Most people in a job search will have at least one experience where everything looks promising, and then they don’t get the job. That can certainly be discouraging, but what you do in the process and how you look at the situation can have a huge impact on what happens in your job search going forward.
Here are a few points to consider:
~ It’s probably not personal. It’s a very competitive job market and, like yourself, there are many good candidates. It’s likely you weren’t misreading the ‘buying’ signs through your interview process. However, there just was another candidate that had some additional edge that tipped the scales in their favor. Coming in 2nd place doesn’t do much to pay the mortgage, but you can take solace in the fact that you did get to 2nd place out of probably dozens of applicants.
If you allow it to eat away at you for days or weeks you will do more damage to your continuing job search than if you let it go. A positive attitude is one of the most important assets and most difficult things to maintain in your job search. Don’t allow a disappointment to make your situation even worse.
~ Was it really the right job for you? Certainly if you’re unemployed and your finances are pressing, it’s easy to rationalize why a particular job would be a great fit for you. When you don’t get it, it may feel like a major disappointment because you felt it was a great opportunity. Often, however, people that do get that ‘Dream Job’ soon find that the dream is really a nightmare.
Create a list of criteria that you are seeking in a new job before you are looking at a particular prospect. Decide while you can still be objective, what’s important to you. Things like culture, work schedule, salary, benefits, team size, job responsibilities, and company expectations. As you go through the interview process be sure you are comparing your criteria against the opportunity. No job will be a perfect match, but as you progress you may find that you really haven’t lost much if you don’t get the offer. It may not have been a good idea to accept the offer even if you got one.
~ Manage your emotions! A job search can be an emotional rollercoaster. Particularly for someone that may not have had a lot of prospects in their search, it’s easy to become too excited too soon in the process. I have often seen someone act as if they’ve ‘arrived’ at their new job as soon as they saw an ad that looked good to them. Seeing a ‘good’ (close fit) job posting is a good first step, however, it’s a LONG way from getting the job. There may be dozens of equally qualified candidates as you applying, or it may have been posted a month ago and they already have a final candidate. Getting overly excited by a good first interview is also setting yourself up for a let down. A first, and maybe even a second or third interview still is a long way from having an offer in hand. You never know who has the most influence in making the hiring decision and one mediocre interview out of four great ones can still result in a rejection.
On the flip side, losing an opportunity is not the end of the world either. There are always other companies and other jobs.
Managing your emotions and your attitude is key to a successful job search. Don’t allow yourself to get too excited prematurely, and don’t allow yourself to get too low at disappointments.
and the #1 rule to remember:
~ Never quit filling your pipeline! Not getting a job you expected is tough enough. Not getting the job and having no other prospects you’re pursuing is even tougher. Too often, job seekers get excited about a particular job prospect and stop pursuing other leads or stop doing all the other necessary activities for their search. Never assume you have a new job wrapped up until you have an offer in hand.
Particularly in the current job market, it’s very common for an expected offer to fall through. Even if the offer does come through however, having other opportunities in process has great benefits, including: it may give you more leverage in negotiating, and you can make better decisions knowing this isn’t your only hope of employment. At a minimum, having more activity and prospects ‘in the hopper’ makes each individual prospect less monumental.
Not getting a job can be tough. However, if you are prepared in your state of mind, and with continued activity it can become a speed bump in your job search rather than a brick wall!
Thank you for visiting The Wise Job Search. I truly appreciate your interest. If you like the material here and would like to help keep it viable, please peruse and visit book recommendations, and other resources posted throughout the site. Best wishes on your continued search, and feedback is always welcome!