It’s Not Your Fault!

Posted on: March 3rd, 2015 by
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I can’t tell you the number of times over my career I interviewed as a finalist candidate and didn’t get the job. What was wrong with me? It wasn’t until I was a Vice President that I understood why I might not have gotten those jobs earlier.

It wasn’t me… it was them! They changed the rules of the game. Let me give you two personal examples and then some ways hiring companies sometimes cause the issue:

I was the Corporate Director of Organizational Development completing a very successful reorganization of a mid-sized corporation with a sterling reputation, well respected in the profession and in demand. A major corporation looking for Directors for two of their divisions recruited me. I interviewed for one of them and was offered the position. I declined the offer, but suggested combining the two divisions into one job. The EVP was overjoyed that he could get a major contributor for both divisions for a few dollars more. He verbally made the offer and I verbally accepted.

I immediately tried to set up a meeting with my current boss to resign my position while the written offer was to be sent to me for my signature. My vice-president was on vacation so I scheduled the meeting for two weeks out. A week later I called the offering EVP to ask where was the letter of offer? He apologized that the offer couldn’t be put together because an internal candidate heard about the job combination and wanted the new job for himself. Needless to say, I cancelled my impending meeting to resign. Moral of the story: Never accept a verbal job offer. You can be badly hurt.

Another time I interviewed at a Fortune 50 company to find out later that they only wanted to “pick my brain” to find out how I solved a similar problem that they had.

Here are some other reasons why it’s not your fault if you don’t get the offered job:

• Your compensation falls over the mid-point for the position. The hiring manager thinks it may cause issues with peers
• Because of your obvious competence and high potential, others see you as a competitor for higher level jobs during the interview and vote for someone else
• You may scare the manager to whom you’ll report. Too much horsepower to manage
• The manager assumed the budget for the position would be approved. It wasn’t.
• The corporation, business or function was reorganized, changing or eliminating the job
• You were interviewed as “the model”, but were never considered as a hire
• You got caught in a political web. Someone in power wanted someone else.

I’m sure you can identify other reasons why it’s not your fault. The important thing to remember: Life isn’t fair. The job search process may not be fair. But when you connect with your dream job and the organization appreciates your value, it will all be worth the journey.

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