The job interview process can be easily compared to the hit TV Reality Series, The Bachelor. Often scripted, tacky and surreal, both processes rarely bring out the best in participants. There are illusions of grandiose, long-term relationships, expedited in a watered down packaged reality.
Think about it.
Job seekers (contestants) undergo a screening (casting) process in attempts of obtaining an interview (being cast) for the job (series).
They will spend their 45-60 minutes of fame (interview) professing admirable qualities, knowledge and love for the series (company) and the producers (employers). All in the attempts of obtaining the almighty rose (job offer).
Employers (Bachelors/Bachelorettes) scrutinize respective candidates (love interests) in an intensive process by way of a job interview (blind date).
Job seekers will try to convince an employer without looking or sounding creepy.
Employers will try to convince themselves they’ve selected the right candidate by trying not to feel creepy about said decision.
If a job seeker is lucky, they get a rose! If they’re not, they get dumped.
Due to uncontrollable variables, the job (casting) cycle continues for work seekers and employers, résumés and roses in hand.
Job Seekers; have you ever interviewed really well and failed to obtain an offer?
Sometimes it’s not you at all. As someone with job seeking and job recruiting experience, I’d like to share with you a list of some entertaining reasons you might not have obtained the rose, er, job.
You were the trophy interview
Sometimes employers will have an idea of whom they want to hire long before the interview process begins. You become the sacrificial lamb an employer serves up to an interview panel so that hiring practices appear fair to the organization and Human Resources.
Chin up! They picked you out of dozens or hundreds of applicants. You have a strong résumé and they may very well have something in mind for you later on, or when their original draft pick gets shelved.
You reminded the interviewer of someone
You know that uneasy feeling you get when you recognize and then proceed to ignore a phone number? You may have that effect on an interviewer. An ex, former bestie, twice removed cousin, first crush; last crush, evil step-mom, evil former co-workers or boss from hell. Once someone formulates that bias, the pathway has a hard recovery.
Anything from your name, tone of voice, and style of clothing, nervous tendencies… the point is, it’s very hard to erase prior learning. If someone says you remind him or her of someone and then does not smile, run…run away!
You became victim to the Job Posting “change-up”
Have you ever interviewed for a job that sounded nothing like the job you applied to? I call it the grand change-up. Not as obvious as a curve ball, but there are signs of slight changes. The original job posting may have been what one key stakeholder wanted, but from the job closing date to the interview, certain job related duties might have changed.
This change manifests itself in interview questions that have no context on the original position description. These changes make the ideal candidate a poor choice, and a mediocre one more appealing.
You weren’t the Right Fit
Let’s face it; skinny jeans don’t look good on everyone. Maybe the employers were hesitant to hire you because you really weren’t the ideal fit. And let me clarify here; getting the pants on is different from having them actually fit you.
Even if they were on sale.
Keep this thought in mind when you assess interview performance. Did you answer the questions effectively? Did you know what the interviewers were really asking? Were there moments where you could have answered with more depth? Less? Be open and honest with your interviewing performance. It will definitely help next time.
There’s no scientific way of proving any of these factors (except the last one) hold any bearing on an interviewer’s hiring decision. However, in true reality TV fashion, these points are entertaining concepts inspired to generate buzz and discussion.
Have you ever experienced any of these job interview situations? We’d love to hear from you! Please share your experiences and let’s keep the conversation going.
– Lidia Siino
Journalism and Communications Media ’02