Q. I have been job hunting for a while and I think I am driving myself crazy! So far I have been on 4 interviews that sounded as if they would lead to job offers. I never heard back from 2 of them—even though they were the final interviews. One company turned me down and I turned down the only one that wanted me. Am I doing something wrong?
A. We have all seen the signs and advertisements begging for new hires and offering all types of incentives. In this job market, why would you get to the final interviews over and over again and never receive job offers? Here are three possible reasons:
- The company changed its mind. The position is no longer needed, they decided to hire internally, an emergency diverted their attention, they offered the job to another candidate, they changed the responsibilities or requirements for the job—the possibilities are endless.
- You blew the last interview. You may have turned off the path toward success by seeming more interested in benefits or perks than in your contribution to the company; acting bored or resentful; complaining about your current boss or company; or fumbling the answers to questions—preparing for every interview is essential.
- The information on your resume did not check out. Sooner or later any interested company will check your resume for accuracy. Lying or exaggerating on your resume is the quickest way to lose a job. You may think that you successfully glided past an issue, but it will rise to the surface.
- This was not the job for you. Sometimes no one can make sense of a company’s final decision. Harboring resentment or blaming yourself will halt your efforts and prevent you from recognizing the next great opportunity. Consider every “no” in a job search as a catapult to something better.
If a job disappears after the final interview, and you are sure you did your best, the first and last reasons are most likely. You cannot control a company’s decisions, and you have nothing to feel bad about. However, you may want to seek out a professional resume writer and coach, just to make sure that every “i” is dotted and every “t” is crossed.
Not receiving a job offer is hard but why would you turn down a job offer? Here are three good reasons to do just that:
- The interviews set off warning bells. If interviewers are confused about your intended role, act impatient at questions, give you conflicting answers, or barely pay attention as if your role and interest in the company do not matter, you should consider crossing that company off your list. If anything during the interview rises to the level of harassment or undue pressure, you are justified in politely leaving.
- The offer letter fails to match what you discussed during the interview. You should receive an offer letter before you quit your current job, and the offer letter should match what you discussed in every detail: salary, start date, title. If the letter is inconsistent with the terms you agreed to, you should clarify and ask for a new offer letter or turn down the job.
- Your research reveals a problem. Some red flags emerge only as you get closer to a job offer. You visit the offices and see a slew of empty spaces—does that indicate high turnover? You see a lack of diversity or a high level of stress among employees—will you fit into the culture? The salary and benefits offered are too low and break with industry practices—does the company undervalue employees? Do more research, trust your gut, and turn down the job offer if you still feel troubled.
As hard as it is, sometimes turning down a job offer is the smartest move you can make. You might also make sure that the offers you receive align with your real goals and preferences—are you applying for the right jobs for you? Again, a professional resume writer and coach can help you direct your efforts toward a job you actually want.