Benefits of failing a job interview
Episode 6 - The secret benefits of failing a job interview
No opportunity should be lost when you have invested so much time and effort in applying for the role you didn't get. Let's find out how to make lemonade of your lemon!
Please get to know recruiters and people in other organizations, departments, sectors: In the podcast, I give a great example of someone who applied for a role even though he wasn't convinced himself he was a good fit.
Get connected to them via LinkedIn and keep in touch (schedule it!). I don't recommend connecting with recruiters on LinkedIn. If you want to stay in touch, add them to your phone contacts, make a list on excel, but don't add all recruiters to your connections on LinkedIn because what will happen is…listen to the podcast to find out. But you can and should connect with employers. Listen to the podcast, and I will explain when.
Visit other workplaces: to find out more about other businesses and finetune what you want of a new job. Learn how I was interviewed once in a "fish tank," which was very not cool!
Become better at job interviews: less fragile, more resilient, better skilled.
Remember failing at job interviews is expected, much more common than we think.
Politicians like Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders – built relationships and became even more famous.
Australian Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's first attempt at Rhodes declined: see the reference note for the interesting article about it.
Anna Wintour had a messy career progression
Resources mentioned in this episode
Transcript of this episode
Hi everyone. It's a beautiful morning here in Melbourne and I'm super excited because this podcast will be storytelling and I have stories to tell so I'm really excited. My name is Renata and this is The Job Hunting Podcast where I share ideas to help you nail your next job and have the career that you want to have. If this is the type of content for you, you're currently on the market looking for a new job, you are keen to get a new job early next year or before the year ends. It doesn't matter. Just follow us. and I also give tips on how to advance or change careers, ask for promotions and be ready to elevate your game inside your own business, the organization that you work at right now, so you don't have to move and make that stressful process.
Make sure you subscribe by clicking on the subscribe button below or anywhere on the podcast host you're listening to. If you are on to podcasts like me, you know what to do. But if you're new to this, like my mom, Hey mom, there's a button somewhere. It says subscribe, press it, leave me a review please. I'd love that and please do share this episode with someone you believe will benefit from listening, possibly someone not in the race with you on your job hunting pursuit! The episode notes will include information on where to find me, which is basically everywhere, but I do tend to hang out more on my Facebook page, which I've just created and hopefully by the time this podcast is up, it will have you and a nice little group there for us to hang out.
And yes, you can find me on LinkedIn. I am a true professional, so I am on LinkedIn like everybody else should be in my view. You're welcome to connect with me, but I don't discuss career transition on my LinkedIn posts. I use LinkedIn mainly for my main business. I'm a business consultant, and I will keep it that way. But of course, you can send me a message, connect, ask me questions, anywhere I'm in. Whatever platform you choose.
So, let's jump into it. the topic today is “no opportunities should be lost when you have invested so much time and effort at applying for the role you didn't get. Let's find out how to make a lemonade of your lemon”. I wrote that down. I thought, Oh, I'm so clever, and then I didn't want to write anything else because, you know, I was tired. It was a long day yesterday. So I came up with three actions and beliefs that you should have when you don't get the job that you applied for.
Let's start with number one and then I'll tell a few stories that enrich the advice I'm about to give. So you apply for a job, you don't get it. You got to know recruiters and people in other organizations or departments and sectors. If you've applied for an internal promotion or internal job, that will expand your brand and your personal narrative, you know, things we've discussed in previous podcasts, but also you will experience talking about yourself and delivering that pitch that everybody talks about, that reinforces your professional identity. You will be telling people what you want to do with your career and where you're heading. Those are very important, but the connections you make, you know, the network that you start building are very important as well because it may not be the right role for you right now. That one, for whatever reason, the selection panel decided to choose somebody else. But hopefully you will have made a good impression. Remember, if you go all the way to the point of getting a call, or better, going to an interview, you’re learning, you're on the right track, you are a good candidate. And if you didn't get to that, you can now go back to your resume, your cover letter or whatever application they requested from you, and revisit that and refine and be better next time. So, apply for a role. And you will see that as a glass half full.
I'll give you a few examples. Let’s say you saw an opportunity and it's not a perfect job opportunity, it doesn't completely match your skills and strengths, but there is a 50% synergy between what you do and what the position responsibilities are asking of a candidate. And you say, you know what, I'm a candidate with potential, right? So you're coming in with potential, not an exact experience. And sometimes that potential to grow is something that the selection panel could be looking for, especially if you're going for an internal promotion or a job within the same organization. So they know your skills, they know your reputation, they know that you don't exactly match that opportunity, but you might grow within the role, which is great for them. They may have the opportunity to mold you into a great role and make you a great manager, leader, coordinator or whatever role you're going into. But if you go “I'm not the right candidate for the role”, you won’t have met people that may potentially come back to you with different opportunities, even when they are not advertise, that are not public yet. They will call you and say “there's a role coming out. Would you be interested in it?” Or they may make it public but give you a call anyway because they will think of you. And that happens with external recruiters and internal recruiters as well. I know someone who has applied for a role very recently and the recruiter called them immediately to say “look, this is not the right role for you, but I'm very keen to meet you. Let's have a coffee.” Right? My friend didn't even get an interview or a proper call, but the recruiter was keen to meet him because they saw that he was a good candidate, great resume, a great experience, just not exactly the best fit for this role, but being a good recruiter he wanted to have that candidate in their pool of good candidates for future roles. So that was a good thing. This also happened to me many years ago. I received the call. I was very happy in the role that I was in. I had no intention to move to the role that this wonderful head-hunter was offering me. It wasn't really something that inspired me. It didn't bring me joy. It wasn't a Marie Kondo kind of moment, but I really liked the way that she approached me and why she thought it was a good idea for me to consider it. She said all the right things on the phone and I said, you know, this is not the right time for me. I'm happy. In fact, I remember, well, I was new to this new role and it was a big row for me and I think it wasn't even like six months into the role and I, I said to the head-hunter, I've just started, you know, why would you think I would be ready for another role? And she said something that I thought was really clever and wise. She said, if you don't think that the role you're in now is a good fit for you, it's better to leave earlier than later. But it was a good fit and I didn't leave. but it just, that stayed with me because you don't want to dig a hole for yourself and stay in a situation that's bad for one reason or another. And sometimes you don't really know where you're landing and there's that stress as well of figuring out, Oh, where am I, this is not good. So she was offering me a way out and I was very grateful to her.
So what happened was when, when I was ready to leave the role years later, she was the first person I called and I said, look, I don't think I want to renew my contract, it’s months from now, but I thought you should be the first one to know and I'd love to work with you. And if there's anything popping up in the near future, please give me a call. I'd love for us to work together. So those connections are invaluable.
The second reason why it's a great thing to apply for a row and it's okay not to get it.
You should get connected with the people that interview you on LinkedIn and keep in touch regularly. I think that that's okay. I've done that and I like it. But disclaimer here, I don't recommend my clients to connect with recruiters and head-hunters on LinkedIn. I really don't. If you want to keep in touch with them, add them to your phone contacts, make a spreadsheet of good head-hunters out there, their contact details, where they work, keeping touch with them outside of LinkedIn. I think that if you all of a sudden are job hunting and all your new connections are recruiters, it sends a message out there that you may not want to people to know. And there is no reason, they don’t expect you to connect with them on LinkedIn. I once asked that questions to a head-hunter and she said “no, I actually don't recommend”, she told me. And I followed her recommendation. Or his recommendation? Yes, I think it was a guy. I am connected to lots of head-hunters and recruiters on LinkedIn, because I've always known that eventually I would get out of the corporate sector and do this and I've always really enjoyed meeting them and that's an important network for me if I want to become an expert in job hunting.
Right. So I am connected with lots of them, but I don't recommend that to my clients. What I am recommending though is if you apply for a job that does not have recruiters involved or if there are recruiters involved, but you've got to a point where you've been interviewed a couple of times. All right. So I was interviewed, it was a very senior role, so I was interviewed four times for over months, and twice it was a boardroom presentation, two boardroom presentations and you know, questions and answers and a lot of connections with, at the board level, that board and those individuals are still in my network and they are very close.
And I actually am quite connected as well with the person who got that role that I didn't get. And that's all fine, you know, and I think that we need to get over the fact that we didn't get the role and, and that's a failure. It's not a failure to get to that point is really an amazing opportunity. I've in the previous podcast said, you know, if somebody doesn't win a race, what does that mean? Serena Williams does not win the Australian open. Is she a loser? No, not in my eyes. She's fantastic, right? She's a great candidate and she may go on and win the American Open and so on. So connect with those employers, they really liked you. They worked hard to find the best fit for their organization, but it's a good connection to have and that there could be a future role for you in their career development and vice versa. They may consider you for other opportunities.
Okay. What else? Third, the third reason why it's okay to fail at a job interview. And I think this is a really important one and it happened to me. So I have a great story to tell: you are going to job interviews and you are going to become less fragile. You become more resilient every time you do a selection process like that, start to finish. Your skills at job hunting get better. Your ability to talk about yourself and to answer questions confidently is important. But if you don't win that race, if that job wasn't for you, resilience is when you get really low and you bounce back. And anti-fragility is when you don't need to bounce back at all. Hold your head up high, you receive the news and you're like, yup, okay, move on.
What have I learned here? Then move on. And that is where you want to be. If you are job hunting for months and some people do, depending on the sector, depending on the country or your age, it could be months until you find a new job. I know people that have been job hunting for a year and you know, it has to do with their sector and their age and where they live at the moment and the opportunities around them. They have some constraints. They don't want to move, for example. So you need to be patient and you need to build not just resiliency. You need to be anti-fragile. And if you want to know more about anti fragility, I am yet to read the book. I have it here in front of me. It's upside down. Let me read the tile: The Black Swan. I will read this book. I really want to, I've read a lot of articles and research around that topic, but not the book itself. And I'll put the link on the on the episode. Nassim Taleb. He's quite a well-known management researcher.
I also put a list together of people that failed at their big job interviews and, and I think it's good for us to remember that politicians like Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, John McCain, what a huge job interview these guys went through. Regardless of your political affiliation, I'm talking about the process, right? The process is ridiculous. It's so intense and so stressful and they lost. And guess what? People that loved them still do. People that hate them probably hate them still as well. But their career is not over [except for Senator McCain, bless his sole] in terms of their ability to get other gigs or their opportunities and even reapply for the role again if they want to, like Bernie Sanders. And people like John McCain, he was still incredibly influential and so is Hillary. It doesn't matter that they didn't get the gig of being a president of the US.
One story that I like, it's about the former Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull. And I read this and I found the article, I'll have it in the episode notes. So for this podcast, I've been clever, right? So what I did is I did some research before because in the previous episodes I did no research and then I had to, you know, dig in, search for things I had said I was going to put on the episode notes and it was quite hard. So this time I did the other way around. I found things first and then they are easier for me to refer to as I speak.
So why I like this story? So Malcolm Turnbull is a Rhodes Scholar. Rhodes scholarships are very prestigious scholarships. You go to Oxford; you have to be quite young to get them. It's a very competitive process. And he failed in his first attempt at Rhodes. And what happened was, I think, let me try to remember, I think he failed in 79 and, then in 1980, they probably didn't have enough good candidates, so they gave him a call and then he was a 1980 Rhodes Scholar for Australia. And the reason why people found out is because the archives of this library of the Governor General of Australia, his notes were made public and it said quite funny things about Malcom and it was in the news and it was really cute.
And well I thought it was hilarious. So I'll put the article in the episode now. So you know, he failed. And then he got it afterwards.
Another one that I recently found out had a very messy career progression is Anna Wintour, the famous Vogue editor in the US. She seems so all powerful and confident and great at her job and has been doing it for years. But she was fired many times early in her career. And some of her attempts at changing some of her earlier magazines that she worked for went really bad and she got fired quite a few times and she applied for work she didn't get. So, I was really impressed with that. I couldn't find the reference to it. I've seen it in a documentary somewhere on TV, I can't remember where, but if you dig on Google you might find what I'm talking about.
And then, when I think about actors and actresses that audition over and over and over again, spent years auditioning for roles. And one that comes to mind is Meghan Markle. Megan spent decades auditioning and getting very tiny roles here and there until she got Suits. And then, of course she's now married to a Prince, but I'm just trying to, think of people that I think are very inspirational for different types of people that might be listening to this podcast. And of course, Serena Williams who I think is a total hero and you know, sometimes, well most times she wins, sometimes she doesn't. And so many other athletes have amazing resiliency. That's why I love watching sports, especially individual sports like swimming and tennis. I think it gives me a lot of insight on individuals like Serena that have to train super hard.
And I think that's the same kind of mental ability that I want people in job hunting to have and to have that confidence in yourself, but also work really hard and understand where your flaws are and your strengths, work on your strengths and focus on that and let people see them.
Okay. So I guess that's the storytelling for it today. I thought it was a bit more fun for me. I hope you enjoyed it. On the episode nodes, there is a link for my document, the top 10 tips for making …. That's not easy to say, for making job hunting less stressful and more successful. It's a very long title, but it means exactly what it says, I suppose I couldn't think of anything better. I really enjoyed putting it together. It's on the episode notes. There's a link there for you, and that's all for now. Remember to subscribe guys, share with others and check the episode notes and if you want to talk to me and connect with me, just DM me. Talk to you soon. Bye.
About the Host
Hello, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach professionals (corporate, non-profit, and public) the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress.
If you are an ambitious professional who is keen to develop a robust career plan, if you are looking to find your next job or promotion, or if you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the job market so that when you are ready, and an opportunity arises, you can hit the ground running, then this podcast is for you.
In addition to The Job Hunting Podcast, , on my website, I have developed a range of courses and services for professionals in career or job transition. And, of course, I also coach private clients.
Contact Renata Bernarde
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