Frustrating Job Search? Don’t Play the Blame Game

Frustrating Job Search? Don’t Play the Blame Game

When you face a job search setback, such as not getting hired after an interview, where do you place the blame? The economy? Your age, race or gender? The foolishness of hiring managers?  Blaming external factors over which you have little control may be convenient, but it probably does little to advance your job search.

Acknowledge Reality

It’s true, the economy is struggling. There is a lot of competition for every job opening. It’s OK to acknowledge those factors.  But consider: When you apply for a job and are not hired, someone else got the job. How did they overcome all the obstacles to getting hired and succeed? The most common reasons include:

  • They presented themselves as the best person to solve problems for the company
  • They had chemistry or “fit” with the hiring manager, the team and the work environment
  • They came highly recommended
  • They highlighted their match to the job requirements
  • They effectively tied their past successes to the current needs and as a promise of future value

The reality is someone got the job because, out of all the applicants, they did the best job at most or all of the items above.

Don’t Assume

With those factors in mind, there is little reason to assume you were not hired due to an external factor such as age or the number of applicants.   By jumping to that conclusion, job seekers prevent themselves from self-examination and improvement. A job seeker recently said to me “I matched all their requirements. I had the experience they wanted. I did a good job in the interview. So it must be my age. What else could it be?”   There are a lot of things it could be:

  • You matched their requirements but didn’t make that clear to them
  • You had the right experience but didn’t tie your past success to future value for the company
  • You believe you interview well, but you haven’t checked that with anyone by doing a practice interview
  • You were so confident you were right for the job, you came off as arrogant or off-putting
  • You failed to create rapport and connection with interviewers
  • You didn’t find and use an inside connection to learn more about the position or to introduce you to the company and hiring manager

There are many reasons why people don’t get hired. Assuming it’s an external factor may stop you from uncovering the true underlying problem and resolving it.  Learn more about how to uncover the real reasons and learn from them by reading “Handling Rejection”.

Don’t Bother With Blame

When my child loses a soccer game, he is likely to say “Boy, that referee was really unfair,” or “The other team sure played dirty,” or “It’s not fair they have a better practice facility.” Any of those statements may or may not be true. The tough-love in me comes out when I say “Don’t waste time placing blame. The other team won because they got more points. They got more points because they played better.”   All you can control is your own performance on the field, and in your job search.  Play the best game you can. Practice harder than anyone else. Show up with the most energy and enthusiasm. Apply a better strategy. Own your own success.

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4 thoughts on “Frustrating Job Search? Don’t Play the Blame Game

  1. You are absolutely correct the blame game is negative thinking and counter productive. It is still very much a buyers market. We all have interviews that we feel went well but you don’t get the offer. When that happens to me I think back to the one or two things that I said and wished I hadn’t or to a missed opportunity to inject something into the discussion that could have boosted my chances. Those situations sometimes occur even if you are on your game. If you seem to always come up just short don’t be afraid to ask for feedback as to what could you have improved on or done differently or a skill set you should think about working on. A good recruiter or HR person should be able to give you some info.

  2. you are people sooo naive. To ask for feedback ? What kind of feedback are you expecting ? I have been asking for feedback after each interview for 1+ year of my job search. 99% – never answer. You know why ? they are afraid to tell you the truth so you would not take a legal action. the rest 1% usually says something general ” you do not have enough experience” or ” we decided to move in different direction” . Useful feedback, huh ? So, asking for feedback does not work.
    As for those bullet points state above : you cannot manufacture chemistry, you cannot change your past experience and you are what you are. They either like you ( and hire you) or they do not like you ( even though you graduated from Harvard) and will not hire you. The more candidates they have the pickier they get, you could be 99% match but still not get hired.
    I do all the best I can, HOW COME my interviewing strategy worked during good economy and does not work now ? I’m so pissed with this economy, employers, bored hiring managers, I wish I was 80 y.old and retired and did not have to go through this humiliating experience of job search. I have two masters degrees. have a good one.

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