Walk the Talk with Team Medijobs | Stories from the Inside

Didn’t get that job you really, really wanted? - Article Image

Didn’t get that job you really, really wanted?


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What do you do when you’ve got your heart set on a role and you don’t get it? Where to from here?


You have a few options:


  • Do nothing. You can continue working at your current role and take time to think about future options for yourself.


  • Understand the feedback that was given to you, learn from it, and better prepare yourself for the next application.


What did they say?

Not enough experience: This one is self-explanatory. You think to yourself: “they knew this about me from my CV, but they still invited me for an interview!” This can be upsetting, but maybe the employer thought you were trainable or the right cultural fit despite the lack of experience outlined in your CV.


Perhaps after meeting you, however, they decided that you were not the optimal cultural fit but used your lack of experience as a reason to say no to your application. Who knows. The point is, there are plenty of other fish in the sea – keep your job-seeking process going and actively liaise with your recruitment agency or the HR contact in the organisation and ask for more information around the rejection of your application. This feedback (if it is forthcoming) will generally add value to your future job applications.


Also, always leave the door open with your dream employer and let them know that you will be available in the future if a role that requires less experience becomes available. There is no point in burning bridges – you must remove the emotion from your job-seeking process. This is easier said than done, but it’s important to add resilience to your job-seeking behaviour, as well as to manage your own expectations. Start applying for more junior roles if you are not qualified for senior positions.


Not the right fit: This is a catch-all. A lot of the time, potential employers will express this as the reason for not hiring someone when they don’t really want to express the real reason for rejecting a candidate. You can theorise and over-think this until the cows come home, or you can ask for further details from the employer who still sticks with this line. In this case, understand that there is generally nothing that you should change in your job-seeking process, or could have done better. Continue with it and stay positive.


Didn’t prepare for the interview: The employer says that the candidate did not know enough about the company (i.e. didn’t take the time to look at the company website, learn about its history or clients, etc), did not understand the role (didn’t understand what the role entailed on a day to day basis), or did not perform well during the interview process, and therefore didn’t give the “right” answers.


The good news is that these are all fixable for your future job-seeking. Studying the potential employer’s website closely, understanding the requirements of the job description (as well as the KPIs associated with the role) and most importantly of all, interview practice with a friend are all great steps to take in order to improve your performance at your next interview. It helps to have someone to throw potential questions at you while you address them, and to familiarise yourself with behavioural interview techniques that are commonly used to qualify candidates during an interview. If you don’t know much about behavioural interviewing or understand the job specifications, ask your recruiter or conduct further research online.  


Gave inappropriate answers or asked inappropriate questions during the interview: When the employer asked you what your weaknesses were, you said “chocolate.” Really? Not funny, not cute, and certainly not appropriate during an interview. Your weaknesses need to be addressed in a professional manner, stick to the point, and make sure that if you think of any, they are ones that can eventually become strengths with training and professional development.


Similarly, if the only questions you ask at the end of your interview are all about the Sick | Annual | Personal | Maternity leave that the company offers (even though you are entitled to them), this might set off alarm bells in the mind of the potential employer. Think about the questions you plan to ask, and run them past your recruiter or someone whose opinion you value. Remember, your recruiters are here to help you in every way possible during the job-seeking and interview process!


Dropping a clanger: You “forgot” to tell your potential employer that you are currently unable to drive for six months due to drink driving, even though the job requires you to have a current drivers licence and car? Or maybe you “forgot” to tell them that you have conditions on your AHPRA registration? Or that you have a criminal record that will soon be revealed in your police check? It’s best to be upfront to give the potential employer means to work out how they can accommodate you (especially if they statutorily can) if after the interview they believe you are the best person for the role, and are willing to work around your special circumstances.


Not properly presented: Going to an interview means putting your best business suit on display. Even if it’s a casual working environment, it doesn’t mean a singlet and jeans are appropriate for the interview. Always over-dress for an interview and make sure to learn from this easily-fixed interview feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask the HR department or person conducting the interview for advice on what to wear if you’re unsure.


Over-qualified: This one might again annoy you because you think to yourself: “I know I’m over-qualified for the job, but I still want it – I’m willing to take a step back.” Keep in mind that the employer might feel after interview that you would be too hard to manage in the role, or that you possibly move on pretty quickly when a more suitable opportunity becomes available. They don’t want to be your stop-gap measure. Having said that, if you do intend upon pursuing roles at a slightly more junior level, then make sure to communicate that to potential future employers.


Showed up late | didn’t show up at all for the interview: In this day and age of digital technology, make that ½ -minute courtesy phone call to give your potential employer the heads-up that you will be late – even if it’s only by 5 minutes. If you don’t, it doesn’t give the best first impression.


If you know you’re not going to show up for that interview, make sure that you call and thank the potential employer for the opportunity and let them know you’re withdrawing your interest. Not only is this good for your future job-seeking, but remember that all companies have a database and the last thing you want is to have a big “X” against your name because of your unprofessionalism in not showing up for an interview.


Final thoughts

It’s always important to remember that at the end of the day, it’s a job interview. It’s not life and death. If at first you don’t succeed - try, try again. Listen to feedback and change your job-seeking strategy accordingly, and get help from a professional recruitment agency if you can access one. Finding you a job is their job – make best use of the resources at hand.


All the best!