Friday, January 22, 2010

The Cure for Interview Frustration

Yes, people looking for work are beginning to get more interviews, but the interview process is long and frustrating. It seems random. You think you had a great interview; then, you never hear from them again. You are told you are a finalist and will be asked back for a second interview; then, nothing happens.

It's frustrating for the hiring manager, too. Sometimes, the requisition is pulled at the last minute, or the level of the job opening changes. Or a senior person wants someone different. The hiring managers aren't the bad guys, and thinking about them that way is a sure way to kill your interviewing confidence.

Take a tip from the sales professionals, and use your interviews for prospects. Here's how.

When you have been a real candidate and have been interviewed by more than one person, there is bound to be someone you clicked with more than the others. Once you have been turned down for the job, contact the person you clicked with, and say something like, "I know you found someone more appropriate for the job, and I understand. I really enjoyed meeting you and believe you really know who I am and what I can do. Is there any other place you would recommend I look?" If the person responds with a company name, ask, "Do you know someone there I could contact?" If the answer is yes, ask, "May I use your name?" While this only works some of the time, when it does work, it's major.

Everyone you meet when you are interviewing should be put on your contact list. The more people you interview with, the more people you meet, the more people you have as networking contacts. If they don't help you this time you are looking for a job, maybe they will next time. When you get that job, email everyone on the list a brief thank-you note and include your new contact information. The more you interview, the more networking contacts you will have. Even when they don't result in jobs, interviews are great opportunities to build your network.



  1. Great information! I went on several "informational interviews" where there was no job in sight before getting offered my first job -- by one of the people I'd met at the first place I'd gone only for information. I would add that you should send real, paper thank you notes - people really appreciate the time it takes to write on a card, not just jot down an email.

  2. I heard you speak a couple of years ago and am so glad now to discover your blog. It’s just like hearing you speak: very focused, clear, concise, conversational, and most important, useful! I’d suggest that anyone reading this post will be well rewarded by going back to your past posts for great topics and great advice! As for “The Cure for Interview Frustration” it’s very helpful. And I especially like your advice about saying “Thank you.” For me as a hiring manager and someone who is glad to provide good people with leads, a thoughtful, well written thank you after an interview always puts a good candidate a notch up and keeps their resume in my “Possibles” folder.


  3. Maybe sometime you could do a piece about keeping optimistic after a “careening career” trying different kinds of work, quitting when it wasn’t a good fit, trying something else and quitting that, too, etc etc. I did that, and made four moves, including once from a manager who was just bad news. I finally found that running my own business was the right thing for me. It gives me lots of freedom to use my skills and feel that I’ve accomplished things that square with my values.

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