One of the most frustrating things about looking for work is being turned down for a job where you believe you really wanted. Let’s face it, most of us apply for a mixture of jobs we really want and some we’ll take if offered, but don’t really excite us. So when we think we’re perfect for some job and we don’t get it, it may be a serious let down. Why didn’t we get chosen?
To answer this question, imagine yourself out shopping for furniture; you’re on the hunt for a chair to complete the look in your living room. If you’re like most people, it’s probable you’ll look at several options before deciding on one. Some you’ll reject at first glance. You may have an idea what you’re looking for – you want a contemporary look, it has to recline and you want something with a dash of colour but it has to be tasteful too.
In the furniture store, Sales staff will likely ask you what you’re looking for, getting some information so they can steer you to chairs most likely to meet your needs. As you narrow things down, they might even tell you that a certain chair you’ve expressed interest in can be upholstered to your liking, and they’ll show you swatches of fabric from which to choose. It can all be so overwhelming with so many choices. You might even visit multiple stores, repeating the process until you land on that one best fit. No doubt you’ve considered style, function, cost, availability, durability, visual appeal, pattern and comfort. You’ve also thought about how it will fit with the existing furniture you own.
Having completed your transaction, you soon have your chair at home. Now you see for the first time how it really fits, whether it goes as well as you pictured it in the store. You hang on to the receipt because if need be, you’ve got 30 days to return it for a refund should something cause you to return it.
Ah, the job search? Remember that? What’s this chair shopping have to do with being rejected or passed over for the job you really wanted? Okay, let’s get to that.
In the analogy of buying a chair, you’re the employer and the Sales staff are like Recruiters. All those various chairs you looked at are the job applicants. Some chairs were so wrong you knew at first glance. You ruled out over-sized leather ones, hard-backed rockers, swivels, non-recliners, etc. These are like the resumes received from people who don’t even come close to having the qualifications the employer is looking for.
The Sales staff are indeed like Recruiters, Temporary Agencies etc. as they ask questions to find what you’re looking for. They want to be the one to deliver the right chair just as the Recruiter or Temporary Agency wants to the be the source you choose for hiring that perfect employee.
You as the employer doing the hiring? You’re picky aren’t you? Oh yes! You could have chosen any number of chairs that met your basic need of functioning as a chair, but you wanted more. You needed something to add to the room, to match the colour-scheme you were going for, or to be that one piece that popped. So too will employers take their time to make sure that the chemistry of the teams they have at the time of hiring won’t be disturbed, or perhaps yes, they do want someone to come in and shake things up a bit.
When you’re rejected or passed over, it’s vitally important that you pause and think about WHY. Too many people don’t do this; they move on to other jobs they are applying to and miss learning from the experience. Now it could be that you can’t learn of the team chemistry where you’d like to work, but you can try. Researching, reaching out to company contacts – even asking flat-out in a job interview. You want to find out as best you can if the fit will be a good one for both them and you. I bet you’ve taken jobs where you or someone else clearly didn’t fit in. Did it go well? Did it last? Could be an employer does both themselves AND YOU a favour by not hiring you!
Now while a chair can be upholstered with different colours to fit varying tastes, people don’t always have the same ability to adapt. While in the short-term you might pull off being something you aren’t at heart, eventually your true nature shines through, and so you might not make it past some probation period; like the chair that gets returned after 20 days because it just didn’t fit after the home test.
So this is why you didn’t get that job where you were sure you met all their qualifications. Perhaps on paper you were a possible, but other candidates ended up being a better fit. They did a better job matching up with the employer’s needs either on their resumes or in the interview process. It doesn’t mean you’re not the right chair for someone else – right candidate for someone else (sorry). Could you do the job? Perhaps. Were you the best fit? This time around, no. Don’t take it personally if you’re not selected. That’s like a chair doubting it’s ability to work as a chair.