nail-interview.jpgThere’s nothing worse than getting close to a job offer but getting nada.

Recently I wrote a story on a new job interviewing phenomenon I call the interview odyssey. Applicants are put through six, seven, even ten interviews for one job. They’re forced to meet with everyone from the CEO to HR manager to the guy in the mailroom…not that there’s anything wrong with meeting the guy in the mailroom. But all this work often ends up in disappointment.

One woman I interviewed for the interview-odyssey story just emailed me and said after endless interviews at yet another company, she didn’t get the gig, yet again.

“Well Eve after 9 interviews, for that one same job, I received my rejection notice for the Second Company. It was preceded by a request for feedback on what I thought of their interview process (I wasn’t about to touch that one).

“So I am back where I started, facing unemployment come the second week in May. As I mentioned, I am an adjunct teacher for a community college, and for a local University, and the summer work will be nil or next to it.

“I need to re-evaluate, after coming so close with two employers!”

My first reaction to her saying she needs to reevaluate her situation was why? At least she made it to the interview process. So many job seekers never even hear from hiring managers after they send their resumes into the cyber black hole.

But I reached out to an expert in recruiting to see what she thought of this situation and she actually had a name for people like the perpetual interviewee.

“In our business, we call these people ‘bridesmaids’ because they never seem to be able to progress to the final stage,” said Beth Gilfeather, CEO and Founder, Seven Step Recruiting.

Ouch!. I’m not loving that analogy but I guess it works in this context.

“Getting interviews and getting hired are two different things, obviously,” she noted. These bridesmaids, she continued, “are typically very likeable, good communicators and well-prepared for interviews. They’re following all the rules – doing and saying the right things, but what they don’t have is an ‘X factor.’”

“When employers get to the offer stage, something needs to drive them to do so,” Gilfeather explained. “If a candidate has been the same throughout the process (even if that means consistently good), hiring managers may not feel that urge to pull that trigger. They are looking for something more.”

For those of you trying to make it to the job alter, she offered this advice:

Bridesmaids should think about creating a “moment” in the final round. Being qualified gets you interview, but offering a value add gets you offers. Bringing this “X factor” to the table will pleasantly surprise the hiring manager and provide just the right amount of oomph to catalyze an offer. Here are a few ideas:

· Be honest, sincere and very specific about why you like this role. Use an anecdote about discussing this recently with your spouse, partner, or best friend to make this explanation heartfelt.
· Research one of the problems the company is having ahead of time and offer a thoughtful proposal on how you would handle it, or how your previous employers have handled this.
· Ask intriguing questions about the project and scope of work that showcase your intelligence and analytical skills.
· Offer to make an introduction to anyone within your network who you feel may be a good professional connection for this hiring manager.
· Point to the team as a big attraction for you and specifically reference the personalities you’ve met during the interview process and how you think the team could come together.
· Make personal connections where they exist and engage the hiring manager on common points of interest. Do you both run marathons? Have you both worked for the same company before or attended the same school?

Being “good” doesn’t get you to the finish line. Candidates need to be “great” to get an offer. Use that final interview to create a crescendo of interest that results in an offer.

A crescendo! Any thoughts on what that might be for you?

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