They’re Just Not That Into You

This morning, I was reading Forbes’ Daily Muse post, “No Means No? What to Do When You Don’t Get the Job”. The article offers great tips about how to turn a disappointing situation around, when you don’t get the job. While the suggested Reflection, Follow Up, Ask for Feedback and Keep in Touch are important, the reality is you may never know the real reason why you were overlooked for that job.

When I was a Recruiter, I often felt like a casting director. The only difference was that due to the laws of the land, I couldn’t be as explicit as I would like to be, about why a candidate didn’t make the short-list, or wasn’t offered the job.

While I tried to give applicants useful feedback, which was necessarily vague, it wasn’t always about competencies. Despite the job candidate ticking most, if not all of the boxes, the reason was more of je ne sais quoi, that:

“indescribable or indefinable ‘something’ that distinguishes the object in question from others that are superficially similar”.

The X factor. Chemistry. These days, it’s  also referred to as ‘Cultural Fit’. In Millennial parlance, “They’re just not that into You”.

Last week, I was talking to a recruiter friend, who’s worked successfully at an executive level, both in Australia and internationally, for almost 20 years. He’s always busy, regardless of the economic climate. Following on from my recent post How Recruiters Use LinkedIn, I was picking his brain.

Our conversation drifted to the interview of a candidate I’d recently referred to him. I remarked how I feared that she hadn’t made the short list, because the interview had lasted just 20 minutes. On the contrary. In my recruiter mate’s book, by the time an applicant has got to an interview, he knows they already meet the competencies required to do the job. The interview becomes a test of fit.

So, if you miss out on making that short-list, or aren’t offered the job, take heart. The reason is out of your control. It was probably all about them, not you. The decision was as much about what you offered them, as it was about the existing team, the organisational politics, or plain comfort factor.

You’re just not the piece of the puzzle they need right now.

By all means, follow all the advice offered in the article above. But do not dwell too much on the episode. Shake yourself off, hold your head high, learn from the experience, and apply this to your ongoing job search.

Finally, maintain your professionalism and dignity, keep that door open, and move on.


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