Job searches are inherently stressful because they never go as you wish.
Jobs don’t go to the most” qualified” candidate. The reality is that there is no such thing as the “most qualified candidate.” There’s no way to know without a doubt who’s most qualified for a job. This is why job searching never appears fair from the job seeker’s point of view. Viewing job searching through the lens of “fairness” will drive you mad. It simply is what it is.
No doubt, my assessment of who is most qualified will differ from that of another hiring manager. This discrepancy in assessment is caused by our inherent biases.
Having biases—shortcuts to making decisions—doesn’t make hiring managers bad people any more than your biases make you a bad person. Every decision you make is influenced by your biases, including whether you like someone. Therefore, you have no right to judge a person’s bias.
Truth Bomb: Generally speaking, hiring managers prefer candidates similar to themselves. This universal human trait is known as looking-glass merit, whereby hiring managers look for candidates who make them feel comfortable. Before you get judgmental ask yourself: If you were hiring your next colleague, would you hire someone you’d enjoy working with eight hours a day or someone you’d have to tolerate?
Trying to fight biases is a waste of your time and energy. Your focus is to get on a payroll, not fix the world’s wrongs that you perceive as your obstacles. Instead, let’s look at what I believe are reasons—reasons you have some control over—your job search isn’t unfolding as you wish.
- You don’t value networking.
“The wealthiest people in the world look for and build networks; everyone else looks for work.” – Robert Kiyosaki.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Through networking, you gain access to employers and those who can introduce you to them. Therefore, all the human bias stuff I just mentioned gets negated. Although the biases persist, they shrink and do not affect the hiring manager as much as if you’re an unknown (READ: stranger). Actually, networking creates its own bias, you become familiar, and we all lean towards those with whom we’re familiar.
Furthermore, networking uncovers unadvertised job opportunities, but you already know this.
- You feel entitled.
“Success is not an entitlement. It has to be earned.” – Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks.
A sense of entitlement, a vibe your interviewer will feel, is a huge turnoff. Get rid of any sense of entitlement that you may have that you’re owed a job, a living or even a certain lifestyle.
- Your image doesn’t align with the position you’re seeking.
People judge you based on how you present yourself.
Image is everything!
The image you display is the first thing a person will see and judge. It happens instantly and subconsciously. It has nothing to do with rational reasons but rather impressions and emotions. You either feel right or not. Hence, how you present yourself profoundly impacts all aspects of your life.
Carefully consider how you want to be perceived by employers and the rest of the world, then craft an image accordingly.
Image formula: Appearance + Behaviour + Communication
- You lack confidence.
Having confidence is critical to your job search and career success.
Lack of confidence is the most common reason I reject a candidate. I hire candidates who have a positive attitude, are motivated and enthusiastic, and—most importantly—have convinced me they’re a can-do person capable of getting the job done.
When interviewing, you want to come across as a go-getter, fast-track type of person. You want your interviewer to believe in you, which is essentially the purpose of an interview; to make your interviewer believe in you. If a candidate doesn’t believe in themselves, why should I?
- You don’t take calculated risks.
Like it or not, a job search is fraught with risks. When the essence of a job search is to present yourself to employers to determine if you’re worth hiring, how could it not be? Considering you’re already taking the biggest risk of all, asking strangers to judge you, what are a few more risks, especially if they can help you further your job search or, better yet, bring it to a conclusion?
Job search risks worth considering:
- Taking a temporary role. (An income is much better than no income.)
- Taking a pay cut. (Same reason as taking on a temp job.)
- Changing company size. (Not all great careers are made in Fortune 500 companies.)
- Switching industries.
There is one risk I strongly suggest every job seeker take; choosing an employer based on culture rather than salary. If you want to exponentially shorten your job search, heed the advice I give all job seekers, search for your tribe! Don’t look for a job. Instead, look for where you’ll most likely be accepted. Think: “I’m not looking for a job; I’m looking for my tribe!”
If you’re having a tough time with your job search, I guarantee it’s because you’re trying to fit into companies where you don’t belong.
Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send Nick your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.