The Also Rans

Going to job interviews is a lot like being in a horse race, once the starter’s pistol goes off the race is on between yourself and the other candidates.

Two weeks ago┬áI was contacted by an educational establishment to attend an interview at short notice for an assistant manager post. I have no idea how many candidates there were (though by the timing I would guess about 3 people maximum) but I had to go through a tough panel interview which left me a little shaken but not stirred…

Take positive action towards improving the odds next time

Anyway the outcome was that I was unsuccessful. However, I decided to follow up the reply and request some feedback to shed some light on my interview performance and most importantly I requested that constructive critiscism was welcomed. Why?, you may ask. Well I believe that an applicant that fails to secure a post deserves an honest explanation of why they didn’t succeed. It is all too easy thesedays for HR people to send out standard “form” letters that offer no real explanation or just simply tell the recipient what he/she wants to hear.

Personally, I would prefer honest critiscism anyday as I would treat it as an opportunity to learn something about the way others see me and my abilities and possibly take positive action towards improving the odds next time. Of course I feel like an “also ran” like all the other horse riders feel who don’t make 1st place.

I can take some comfort in that I was among strong competition and that I was in the top 3, which is nothing to be sniffed at.

So if you end up in the final round of interviews and don’t get the job remember to do the following:

  • Request feedback from the employer
  • Ask for an honest appraisal of your performance
  • Take the comments onboard and internalise them
  • Thank the interviewer for taking the time to reply

Life can be unfair and there’s not always a lot we can do about it. We need to learn from the experience and move on with our lives and concentrate our efforts on the next race.