What happens when you have had 34 interviews and no job offer?
Jack (not his real name!) called me the other day totally frustrated with this exact situation. I coached him on interview skills last year. He thought he was doing everything right but he was getting no results.
I was stumped too. So we had another session together, this time on Skype. We both thought having a video discussion would give some insight into what was going on. Maybe the problem was with his physical presentation and not his words?
The mock interview went well. Jack’s responses were great. He clearly loved his career and had great stories to share about his accomplishments. His response to “tell me about yourself” could be a little smoother but his other answers and his stories were wonderful, more than making up for any fuzziness in his initial response.
There must be something else going on.
Listening is critical when I coach. I get a great deal of information from what you, the candidate, thinks.
You are in the situation. You are absorbing the clues and cues during the interview. Somewhere deep inside, you understand what is going on. It is usually difficult to express. But the key to solving a persistent problem like this usually lies inside.
Jack said he has been told he appears to be very serious, he does not seem passionate or enthusiastic and they wonder if he can handle difficult situations that come up in his somewhat political career.
Huh. These are important clues to what might be going on.
Jack loves his career. I mean he really loves to talk about it and he has great stories about real accomplishments that made a difference in his community. He goes out of his way to research each opportunity, even visiting the location to talk to people so he can get context to frame his interview responses.
He is a serious guy. Wait a minute. Maybe we are on to something!
Every hiring manager is subconsciously trying to answer three questions, whether they know it or not: 1) Can you do the job? 2) Will you love the job? 3) Will you get along with the team.
Take another look at what Jack has been told: he does not seem passionate or enthusiastic. This could be a way of saying they are not sure you will love the job. If you won’t love the job how committed can you be to do that job for 8+ hours a day? So perhaps he is getting dinged for the way he expresses his passion?
He has also been told that they are not sure he can handle difficult situations in the job. Maybe that is a way of saying they are not sure he can get along with the team or get the team to do what they need done? Perhaps he is being dinged for the way he gets along or convinces people.
Even one “no” to the 3 questions probably means you are not getting the job. Perhaps Jack can adjust the way he expresses his passion and his ability to influence?
I am a big believer in DiSC behavioral assessments. When I described the elements to Jack we both agreed that Jack is probably solidly in the “C” Conscientiousness quadrant characterized as precise, analytical and reserved. He doesn’t express much emotion in his face. But he can flex a little!
Jack is absolutely passionate about what he does. He will practice smiling and engaging people in conversation more. He practiced a little on our call. It will take a while before he feels comfortable but in that little time he looked less serious. He will fake it till he makes it!
Jack has a track record of getting along and getting his ideas approved through influence. He needs to demonstrate this more in interviews. He will practice observing the behavior style of others so he can give the interviewer what the interviewer needs to see in the way the interviewer needs to see it.
If you have had too many interviews and no job offers, it might not be what you are saying but the way you are saying it. Let someone (a coach, a trusted friend, The Interview Doctor perhaps) help you pull out what might be going on so you can work on a different way of presenting yourself.
Let your inner strength and accomplishments shine through your behavior!