SEATTLE, WA – Ecommerce recruiting is a pretty cruel business: I will handle 120 searches this year, and for even the searches I don’t close, there is only one winner – and everyone else goes home with a T-shirt. Just like the Final Four.
Naturally, all of my losing candidates want to know how to improve their game for the next time. What could they have done differently? What could they improve? What did they do wrong that they shouldn’t do again? Was it something they said? And so forth. After all, I work with the ecommerce industry’s best and brightest, and these folks aren’t used to losing.
“You had me at hello.”
I don’t think I have ever closed an ecommerce search in which the winning candidate didn’t have great chemistry with the hiring manager. I honestly can’t remember even one time. However, I can remember lots of times when a less qualified candidate got the job over a highly qualified candidate. And in every one of those cases, the winning candidate had great chemistry with the hiring manager.
You can’t force good chemistry. In fact, trying to force chemistry almost always makes it worse. All you can do in a job interview is know your sh*t and go with the flow. And even if you have GREAT chemistry with the hiring manager, that doesn’t mean that some other candidate’s chemistry won’t be better.
Which brings me to the point of this post:
It is my humble opinion that there is no point trying to be too analytical about why you didn’t get a particular job. Trust me, if the hiring manager had wanted you to have it, you would have gotten it. That’s been my experience.
Certainly you want to prepare for your job interviews. Look at the client’s website in GREAT DETAIL. Research the role, the company, the industry, and its customers. Understand how you will make the hiring manager’s job easier, and by all means know ICE-FREAKING-COLD how the company makes money and how YOU can help the company make money.
Have a teachable point of view on the work that you do, and be prepared to talk candidly about your failures and what you would do differently if given the opportunity to live those moments over. Anyone can talk about how great they are. It takes real humility to discuss one’s own limitations in a way that’s frank, yet not too self-effacing.
Beyond that, there’s really not much else you can do, and there’s certainly no accounting for chemistry. I learned a long time ago that some people think I’m awesome, and some people think I’m a total jackass. Certainly, I’ve had my moments when whichever side of that argument you’re on, you’d be 100% right.
Whatever. I believe it was Thoreau who said that “In a world of many minds, there is no reality.” You’ll get the job next time. Very few people are in transition forever.