J.T.: It’s possible you’re saying something in the interview process that has them dropping your candidacy, but I find it odd that they all tell you they’re planning to move you forward. Recruiters move fast and tend to want to interview a lot of people over the phone, then pick just three to five to put in front of the hiring manager. So, it’s possible that while they think you are a candidate when they interview you, after doing more interviews, other individuals move ahead of you.
Dear J.T. & Dale: Why do employers keep ghosting me? They message me that they want to talk immediately, and when I have them on the phone, they tell me they’re going to put me in front of the hiring manager. Then I never hear from them again. What am I doing wrong?
DALE: So, even though you are qualified and did well in the screening interview, you could get bumped by the recruiter or by a hiring manager who decides to only follow up with a portion of the recruiter’s list. And you, the bumpee, hear nothing. I used to lament this lack of courtesy, but then someone said this to me: “If you go to several stores to shop for a TV and then pick one, do you call every salesperson you didn’t buy from and explain your decision?” Nope. And yes, in a job search, you’re the salesperson. But, even so, that doesn’t mean you can’t be a better salesperson, especially with follow-up.
J.T.: Here’s what you do with that insight: At the end of every interview, ask them for permission to follow up in a week for a status update. Explain that you know they’re super busy, but you would love to get closure on whether you’re moving forward. If they say yes, then when they get a message from you, they look like jerks if they don’t at least follow up. I found this to work at least a little bit better on providing closure.
Dear J.T. & Dale: I got fired from my last job. I don’t know how to explain it in job interviews. I don’t really understand why I got fired, either. What should I say? — Caleb
DALE: What’s often more consequential than what you say is what your old employer will say about you. So start by having a friend do a reference check on you. Given how vague they were in letting you go, I’m guessing they will only verify dates of employment, nothing more. That’s good. As for your explanation, it needs to be brief and sincere and emphasize a positive result.
J.T.: Yes, you must stay objective. If you don’t understand why you were fired, it’s OK to share that.
DALE: Although, you’re missing out on a vital learning opportunity. Check in with your former co-workers to see if they know what went wrong.
J.T.: Then, the most important thing in your future interviews is to explain what you will do to avoid this happening again. Take some form of accountability, even if it’s this: “Next time, I would check in more frequently with my boss to make sure they were happy with my performance.” This shows that you know how to learn and grow. I would also encourage you to practice this answer so that you aren’t stressed when you deliver it. One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they’re nervous when answering this question, and then they appear guilty. You are not guilty. You’re just a worker who didn’t work out at their last employer. As long as you can show that you care and want to put it behind you and want to learn how to meet and exceed expectations in your new role, they will see your true potential.
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