be regretted:
· More Qualified Candidate – The reality is simply that sometimes there is a person who is more qualified than you. In particular, with today’s economy being so challenging, there are people on the market that would normally be very gainfully employed due to their skill-set and strong work ethic. If you have a delay between your last interview and receiving your regret, it may be because the prospective employer was having a tough time deciding, or that you were the back-up plan if the 1st choice did not work out.
· He/She Had That Something – Sometimes a Hiring Manager is looking for a certain “something”. They may not even be able to formally articulate what that something is that tips the scale for a certain candidate. Typically it is something tangible, such as a certain software program, or previous experience in a particular industry. During your interview(s), try to surface what are some of the “nice to have’s” that the Hiring Manager has in mind. You may find that you possess one or more, and can use that information during the interview.
· Went Internal – When an internal candidate is in the mix, usually the external applicants are at a disadvantage. If you think about it rationally, just about everyone understands a company giving preference to those currently working for them. It is understandable, however, the frustration felt by an external job seeker when an internal emerges late in the process. This decision is usually because either an internal person changed their mind about their interest, or the externals are not exciting them.
· Looking to Benchmark – In this situation, the prospective employer is not committed to hiring externally, but rather wants to see what is out there. There are numerous reasons for this, whether it is dissatisfaction with their incumbent, a desire to validate their internal candidate, or simply to see periodically what is on the market. This type of interviewing usually is a result of a simple net posting, or networking (i.e., low employer financial investment). If you never meet the Hiring Manager, or if the timetables and plans are very generic, then you may be in this situation.
· Finances Change – In today’s volatile economy, the finances of an organization may cause directional change of the search process. Whether it is a delay in filling the position (or even posting it) to ultimately not hiring someone, finances plays a key role in any decision that is made. Sometimes, a person is simply hired because they better fit the current budget of the company.
· Level/Scope Change – During the course of a job search, a prospective employer may take the opportunity of an open position to review the position for both the level (i.e., pay and title) and the scope (i.e., responsibility). This may create a sudden change in direction which could cause you to be pursued and then suddenly dropped. You may want to follow the postings of this prospective employer to see if the tweaked position is posted.
While it is important to note that not every regret reason is within your control, it is important not to generate a false sense of security from this information. A savvy Job Seeker continues to probe for regret reasons and continues to seek ways to improve their candidacy.
As always, best of luck in your job search.