It’s Not You, It’s Me…

By: James Caan, originally published on LinkedIn

Have you recently left an interview feeling demotivated? Disappointed you didn’t get the job, or unhappy with your interview performance?

As an investor, I’ve had to learn that not every deal succeeds. The same is true of interviews. I would love to guarantee you 100% success, but not every interview will end with you getting the job, because some things aren’t meant to be, and for whatever reason, you’re not the right candidate for that role.

The important thing is not to dwell on your misfortune, it’s okay to fail, failure doesn’t mean you need to give up, it’s just another experience to learn from.

Instead of wallowing and losing hope, immediately look for what you can learn from the experience and come away stronger.

Make sure you ask for feedback

If you fail to get selected, assess why you weren’t chosen and be prepared to deal with any issues you can identify.

Let’s say you receive an email that says “Thank you for coming in, but unfortunately you haven’t been selected”.

The first thing you should be thinking about is finding out why. Nine out of ten interviewers won’t give you a reason in the email, and most people accept that.

This is where they go wrong. If you don’t know why, how are you going to improve?

Find out what went wrong

Don’t be afraid to call your interviewer directly and pose the question. The trick is to handle this conversation carefully to ensure you get an answer you can work with, and not a bland, generic ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ response.

Be polite, yet forward. Show your appreciation, thank them for their time, trigger their memory by referring to something specific you discussed – something that will help the interviewer put a face to your name.

Then it’s time to make your move…

Ask: “I interviewed for the marketing role recently. I fully understand you found a better suited candidate, but just out of curiosity, could I ask what did you think made me unsuitable for the job? What do I need to work on?”

Initially, the interviewer will be taken aback by your question, and will probably try and give you a generic “you didn’t have the right experience” approach.

That’s the time to push harder.

“What area in particular did you feel I lacked experience?”

When you have an answer you can work with, you can either take this opportunity to push back and pitch yourself again, or thank them for the feedback and ensure you take this particular point into consideration next time you’re interviewing.

Constructive feedback can highlight weaknesses you weren’t aware of. Don’t see this as a bad thing, understanding your strengths and weaknesses is vital for future success, and it’s a skill many of us lack.

Take it from me, as an employer and businessman, this approach is guaranteed to leave a good impression.

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