When should you begin to worry?
Two articles ago, I dealt with the issue of sending out lots of resume and not hearing back. As I mentioned, if you send out a single resume and don’t hear back, that is nothing to be worried about.
Similarly, if you interview for a job or two and don’t get the offer, then I would not get worried.
This is particularly true when the there is an obvious reason why you didn’t get the offer. For example, I remember the time when I was fresh out of engineering school and interviewing with a testing facility. During the site tour and during the formal interview, it was so clear that I did not have the background they wanted. I also made the mistake of telling him I knew more about a topic than I really did. That failed spectacularly when I was unable to answer a follow up about that topic!
However, I think after the 4th occurrence of not getting the job offer and there is no obvious reason, then you really need to reflect and make some changes. Otherwise, you are just going to repeat this over and over.
What’s keeping them from making an offer and what can you do?
Ultimately, this is the question you need to be asking.
They called you in for the interview, which means your resume and background had to interest them to some degree. So why aren’t they taking the next step and making you an offer?
Here are several possibilities that can explain this situation and some advice on how to adjust accordingly:
- You interview poorly. If you went to see a play and some of the actors forgot their words, this would stand out in your mind even if the story was great. Similarly, if you do not present yourself well at the interview, this can easily overshadow your skills and accomplishments. Therefore, it is important to practice your interview skills so that you are more comfortable with the situation. Prepare some general answers and bullet points beforehand for commonly asked questions so that you can remember to include all of the important material.One other tip when interviewing . . . pause before talking. Take a moment to think about the answer before you simply open your mouth right away to talk.
- You go into the interview with a poor mindset. Go in proud and confident, not meek and scared! Remember, they have a need for an employee to help their business and something in your resume or profile let them know that you could be that person. They CHOSE YOU from the other applicants because they see potential in you and you should use this as a confidence booster.
- You lied/misrepresented something on your resume or background. You may trick someone into thinking you have the right background for a job in order to get the interview. However, if you are not a good fit for the job or you do not meet the requirements, then they are going to find out. If you feel that you meet most of the requirements, but are a bit short on one or two, be up front about this and don’t try to hide it. Very often, the requirements can be a bit pliable, but you never want to me caught representing yourself as having skills/knowledge that you do not.
- You don’t follow up. Recruiters and HR people get busy and they also can accidentally forget about an applicant. By sending a thank you note as well as checking in the following week (or two) you stay on their radar.I know of one story where the HR rep accidentally had the wrong email for a candidate and was trying to get in touch with him to offer the job. Unfortunately, this candidate waited 2 months to reach back out and by then they had offered the job to someone else who already started.
How the Corona pandemic comes into play
There is no doubt that the corona pandemic plays a role in the lack of offers. I see this as playing out in two ways.
The primary way is that many companies have frozen new hires as they wait for the uncertainty of the current economic situation to pass. So while they may have had the best intentions in mind when they interviewed you, they may simply not be able to make an offer at this point. If this is the case, you would hope that they would at least tell you this so that you understand why they are not making an offer.
If you find this to be the case, then I recommend you follow item #4 above and check-in every few weeks to see if anything changed. This will keep you on their radar for the position for which you interviewed and perhaps as a candidate for other positions that open up in the meantime.
The second way corona comes into play is with regard to the interview itself that may be performed over the phone or a video app like Zoom. Both of these methods make it harder to pick up those little non-verbal cues that can help you during a traditional interview. It is for these reasons, that many people do not present themselves as well under these situations. I recommend that you spend extra time preparing for the interview so that you can avoid these issues as best as possible. Especially with Zoom, practice in the days beforehand to make sure that you know how to properly work your equipment and that the lighting and audio is adequate.
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