Receiving a rejection after a job interview can be devastating. Whether you had three interviews or ten, you were all in. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have snuck away from your existing job to interview. The process of interviewing for a job is a lot like dating. The longer it goes on, the more you can picture your new future. You begin to layout plans in your mind.
It’s not hard to do this. In fact, it’s natural. In the first interview, you’re expected to share how soon you are able to start working. And, through the process you are often ask to lay out your ninety day plan. You’re asked to design the strategy you might later implement. In order to perform well in a job interview, you must picture yourself in the new role.
Unfortunately, this comes at a high personal cost to many job seekers. Job interviews with one company can often span over multiple months. I’ve personally observed interviews as long as six months. You jump over hoop after hoop. You connect with your new team. The problem is that many companies take more than one candidate through this grueling process. It is not unusual to have at least two, if not three, finalists.
It’s also not uncommon for the company to tell you that you’re definitely getting the job. They do this because they feel optimistic in the moment. They do it to keep you engaged in their months-long interview process.
If the company hires someone, all other candidates are rejected. But, sometimes the company chooses not to hire anyone at all. To be honest, many companies look at interviewing candidates like you might try on shoes at a store. If they aren’t a perfect match, they put them back and go about their day. Rarely does a company truly understand the impact to the individual job seeker.
But, this doesn’t make it hurt any less. It often makes the job seeker question their identity. You may find yourself wondering if you took a wrong turn somewhere. You will very likely grieve the loss of the future you would have had. You feel the pain of being stuck in your current situation.
Know that these are normal emotions. If you weren’t all in on a company, you wouldn’t land the job interviews. And, it’s a real loss. But, it doesn’t make you any less of a professional. It doesn’t mean you should change your career path. If you made it to the final round, realize that you did a great job. And, if the company gives you an excuse about why you weren’t selected, remember that it’s an excuse. It may or may not be accurate.
Whatever you do, keep going. Keep applying. Keep interviewing. Grieve, but keep moving forward. And, don’t give up on your dreams. One company having a disorganized, insensitive interview process is not a reflection on your own career potential.
If you’ve been looking for a new job in 2023, you can probably agree with one thing – you’re tired. The job application process is primarily online. Hundreds of applicants are able to apply to one job with just a few clicks. Now, there are ghost job postings, and new AI tools candidates must contend with. The market is full of people who were recently laid off. And, companies are considering putting hiring on hold in this uncertain economy.
To cope with job search burnout, some young people are taking a break from looking for a new job. They’re finding other ways to fill their time. And, with many living at home for longer, who can blame them?
If you’re unemployed and considering a break from your job search, you should keep a few things in mind. First, don’t forget that laws require you to be actively looking for a job to qualify for unemployment.
And, if you have been unemployed for a long period of time, you should keep in mind how it may shape outside perception. For example, if you quit a job to take a six month break, employers may begin to suspect you were fired from your last job. And, they may assume you didn’t find another job for six months because you were not a good candidate. This is something many job seekers do not consider until it’s too late.
Another pitfall is this. While unemployed, if you take a break from job searching, you may expect your time off to be relaxing. What most people never consider is that unemployment tends to be a very stressful time. You are likely to be worried about money, housing, and other basic needs.
If you decide to take a break, make it meaningful. In other words, do something that will add to your resume, and that you’ll feel proud to share. You might want to go back to graduate school to further your education. You might want to start a business. You might want to learn a new skill. You might want to do a little consulting. Or, you might donate your time to a local nonprofit.
After quitting my job years ago, I took an around the world, solo backpacking trip. I visited Europe, Asia, and Australia over the course of a few months. It was a great way to disconnect, reset, and refocus. As you can imagine, it’s been a great story to share during job interviews. It helps to explain the transition, and to create an engaging conversation.
It’s best to take time off after you receive a job offer. In other words, ask for a start date that is a few weeks out. That will give you a period of stress free time to unwind after your long search. But, if you do take time off, make it meaningful. What you do with this time will forever be part of your career story.
The first economic downturn I remember was the dot com crash in 2000. It was shocking that even the best computer engineers were struggling to get a job. Today’s economic downturn feels similar. Unfortunately, many people have been negatively impacted, as layoffs appear to be far reaching.
If you’re one of those people, keep hope. Economic downturns are temporary, and they aren’t universal. In 2000, I was studying computer programming. It felt like the entire world was losing their jobs. But, when I talk to people today who worked in other industries, the dot com crash was barely something they thought about.
If you are looking for a new job, keep the industry in mind. Try to find a company that sells something that is more recession proof. For example, a company that sells luxury products may be more likely to be at risk. A company that sells something more essential, such as pest control, may be a safer bet. If the company is publicly traded, read about it in the news. Look to see if their stock has fallen lately, or how analysts are speaking about them.
When you’re interviewing, keep job interviews going with multiple companies. Very often, a company will put a candidate through many rounds of interviews over a long period of time. Along the way, the company may even tell the candidate that they intend to give them a job offer. When a candidate hears this, they typically walk away from every other job opportunity. They want to focus in on the sure bet, and they are relieved to no longer need to keep up this long process.
But, so often, this scenario doesn’t end well. The company may not end up hiring the candidate after all. This leaves the candidate feeling out of control, and forces them to start searching all over again. You may wonder how in the world this could happen. The company could suddenly have an unexpected hiring freeze. The company could change their plans about hiring. Or, they could have simply overestimated how far the candidate might go in the process. Keep your options open until you receive a job offer in writing.
If you have always wanted to go back to graduate school, an economic downturn could be a good time to enroll. Going full time allows you to opt out of looking for a new job for a year or two. And, it gives you the opportunity to reenter the workforce as the downturn is ending, with more qualifications than you started with. It can be a great way to make a negative into a positive.
Whatever happens, keep up your networking – even when you are working. The best insurance you have against job insecurity is your network. It is especially important to nurture these connections when you don’t need anything. Then, if you find yourself in need, you’ll have a team of contacts ready to help out.
It’s that time of year again. The latest graduates have just received their college diplomas and are heading into the world of work. First, know that if you haven’t found a job yet, it’s not just you. This isn’t the easiest year to graduate. You may need to roll up your sleeves and try creative job search methods. But, once you do land a job, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to succeed.
As a new graduate, you were likely in college during the pandemic. You may have taken classes online. And, if you were fortunate enough to have an internship, it may have been online too. Unfortunately, this means that you may have missed a few lessons about working in an office environment. And, let’s face it. As much as we all love remote work, many companies are asking employees to come back to the physical office at least a few days a week.
There are a number of unwritten rules of work that you need to learn. First, appearances matter (unfortunately). For example, some of your coworkers will judge your value based on the time that you arrive in the morning and depart at night. If they don’t see your face enough, they may assume you aren’t working, or that you’re lazy. The good news is that being on time can be an easy way to earn bonus points.
It’s important to observe social norms at work. Some companies prefer in person meetings, while others prefer to meet online via Zoom or Teams. When meeting with Zoom or Teams, some companies prefer that video is turned on, while others prefer it to be turned off. There is no right or wrong way to conduct meetings. The most important thing is to follow the lead of your colleagues.
Pay attention to what people are wearing. Even when you’re working from home, it’s important to look presentable. This does not mean that you have to dress up every day. But, if your colleagues are not wearing hooded sweatshirts to the office, you shouldn’t be either.
Email is an important method of communication at work. When you send emails, you should start by addressing the person by name. Starting an email without a salutation should be saved for casual conversations with friends.
Hierarchy at work is also very important, especially when you are young. In other words, your direct boss and your peers are your best points of contact for most issues. If you need to escalate something to your direct boss’ supervisor, it’s best to discuss with your boss first. Going directly above their head can cause issues that you would not have intended to cause.
Last but not least, keep talk about your parents to a minimum. In the world of work, you’re expected to do your own. If mom or dad is helping you at home, keep that information to yourself.
For most people, switching jobs is not something they plan out in much detail. For the majority of job seekers, they have a personal connection to the job opening. The process is fairly straightforward and relatively painless. Most people tend to assume that’s what job seeking is like. This all changes when a job seeker is forced to proactively find a new job with no connections. Ask anyone who has landed a job completely on their own, and they will very likely have a harrowing story to share.
When a job seeker is searching on their own, the process can easily take anywhere from two to six months. This length of time is normal. It is not a reflection on the person’s abilities or worth. But, it certainly doesn’t feel that way. The issue is that the search process is completely different than when you know someone.
There are examples of difficult job searches shared every day on LinkedIn. Recently, a job seeker applied to 600 jobs. These applications led to 30 interviews. The 30 interviews ultimately led to one job offer. This job seeker had many years of experience and multiple advanced degrees. The entire process took three months.
And, a job search can often become elongated. The reason is that 570 rejections is emotionally exhausting. On top of this, friends and family judge the job seeker at how “difficult” their search is. It leaves the job seeker feeling worthless, and wondering if they’re even in the right career field.
Dear job seeker, please remember: it’s not you. The application process is broken. You are competing against hundreds of online applicants. You are also competing with the friends of the hiring manager. And, you are contending with less than ideal economic conditions.
But, you are prepared for this. The key is to not lose hope. It’s to realize that the system is broken; not you. You are the same talented, hardworking professional that you were before you started this search. You will find your path back.
Set goals for yourself. Keep doing your best to meet the goals, even when things feel difficult. In the example above, the job seeker applied to approximately 200 jobs per month, or 50 per week, or 10 per business day. This process is a lot of work, but it will result in success.
In addition to applications, sit down and write a list of all of the great things about your background. Perhaps you have fifteen years of experience in project management. You are great at organizing teams. You have advanced knowledge in specific topics. Once you have your list compiled, keep it handy. Each morning, read the list. Remind yourself of who you are.
You are valued. You are needed. You are the same person that you were before the economy started to turn. Outside factors changed, but you have not. You remain the same person you always have been.