A good friend of mine recently told me of his woes while searching for the next step in his career. Justin is an upwardly mobile, mid-30’s professional who has accumulated significant supervisory and management experience. Eager to continue his growth and expand his professional reach, he felt he needed to look outside his current employer to find something that offered a greater opportunity.
I asked to tell the story of his journey and the pitfalls of finding work in this new era. The following is a drunken rant he recently shared with me over beers:
You search dozens of job sites daily for months. You submit over a hundred, custom-tailored resumes. You craft scores of personalized, impassioned cover letters addressed to the hiring managers that you cyber stalked on LinkedIn, Facebook and company websites.
You finally got an email response! You carefully consider every word in your reply. Volleys of emails get sent back and forth setting up a phone interview. You investigate the company and carefully prepare talking points based on the hours of research you conducted. You know the history of their business, their principals, their competitors, their struggles and their mission.
You nail the phone interview and follow-up with an email the next day. The second phone interview is set and you nail that one too. Congratulations, you’ve earned an in-person interview!
You buy a new suit. You get your hair cut two days before the big day. You follow their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and LinkedIn feeds so you are dialed in with the latest goings on. You drive to the office the day before and survey the area to make sure you know exactly where they are located so there is no risking getting lost on the way in.
There is great chemistry with the person interviewing you. All of the questions are softballs – right in your wheelhouse. You are completely at ease and you are crushing it. You can see yourself working here.
Your handwritten Thank You letter goes out that same day and you wait. Three or four days later, you send a follow-up email thanking them for their time and consideration. You let them know you will call tomorrow to discuss the next step. You leave a voice mail the next day.
A few days pass and you call again. You ply your charm and ask the receptionist to deliver a handwritten message to the hiring manager.
The call comes in the next day. A second, in-person interview is set for next week. Then the third interview. Then the fourth interview.
And then you get it: The Rejection Letter.
“We wish you the very best of luck in your search.”
Your frustration boils over into anger:
They callously discarded the hours of browsing, research, preparation, performance and follow-up with a boilerplate email that says ****DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL***. There’s no recourse, no do-over, no interview summary and no feedback.
You had envisioned yourself working there. Every indication was that things were moving along great. All of their needs played right to your strengths. You really clicked with everyone with whom you came into contact in the company. As far as you knew, no one else made it to a third or fourth interview.
Devastated, but still determined, you continue your search. Again, hours of daily browsing, customizing cover letters and resumes that seem to disappear into the black hole that is the internet.
And then you see it…two weeks later…an advertisement for that SAME job! That job you just spent countless hours, effort and money working your ass off to get is being advertised as a new job posting.
This is the moment when you realize you probably didn’t want that job anyway. Did you really want to work for a company that jerks people around, makes them jump through hoops (over and over again) only to heartlessly cast them aside as though they were garbage?
You worked harder trying to work for that company than you had ever worked an actual job before. Just because they couldn’t recognize the value of your passion, your savvy or your cleverness doesn’t mean someone else won’t. You’ll just have to keep swiping until someone else does…
A footnote to this story: I met my girlfriend, Birdy, on Tinder. We’ve lived together for about a year now, and things couldn’t be better. We both had to do our fair share of “swiping” until we found each other. Glad I didn’t give up so easily.