Three Interviews in Four Days

(Source: flickr.com via @hlwindcrampe)

Yes, it’s up to this point. Thankfully, there is a small window of opportunity here. Three companies that were happy to chat with roles that are in my wheelhouse.

Unlike last year, at least I’m still getting paid. The situation isn’t so desperate and I actually feel that I have a chance. I know I’ve hired myself in the past but this feels different. I am calmer and when I’m there yakking with the HR folk, I am less emotionally involved, like I’m watching it all from above.

I don’t know if that helps in the long run but it feels less painful if I get rejected (yeah, I’m thinking of that, too). The most valuable thing I’ve learned is that I know what I like and this current job isn’t that.


On Rejection

(Source : flickr.com via @RickMandel

The thing I hate most about this job search is the rejection. More than the tedium of trawling through job ads, scraping through worn networks for a potential connection and the unnoticed customization of CV and cover letters, being told that you’re not wanted is the worst.

My first interview of 2015 happened last week. That was quickly followed by a presentation to the whole team yesterday. The pace of discussion was a fillip for my confidence. Yes, I’m wanted.

Then there was some feedback from the contact who instigated the opportunity. She said that I maybe talked too much and should have been more succinct. There were questions about my ability to deal with ambiguity (really?). Yes, it annoys me that the virtual singing and dancing that has to be done to impress people boils down to the proverbial sequins on your outfit but I guess they’re the people with the power. Maybe it’s just my interview technique.

Today, I’m waiting and stewing. It seems like the decision is on the edge and I’d be continuing this search a little longer. The worst part is that the more it draws on, the less you feel like you have any ability at all. Perhaps it’s time to look for a way to take the decision-making and power in my own hands? Not sure. I’m a little lost and really which way is up.


“You’re the Preferred Candidate…”

(Source: flickr.com via @AlexTurton)

That is, until the client met somebody else.

Sure, this just happened today. Before Christmas I had met with a recruiter and subsequently his client. All went well. The company was in a state of flux, trying to modernize itself, just the kind of environment I’d like. There were also a few former colleagues there who vouched for me. All seemed well. Everything seemed to signal that I would be it.

Then there was another job ad for the same role. Despite assurances from the recruiter that I was their preferred, apparently they had met other candidates and while I was pencilled in for a final round interview, that has since been pulled in favor of another candidate. The recruiter then called to say that it wasn’t me it was the client. In all this, it’s hard to know who’s telling the truth. For a moment, I felt incredible rage with the amount of flexibility I’ve provided to both the recruiter and the client and this treatment just makes me think less of them.

The only thing I know is that I’ve got my drawing board to go back to and a shaving of trust has been ground into powder between me, that recruiter and that company.

For all the false claims that I aim not to make, why is it that folks on the recruiting side never feel that they could do the same?


We Offered That Role Last Friday

Source: flickr.com via @id-iom

The thing about this job hunt is that the power is clearly on the recruiting side. You can point to all manner of factors: a weak economy (hence soft job supply), a recruiter looking to maximize returns so filters all responses to applicants, and maybe even my own skill set which could be deemed either too senior or too junior.

The worst aspect is the inability of recruiters to be fully truthful or to maintain an ongoing relationship (of course, there are exceptions but they’re just that, outliers). Their task (it seems to me) is to plow through as much inventory (applicants) to quickly find the right fit for the client and not care too much about how they treat said supply. The “Dear Applicant” letters are such an example – I go to the effort of being cordial and I get this impersonal response.

So, when I applied for a juicy role and met with the recruiter, I was enthused. She appeared happy with my background, even to the point of saying, this role sounds a lot like what you’ve done in the past, yes? After interviewing with the hiring manager (which I thought went swimmingly), I heard nothing from them – not the recruiter, not the company. Being accustomed to this, I sent an email a few weeks later to the recruiter asking for feedback about my technique and how I could position myself better for future roles. Surprisingly, she said that she had no update from the company and would follow up and I’d hear from her that afternoon. There was a little flit of joy but in hindsight I should know better. Delays of this sort are never good. I didn’t hear from her that afternoon. I didn’t even hear the next day. I finally received an email a day later saying that the role was offered the week before but she would call me to give some feedback. That phone call never happened.

I’ve read that people who are in my position tend to not trust people once they get back into work. After these recruiter experiences, I think there is some truth to that. Now I’ve got a few roles in the works, I know better than to put too much stock in a recruiter’s words. Such a shame.


“Our Decision Making Will Be Quick…”

Source: flickr.com via @LisaNorwood

Until it isn’t. I’ve had many interviews over the last eight months (gasp) and there have been a few hiring managers that have claimed that their decision making will be quick and that I would know one way or another whether I would be the right candidate or not.

Promises of a two-week turnaround and that their personal experiences about not being notified would not happen with me. So much for those claims. One guy actually opened with this. He said that in an interview, with my old company no less,  he was told that they would let him know about their decision about his application and he never heard from them. He asserted that this would not happen in my case. Guess what? He never got in touch.

In another interview, this one over Skype, the hiring manager says that she would be speedy and that getting this role filled was a priority for her. That was a month ago. No email. No phone call. Nothing. I’ve hassled the recruiter and she made some claim that she would find out on that day. That was early this week. Still nothing.

So, this goes into one of my vows. If I ever get back into hiring for someone again, I want to deal with applicants personally and respect the application and effort they went into. I wouldn’t want people to be treated like this again.


Post Rejection Blues

Source: flickr.com via @0n3d0v3

This week, I thought I came close to getting a job. So close. During the interview, I had the feeling that I couldn’t be passed over and somehow I had it in the bag. In previous job interviews, there was that trepidation, the fear that perhaps I wasn’t supposed to be there. This time, it was different. Could I have been too over confident?

In any case, I didn’t get the role. When the recruiter called me he mentioned that the other candidate had a little more experience in something (even though that something wasn’t discussed in my interview). In his feedback, he said I spoke well, had good energy and he couldn’t fault me. It just wasn’t meant to be.

So, I’m here dreading Christmas and the thought of not having any money coming in. It’s a big childhood dread, going without. Couple that with a severe reduction in self-confidence, displaced by an enormous splosh of self-doubt. Am I any good? Have I just wasted most of my career not keeping up to date and not networking well enough? All this, just compounding.

It takes a whole lot of effort just to keep myself upright. I could easily just fall and wallow but there’s family and the duty. How to keep standing when things aren’t quite falling my way?



Source: flickr.com via @Nathan H

So much for the optimism from a few days ago. The case study interview was today and I totally bombed. Bombed. It was embarrassing.

My thoughts were scattered and I couldn’t keep it together. The most painful part is that case interviews for me is largely about showing capability and the situation is under my control. And here it was and I missed.

I am pained because it’s a missed chance. I’ve been waiting five months for this. I had a shot at changing things and just whiffed.

The positive spin is that I’ve practiced a structure that I think I can use in future. While at the gym, I thought of the cases I miffed and ran through my protocol. It works. It demonstrates my thinking process in a an organized way. Well, it should work. I only hope I have another shot at it.