Welcome to “Dear Dana”, our weekly column to give you career and workplace advice/coaching. Please write in and tell me about a career challenge or frustration you’re facing at the office! – Dana Theus
I have been on a number of interviews and they all seem to go well. I have a number of great conversations, brainstorm with the crew, meet with execs for at least an hour at a time, brainstorm with them, and consider the interview a success. However, I haven’t had a job offer.
I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. In one case, the hiring manager referred me to a different group, which I wasn’t totally qualified to meet with. Some additional background info: I have a lot of experience in my field (+15 years) as well as management experience. I have some solid accomplishments and awards for what I contributed to different organizations. They are great success stories! The metrics all contributed to the bottom line. So you know, I have been applying for individual contributor positions. Is the problem that I should be applying for manager positions? Or higher? Am I applying for the wrong job level?
Management Material in Miami(?)
Dear Management Material:
When you find yourself in a situation where you’re getting lots of interest but no job offers, it means something is out of alignment in your job search. Without knowing more about your specific situation I can’t tell you what it is, but check out this list of possibilities and see if one of them rings true for you.
- Maybe you’re looking for the wrong cultural fit. For example, maybe you think you fit in a hard-driving organization but your heart wants a more laid-back atmosphere. Culture fit is one of the main reasons people who are qualified don’t get the offer.
- You’re up against more competition than you were earlier in your career. As you pointed out, you have a lot of experience, and probably a good salary, which may be pricing you out of the individual contributor positions you’re targeting. The higher you go, and older you get, the more expensive you are, and with some exceptions for highly technical and unique positions, your options in the individual contributor category get smaller with age, salary and experience. Be careful about applying for a higher management position if you don’t have much management experience behind you, though. Be thoughtful about how you communicate why you’re looking for management opportunities at this point in your career.
- Maybe you’re looking for the wrong position. Are you clear on what you want? And why? When you’re crystal clear on what your dream job looks like, and why you’re a great fit for it, you and the recruiters will weed you out of the interview process earlier for jobs that are a poor fit. This increases your chances of success in the interviews you do get and saves everyone the effort of interviewing you for opportunities that just aren’t quite right for you.
Be sure to go back to the places that didn’t give you the offers and ask them for candid feedback. Don’t just go to the recruiter, but if you can reach out to anyone you interviewed with – or others in the company who might be able to learn more on your behalf – you’ll get different perspectives. Be clear that you’re asking for your own self-understanding. You should learn something from those discussions about what you can do next time around.
Don’t get discouraged, though. Getting the right job for you right now is always going to take time and be a process. You’re looking for the perfect next step in your career, so be choosey and learn about yourself in the process. That way when you find the perfect fit, you—and they—will know it immediately.
P.S. – Have a question you’d like anonymous support on? Write me!