When you’re riding a horse, there’s an important lesson about where you focus your energy. You need to keep your head up, and focused on where you want to go. If you look down, you may get stuck and ultimately, you may not make it to your intended destination. The same is true when looking for a job.
The modern job search comes with quite a few bumps in the road. It has happened to the best of us. You’re interviewing with one company. It seems like it’s going well. You receive positive feedback, so you stop looking for jobs. You wait for the job offer to arrive. But, at the end, you aren’t selected.
This happened to me when interviewing for a job at a financial services company. They put me through ten rounds of interviews over a six month period. After going in person for interviews, the hiring manager let me know that I was the one he’d selected. But, he wanted me to talk with a few more people, which elongated the process by a month or more. This was an unusual request given how far along we were, but I did the interviews. Since I knew I’d been selected, I began to pack my things. The job was in another city, and I needed to prepare to move.
Strangely, that job offer never arrived. Instead, I received a phone call from the hiring manager. He told me he had good news and bad news. I was the winning candidate. But, they had decided not to hire anyone in order to save money. I could tell by the lightness in the hiring manager’s tone that he had no idea what an impact this decision had on me. He wasn’t thinking about the months it would take me to find another job. He had no idea I’d already packed, or that I’d stopped applying at other companies. In his mind, it was as if he’d changed his mind about ordering a dessert after dinner. But for me, it was devastating news.
What could I have done differently here? Well, for one, the lesson is to never stop applying for jobs until you have a written job offer in hand. Until that point, anything could happen. The company could choose to hire someone else, or to hire no one at all.
Second, you should try to go through job interviews without thinking about the outcome. When you focus on the outcome, you will be extremely disappointed by all the rejection. It will begin to feel as if something is wrong with you. But, that’s not true. The modern hiring process is broken.
And, don’t get too excited just because you’re a perfect fit for a role. Someone else may be a perfect fit too.
So, stay focused. Keep your eyes on the end goal. When you reach it, you’ll know. Until then, keep looking forward.