And the Winner is?
Even movie stars don’t always get to finish first. Michelle McCarthy and Jessica Chastain wanted to win an Oscar this year but Octavia Spencer won instead. Were they excited when they were nominated? Absolutely. Were they disappointed or upset when they lost? I’m sure they were. Did losing that one award result in them changing careers? Of Course not.
Being invited to the final stage of an interview process is exciting. Making it to the final interview is like being nominated for an award. You feel proud that you made it this far. You let yourself imagine starting your new life in this great job. Unfortunately just like the Oscars there’s usually one winner for a job and losing totally sucks.
When it’s down to a few candidates the competition is fierce and the candidates are strong. Whatever happens, being runner up is an awful feeling.
You don’t get a silver medal or a fancy trophy. You just get a phone call saying they chose someone else who was a little stronger and a better match for the role and company.
What are you supposed to do now? Cry, yell, throw something, or give up? I would never have thought I’d write these words but we can actually learn something from movie stars in this case.
When Michelle McCarthy lost she didn’t cry or seem upset, at least she didn’t on television. She put on a fake smile, clapped, and showed her support for Octavia. They key point here is that you should stay calm and maintain your professionalism.
So why are nominated actors and actress’ on their best behaviour? It’s because the award show is broadcast to millions of viewers. More importantly they don’t want to appear unprofessional and ungrateful. It’s an honour to be nominated for an Oscar.
It Really is An Honour
People forget that it really is an honour to make it to the final round of interviews. If you made it this far you probably beat 50 other candidates. Think about this, there are only about 2 or 3 people in the same position as you. That is, speaking directly to VP’s/Directors/hiring managers who will continue to have vacant roles in the future. Even when you’re not a suitable candidate for this particular role, if you impress them they will think of you for another role or a when a role opens in the future.
So stay cool, maintain your professionalism, and keep in contact with companies you really want to work with. Especially if you’ve made it to the final interview stage at one of them.
It’s Hard To Choose
It’s actually really difficult for employers to decide on one successful candidate. From my experience most employers would also love to hire the runner up but can’t for various reasons, mostly financial. I’ve noticed that if the runner up continues to show enthusiasm to work at the company they end up getting offered a role within 6 months. Most of the time the runner up is not available because another company has already snatched them up!
Prepare Yourself to Lose
Not everyone can win and you’re usually going up against the best in the industry. It’s not the end of the world when you don’t get the position. Life will go on and it usually all works out anyway. Of course it’s easy to say this now. You won’t feel that way at the time.
Go in with confidence when you get invited to the final stage of an interview process. You need to believe in yourself and give everything you’ve got. When the interview process is over (you’ve sent your thank you letter right?!) prepare yourself for the worst. Being confident during the interview is key but take a some time to really think about how you did. Think about whether you really are perfect for the job or if the job is even perfect for you.
Most people think they did great during the interview but we all know that’s not true. You are the only one who knows the truth. You are the only one who know’s how well you really answered each question. What the body language was like from the interviewers and what kind of feedback you got along the way.
Most interviewers will be honest and tell you that you don’t have the exact experience they are looking for. Maybe you don’t have experience in one of the industries the role requires but everyone knows you can learn and pick things up during the first few months.
Dream Job or Just the Perfect Job Right Now
Often people tell me the job they didn’t get was their dream job. It’s interesting to note that I rarely hear that before hand. I never hear from friends that they saw their dream posting and that they’re confident they’ll get the job. In reality they applied to a dozen jobs. Only after they get invited to interviews do the jobs turn into their dream job.
Too many people get overwhelmed by the invitation to an interview. They can’t even think straight. They’re only thinking one thing, leaving their current job.
The Grass Is Always Greener
Most people decide to search for another job when they are not happy with their current situation. There’s no need to look for work when you’re happy with your current employment situation. People just get too excited about the interview that they forget to even look in depth at the job and the company. The excitement of the interview overwhelms them and they forget to figure out if this is actually a good move or not.
It’s nice to feel wanted and that’s how you feel when you get invited to an interview. You feel special. You’re proud of your resume, your work experience, and you secretly like that feeling of knowing not everyone will get invited.
It feels good to be wanted by another company. People forget they aren’t actually perfect for the role or have the greatest interview skills.
All I can suggest is that it’s important to stay humble at the final stages. Sometimes recruiters will knowingly bring in a terrible candidate to make another candidate look better. Just remember that you’re not the only one who is being interviewed. You are not the only person that the interviewers seemed to like.
Candidates also forget to use this opportunity to network. Yes you want to win but there is a good chance you won’t so what’s your plan B? Are you going to storm off and act like a child because you didn’t get the job? I sincerely hope not although I’ve seen it enough times to know some of you will do this.
Be sure to take the names and connect with the top dogs who make the decisions throughout the whole interview process. If you play your cards right these are the folks who will remember you and recommend you for another role. You never know, they might introduce you to another company and open more doors for you than you ever dreamed. I’ve seen this happen too.
At the End of the Day
Losing doesn’t feel good but it’s not the end of the world. You tried your best and gave it your all but it’s just not meant to be. If you continue to go through life with the same drive and enthusiasm that you brought to those interviews then I’m sure you will land your real dream job soon.
Be honest with yourself and always, ALWAYS apply and interview with other companies. Don’t stop your job search just because you had one good interview.