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You’re not what they want

 A statement like that does wonder for the old self esteem. NOT. We all have to face it in life at some time, though. If it’s in the singular, you’re not what he/she wants, it could be rejection, major bummer, by the person you want to be your life partner if only the feeling were reciprocated. It could be that you can’t get into a particular club, college, society, branch of the Military, let’s not depress ourselves further by thinking of more examples.  What I’m thinking of is rejection by a company which you had hoped would offer you a position.
You’re not what they want. Sigh. Let’s try and make lemonade out of lemons and see how you can learn from the experience. If it makes you a better candidate for the next position you go for, then the rejection will have served you well. I personally have always gone for the Denial way of coping with Bad Stuff in Life. It doesn’t work, by the way, so I am therefore in some ways better equipped to tell you what you shouldbe doing! Sticking your head in the sand just leaves your posterior sticking up in the air more vulnerable for target practice.   
Basically, it’s not rocket science. You just have to be honest with yourself about why you didn’t get the position. If self-awareness isn’t one of your strong suits, listen to your recruitment service (and family and friends) about what they think went wrong. Let us assume that all consultants in staffing agencies are as helpful, knowledgeable, insightful as those of us at Merit…. Here are some of the scenarios.
1)      You weren’t as qualified/experienced as the person who was offered. Not much you can do about that. If you break the world record and still get beaten by the chap who beat it by a bit more, you only get the Silver Medal, which equates in this case to no job offer.
2)      Your computer skills set wasn’t quite up to snuff. That’s fairly easy to fix for most software packages. Practice, practice, practice.
3)      You were beaten out by someone who had a connection to someone in the firm and, although not quite as good, they decided to go with the referral. It happens probably more than we realize. Not much you can do about that one, I’m afraid, except not take it personally.
4)      You were late for the interview and, although you apologized profusely, it was a black mark against you. It does make the company a bit unforgiving, doesn’t it, but don’t be late again. Better to be way early and find a diner to have a coffee than turn up frazzled and late, because the buses, trains and traffic were doing their usual.
5)      You weren’t prepared enough for the interview. Look, don’t make me find out who you are, come round to your apartment and shout at you. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. You don’t have to have memorized the annual report but you have to know something about the company and job, or else why did you apply? I MEAN….PUH-LEEZE.
6)      You weren’t suitably dressed — happens infrequently but more often than you think. Read my blog about how to dress for interview.
7)      You weren’t too impressive with your answers (or questions). That’s a whole training session’s worth right there. Again, it’s practice, practice, practice. A good recruitment consultant will help you with how to answer difficult questions, how to shine when you’re by nature too self-effacing for your own good, how not to oversell yourself because you’re not used to bragging on and on about wonderful you are and you therefore overdo it. Read my other blogs about difficult questions. “What’s the most difficult thing you’ve ever experienced?”   “I’m living through it right now. How am I doing?” (Actually, the interviewer might laugh, but I still wouldn’t advise it as an answer).  
8) You ignored the people you didn’t think were an important part of the interview process e.g. the receptionist, some of the others in the HR department. They are ALL important in the interview process, so smile at them even though you haven’t been introduced.
9) Salary. It wasn’t a good fit for a million reasons – you were too expensive, whatever… Maybe you were aiming too high and the company thought they’d give interviewing you a whirl anyway, but then decided they needed more experience i.e. they were prepared to pay more money for exactly what they needed. Maybe you went for the interview thinking you could make do with less, but common sense kicked in. Maybe when you got all the facts – benefits, commuting costs, you had an aha moment. Doesn’t matter. Just try to be realistic with the agency and yourself the next time.
10) You were awful at negotiating salary. You had the ball in your hands and you fumbled. A good recruiter will tell you what to say – and ideally will do all the negotiating for you. It’s an art to come across as flexible, not too rigid, not too greedy but not a doormat, and not more interested in money than the job. If you’re not going through a staffing service, you’re at the distinct disadvantage of not knowing how much leeway the company has. At the risk of being bombarded with requests for advice from my readership (my readership? hahaha) about how to negotiate direct with the company, why not email me via our website and ask?
 11) You failed the background check. Don’t bother going for jobs where you know you’ll fail. Be upfront with the person who asks about any  transgressions – ‘fessing up beforehand sometimes works, ‘fessing up afterwards never does. New York City has just changed the laws that it’s no longer legal (with a few exceptions) for companies to bar you from employment because of bad credit. WOO HOO.
12) Eleven reasons for not getting the job is enough. There are probably more but blimey, enough already. You get the point, I hope. Try to learn and change what you can, and just move on from the stuff that you can’t change. Wow, that’s a bit like life, isn’t it?