If You're So Good - Why Can't You Land That Job?


Last week, my coaching firm hosted our monthly free coaching call, where we answered questions from jobseekers about the hiring process.

One question was very broad but timely: What is the biggest reason candidates, who are a suitable match for the job, fail to obtain the job?

While there is obviously no one answer, there are three main stages where jobseekers fail in the job search:

Marketing stage. If you are a jobseeker who is not getting interviews, then your marketing is failing you.

If you are dropping your resume and not getting invited to interviews, then your resume is not engaging prospective employers.

Another problem could be that your resume is fine, but you are not targeting the right employers.


First interview stage. If you are getting invited to meet with people but not getting called back, then you need interview help.

There are 12 standard interview questions, and most every other question is a derivative of these questions. Practice your interview answers.

When we work with jobseekers, we don’t drill every question – it’s impossible to predict how a question will be phrased. Instead, we explain the structure of these 12 standard questions so that our clients will recognize them regardless of how they are phrased (and regardless of what kind of curveball the interviewer tries to throw).

Final stage. Always the bridesmaid and never the bride? You might not be selling to the end. Sometimes jobseekers let their energy drop after a long series of interviews. Or they get arrogant assuming this job is “in the bag”. Or they start debating the job in their mind, before getting the offer first, and their doubt signals to employers that they really aren’t interested. Employers are in the driver’s seat in this market, so they can be choosy. They will be considering other candidates. The search is not over until you walk in the front door.


Overall, my biggest pet peeve when I was a recruiter was lack of enthusiasm. You see this at all stages – with a lackluster pitch, with a disengaged interview, with boring follow up. Remember that employers are people too – they want to be wanted. I often saw cases where the less qualified but more enthusiastic candidate got the job over a more qualified but less engaged one.

So troubleshoot your search based on the above, and kick up the enthusiasm level.

Want more - Check out:


Caroline Ceniza-Levine is co-founder of SixFigureStart a career coaching firm for Gen Y professionals. Formerly in corporate recruiting and retained search, Caroline has recruited for Accenture, Booz Allen, Citibank, Disney ABC, Oliver Wyman, Pfizer, and Time Inc. She currently writes career columns for Portfolio.com and Vault.com and teaches Professional Development at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.

Comments? Send them to executivecareers@cnbc.com