Interviews bring great hope:

Interview requests bring hope. When an email or phone message asks for a jobseeker by name—everything changes. All of a sudden that “just okay” position, may become an incredible prize. The benefits of working there may grow and many of the negatives may diminish or evaporate. This is a fairly common response to a request for an interview.

For other jobseekers, after repeated rejection, their response to an interview request may be skeptical, reserved, and they may find themselves bracing for the rejection even before the interview.

With hope comes the risk of rejection.

Rejection is an unwanted partner of every jobsearch. Every interview bring with it, the risk of rejection.This very week, I’ve watched three clients manage interviews and get rejected. Every situation was different and the situations may surprise you…or maybe not.

(NOTE: The names have been changed.)

Interview next month:

“Carl” has had a remarkable background as both a Systems Analyst and a Project Manager. He is unique because he can perform both roles AND he has also been a coder. In his recent past, he has worked with warehouse management systems in a global company that manufactured and distributed beverages and associated supplies.


Two weeks ago Carl received a request for an interview with a leading wholesale food company. I thought it odd that the interview was scheduled almost a month away. Then last week, Carl received an email indicating that the position had been filled.

Carl was incredibly disappointed. He had carefully researched the company and thought the culture was a good fit. He had the Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) experience and thought the position would be a good move for his career. Even though he was a finalist, he would not be getting the interview that he had been promised.

MY THOUGHTS: It never ceases to amaze me how inconsiderate companies can be. We often say that “companies” are to blame, but there are hiring professionals behind these communications. I hesitate to use the word, “professional” because this kind of behavior is unconscionable and unprofessional. There is no excuse for it and it tells me that the company may not be a good place to work.

* * *

Interview tomorrow:

“Tracy” was delighted when an interview was scheduled. As an early-career engineer, interviews were hard to come by. The recruiter asked what salary she was looking for. Tracy carefully checked out the market value for someone with her skills and five years of experience. She responded to the email with: “I understand the market value for this position to be between $60K and $70K. Does that align with you, from the company’s perspective?”

(The plan was that if the job was going to pay less, then she would indicate that she would still like to be considered.)

Tracy waited for a response. The interview was less than 24 hours away and specific information had not been sent. She emailed the HR person again. The response came quickly, “The hiring manager has decided to interview someone else.”


Tracy responded immediately and indicated that she was disappointed, but she wished the company every success. If there were other positions that matched her skills, she would like to be considered for them. …no response come from HR.

MY THOUGHTS: We don’t know if the salary question was the reason for the change. However, it is difficult not to connect the two. In this situation, asking for a person’s salary requirements is unfair. It indicates that the company would like to get someone with greater experience at a lower salary. They seem to hope that the jobseeker won’t mind working for a company that doesn’t want to pay a fair market value. I believe that companies should simply indicate: “This positions pays in this range: ___________ . Please let me know if you are still interested.”

* * *

Salary misrepresentation, no offer.

“Terry” has been successful at every position in his career. He worked his way up from administrative assistant to business owner. He successfully took one business through a Merger & Acquisition. Eventually he became the Director of Operations in a company in the healthcare industry. Recently, Terry had several interviews with a company that consistently indicated their interest and gave him every cue that they were moving to an offer. The final set of interviews lasted an entire day.

Early in the process, the salary question came up and his response was, “I was making $100K as Director of Operations at ________. In my current interim position (agricultural operations), I am making $52K. I am hoping to come in somewhere in the middle.”

Soon after the exhausting day of interviews, he received the email that they were not going to hire him. Instead, they were going to continue their search. It was incredulous. He would have been fine if someone else beat him out. But that wasn’t the case. Befuddled, he wrote back and asked for feedback. Again, the response came quickly, “Since you misrepresented your salary, the team decided not to move forward.” Terry was dumbfounded. He could not think of anything that might have contributed to a “misrepresentation.”

MY THOUGHTS: These kinds of interactions can send a person into days of mental gymnastics that lead nowhere. It can take weeks, or longer, before the mental traffic becomes manageable.

IN my opinion, this kind of response is right up there with cruel and unnecessary treatment. I despise these kinds of comments and I despise the people who send them and the companies that condone it. These kinds of comments, without specific information to back up their claim, are callous and hurtful. It’s a cop-out.

Asking for feedback, as a jobseeker, is risky, however, it can also be helpful. Hiring professionals may feel like they have to have some kind of reason. They also have to be careful of any legal concerns. Hence, many jobseekers may be familiar with the statement, “…we have decided to move forward with someone who better meets our current needs.”

* * *

In each of the three cases above, the jobseeker was honorable. In each case, the company, or their representative was not professional, respectful, or thoughtful. Instead, they were dismissive, unkind, and mean. This kind of behavior by companies makes me want to start an online “Wall of Shame” where jobseekers can post how they have been treated. Glassdoor ( allows employees and jobseekers to give company feedback about the culture and hiring process. They can also make suggestions for improvement. I encourage people to use the tool.

What is failure in a jobsearch?

There are five factors that I believe may contribute to a failed jobsearch:

  1. When a jobseeker is looking for work in a market that no longer exists.
  2. When a jobseeker applies for jobs that s/he is not qualified for.
  3. When a jobseeker does not learn about the hiring process and his/her industry and use that knowledge to manage change in the jobsearch.
  4. When they are not able to maintain a positive outlook (negativity is a luxury that jobseekers can not afford)
  5. When they quit.

We have entered a Labor on Demand employment model where companies hire people with the needed skills as contractors and temporary employees. Jobseekers in technology, customer service, sales, and any seasonal employment, including public works, are already finding this to be the case.

If you have additions to this blog, please comment below or email me.

Never Give Up Indicates Motivating Motivate And Determination

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