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7 Job Interviews - No Offers

by Stephen
(London, Ontario)

I was feeling so good last week because I had 3 opportunities on the table although they have yet to transpire into an offer. Of course, I want things to happen very quickly, but after 7 interviews over the course of a month, you would think that they would be ready to make an offer.

On the positive side, I have a telephone interview this morning and a face-to-face interview tomorrow; so there is lots of activity in the pipeline.

Having gone through your site and micro-analyzing what is going wrong with my interview process, there seems to be a trend: very positive feedback on telephone interviews, very positive feedback on face to face interviews, can easily get offers for lower paying jobs (as evidenced by two offers which I passed up), and "can't put my finger on it" vague feedback as to why I do not get selected for hire for the higher-paying jobs.

I am in the demographic of the top 10 desirable physical attributes for an ideal male sales candidate: tall, 40ish, attractive, very well dressed, always displaying great smile, yet I am stumped by why I do not get an offer for these higher-paying jobs.

How do I get HONEST feedback after the fact versus "can't put our finger on it". How much more vague and nonconstructive could they be?

I have identified a slight trend in that interviewers will advise me that the expectation is many long hours and hard work. Why the need to state this, isn't this the assumption in tech sales? Do I give off the vibe that I do not have a strong work ethic?...this is the furthest from the truth!

Thanks for any feedback!


Mike Petras comments:

Hello Stephen-

I completely understand your feelings of frustration. The 2 biggest complaints I hear from job seekers today are: (1) no feedback, or very general feedback after a job interview, and (2) the hiring process is taking way too long.

In this sluggish hiring environment, companies are cherry picking the inventory of job seekers and taking their sweet time about making an offer. Jobs in the top of the hiring pyramid are fiercely competitive.

Before a company will bring you into the inner circle of their leadership team, they're going to make sure you're the best fit. This explains your 7 interviews, although this is a bit excessive, even for executive level positions.

From the limited information I have about you, you sound like an exceptional candidate. If you're getting interviews and progressing deep in the hiring process, you definitely have the skills and abilities they're looking for.

Usually when you get to the end of the job interview process, the last question going through their minds is, are you "the right fit" for their culture and management style.

To get deeper insights into what is "the right fit", ask your interviewers questions like:

  • What are some of the burning issues that are holding your company back from taking your business to the next level?

  • How would you describe your management style?

  • What do you want me to accomplish in my first 6 months on the job?

  • If appropriate, in what ways did the last person who held this position fall short?

What you're really trying to find out by asking these questions is, what are the company's problems and burning issues that by hiring you they can solve?

This is what companies ultimately want when they hire someone. If your skills, leadership style, and accomplishments speak to these issues, then you're an answer to their prayers.

For example, you might have to work with the owner's autocratic son or daughter. Can you handle that?

You might have to work in a chaotic, hostile environment. Do you have the temperament for that?

So, you could be perfect in every way, but perhaps not "the right fit" for their culture.

Over the years, hiring authorities have repeatedly told me the top 2 reasons candidates are rejected are, (1) they are too laid back and don't exhibit high energy or a strong sense of urgency, and/or (2) they talk too much in the interview.

If you feel you might be projecting either one of these shortcomings you can easily overcome them by changing how you answer an interview question. Example: Limit your answers to 30-60 seconds and then wait for them to probe further by additional questioning or comments.

In my new book, Why Don't They Call Me? - Job Search Wisdom to Get You Unstuck, I devote an entire chapter on how to make a lasting first impression in 30 seconds with several example answers.

Let's say they ask you for one of your weaknesses. You could say (if it's true, of course) that you are not very patient with people who miss deadlines or who are slackers. You could respond similarly to the question, what are your strengths, by saying, I'm very timely and always hit project deadlines and expect my people to do the same. I'm willing and eager to work long hours, including weekends if necessary, to meet or exceed company goals and objectives.

Any stories or real life examples you can share with them will also send the message: I'm a high energy person who gets results quickly.

Hope this helps a little, although I don't think there is anything more you can do about the 7 interview job.

You could contact all your references and explain to them that the interview process has been grueling. Tell them you suspect they may think you're not "high energy" enough. Ask them to emphasize this in their reference about you and even include an example. Share with them an example you recall if they need help coming up with something.

One last thing...when I was a hiring manager with a Fortune 500 company, if you were a fly on the wall as we discussed who to extend an offer to, you might hear this conversation:

"Man, we could flip a coin and not go wrong by hiring any one of these top 3 candidates. Too bad we can't hire all of them."

Of course, we only hired one and tried to let the other 2 down as nicely as we could. But they probably felt like rejects when that was the furthest thing from the truth.

Let me know if you get an offer or how this plays out. If you come up short, call the hiring manager and ask him/her in what ways the other candidate stood out from you. This is a softer way of asking, why didn't you hire me? When they say this candidate had this or that, blah, blah; what they're really saying is, here is where you fell short in our eyes.

I do hope this won't be necessary and you score that job!

All the best.

Mike Petras

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May 16, 2012
Still waiting
by: Jude

After reading Stephens comments about no offers after numerous job interviews, I feel I am in the same boat.

I have three - 2 year diplomas and enough certificates to wall paper an office. I am in my third year of Sociology. What I am lacking seems to be experience.

After working successfully at a position for 7 years I took another 2 year diploma course to enter the next level in positions. After graduation, I did not get a chance to enter or start a new position due to my husband's career because we had to move to the USA.

I've spent the last 4 years traveling and moving around the world. We have now settled in a small town located between to large cities. I have gone through 3 interviews with three organizations and from the feedback I received, all said I did great and had good references; but, it was lacking experience for the advanced position.

So then I applied for a position I left. After being interviewed for that I was then told I was "over qualified" and they felt I would do doubt move on.

Currently I have been through 2 onsite exams and then a competency panel interview with a government agency. I sent a follow up email thanking them for their time. I was told they will make the decision within that week.

It has now been two weeks ... not a peep. An insider, who works for this Ministry said they heard I was the chosen candidate. They too are baffled why I have not heard back. They did some investigating and it turns out the hiring manager got a promotion. Perhaps that is the delay?

I recently called all my references -- they have not been called. Now what? Do I send another email? How in the world do new graduates get a chance?

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