One of the most exasperating aspects of job interviewing is succeeding in impressing the hiring manager but not landing the job. This has happened to me a few times during the last 16 months. The job description perfectly matches my background and skill set, so I studiously research the employer and the department.
The initial phone screening interview goes exceedingly well – so well, in fact, the hiring manager invites me to the department’s office for an interview with her and two employees. During the interview, the manager says how impressed she is with my experience and work. The younger employee seems excited that I can help her with her loads of work. I answer every question with proof and confidence that I can do the job. I say how eager I am to work with this quality organization and know I can make an immediate contribution. At the end of the interview, I even ask if there are any concerns that I cannot perform any of the job duties, and they say no. They seem impressed, and say so. When I am escorted out by the younger employee, I am told this is a wonderful place to work and she tells me I should expect to hear something within one week.
I write a stellar thank you letter to the manager and mention how I am excited to work with all members of the staff, whom I mention by name. I reiterate my qualifications and how I can bring results. I write that I see this position as a long-term opportunity to help the organization grow and succeed.
A week-and-a-half goes by with no correspondence. I do something I usually don’t – call the hiring manager to inquire about the status of the position. She tells me “the process and the hiring decision has been a difficult one,” but doesn’t tell me flat out that I am not in the running. I can tell by the sound in her voice that I have not been selected, but she doesn’t have the guts to tell me I was not selected and wants to leave that dirty work for HR. That impression is solidified when I ask her when I should expect to hear a final decision. “You should hear something by the end of the month, either from us or HR.”
Although I am almost certain I did not get the job, I email her another thank you and information about my awards and achievements that relate to the job. I end the email with an appreciation that I am being considered to work for such an outstanding organization.
A few days later, I receive an email from her stating succinctly this: “I wanted to let you know that we have concluded our search for our XXXX position and have made an offer to an individual who has a long working history with our organization. We all enjoyed meeting you and recognize your many talents. We wish you all the best.”
A few days later, she returns my sample work DVD in the mail with a note: “Thanks again for your interest in our position – we had a very strong pool of candidates, and the process was lengthy and challenging. You certainly have a lot to offer – best of luck, and best regards.”
I like the 'best of luck' ending the best. In this economy, luck is what you need.