Interview advice - how to keep going?

(17 Posts)
GreyBow Tue 01-Sep-20 10:24:15

I have had a couple of interviews recently (well, four!!!) where I have come second. The field is usually between 30-80 applicants each time. My skills are completely relevant and rather niche to these positions. I more than adequately fulfil the job descriptions and I have done this role before.

Each application takes me several hours to complete, and each one is individualised application forms I put a lot of time into making relevant. About half the roles allow an additional CV and I got some recent help tightening that up to emphasise my experience and expertise.

Then I spend hours and hour on preparing for the first round, and DAYS on preparing for the final shortlisted interview.

Recently, my interview was five hours drive away. They didn't offer to put me up overnight, so I drove there and back, leaving my house at 4am. Had a presentation to give when I got there, then a gruelling panel interview that I felt/know went very well.

But I haven't heard anything when they said they'd call. Obviously I haven't got it and I am just waiting for the thanks but no thanks email. They haven't even offered expenses/petrol money which is rude really, along with not letting me know.

Arghhh. Is this just a matter of time, considering I am coming second a lot? Should I be putting even more time into the interviews? Am I just not likeable? Or is this the state of things right now?

How do I psyche myself up to go through this again?

OP’s posts: |
katmarie Tue 01-Sep-20 11:10:14

In the cases where you have come second, have you requested any feedback? If not directly from the company, then perhaps by contacting one of the interviewers via linked in to get their take on why you came second and what might have put you in first place?

KeepSmiling89 Tue 01-Sep-20 11:24:16

2 things that helped me with interviews were:
1. Contact the team before the interview with questions about the job. Even if you already know the answer, it shows you're interested and gives you a chance to chat informally before the scary interview process.

2. Ask for feedback. This was daunting for me but very helpful. One time I didn't get the job because they chose someone with more years experience than me, which wasn't so helpful but it made me feel better knowing I didn't fail terribly or anything.

GreyBow Wed 02-Sep-20 08:23:44

@katmarie thank you. Yes, I have requested feedback. The last one said they would but were "too busy" to do it this week. This is a bit galling when I basically spent 12 hours travelling there and back to the shortlisted interview on a BH Monday 😔

Another one said I was the outstanding candidate, but too outstanding and too much of a "bright and shining star" to fit in.

Another one said I came across like I didn't want the job 😆🤷🏻‍♀️

I am neither of those too extremes, so it hasn't been overly helpful...

Urgh. Today is a new day. I will plod on and see who I can speculatively send my CV to today.

Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
GreyBow Wed 02-Sep-20 08:25:08

@KeepSmiling89 I did that. I had really great pre discussions actually. I had all the good feelings.

I shall go forward and keep going 😁

Thank you!

OP’s posts: |
katmarie Wed 02-Sep-20 08:33:25

Job hunting is rubbish, I'm doing it at the moment, although video interviews mean less wasted travel time so thats nice. I think that feedback tells you more about the companies than about you. Too much of a shining star probably means we have some people who might not look too good when compared to you and we're more concerned about not putting their noses out of joint than we are about hiring the best possible talent for the role. So I suspect you might not have wanted to work there anyway!

Only thing to do really is just keep on keeping on.

ScrapThatThen Wed 02-Sep-20 08:36:07

Frustrating but you are doing all the right things and presumably moving into prime position as your competitors get the jobs you interviewed for.
- do you actually know you are coming second? Or is this a platitude?
- what are you doing about first and last impressions?
- do the roles really interest you

ragged Wed 02-Sep-20 08:37:55

I know we're mostly WFH, but no one knows if that's permanent for most. How were you going to do the job daily that is 5 hours drive away?

ouch321 Wed 02-Sep-20 08:40:11

Re the star feedback sounds like they were politely trying to say that you gave the impression you were all about climbing the ladder and thus unlikely to stick in the role they were recruiting for.

AcrobaticCardigan Wed 02-Sep-20 09:11:40

The job hunting process is so gruelling these days. If you’ve already a full time job it’s nigh on impossible. I’ve had a slight change of career direction and the format now is rather more straight forward, but I did have years of lengthy application forms & essay questions that took days to complete, on top of long hours at work. It made it almost impossible to leave. Also the sheer volumes of people applying for each job are insane. Hang in there OP - your time will come. You are getting interviews which is positive & the feedback you’ve had isn’t negative - I’m sure it’s just a matter of time!

Fishfingersandwichplease Wed 02-Sep-20 09:33:37

You have my sympathy OP - l tried for a year to get a job in a certain field - even did volunteering to get the experience they told me l would need. One place said l was a very close 2nd and urged me to keep an eye out for more vacancies which l did, and when one came up fairly soon, l got called for an interview which went really well. Honestly thought l had nailed it but when they phoned and told me l hadn't got it, was gutted. Turns out someone who already works there got it so by interviewing me, l think they were just ticking a box. So demoralising- the interview took nearly all day. Got my happy ending though - decided to go for it one more time at a different place and l have been there a year now. Honestly think this is my perfect job and was well worth the stress to get to where l am now but couldn't see that at the time.

Thinkingg Wed 02-Sep-20 09:39:59

From that feedback, I would assume they think you are overqualified and won't stick around. You say:

"I more than adequately fulfil the job descriptions and I have done this role before."

This is unusual in my field, people would wonder why you are applying for something beneath you, rather than aiming for progression.

GreyBow Wed 02-Sep-20 11:39:39

@Thinkingg there's no where really higher up to go in my field sadly. I could work for a more prestigious organisation (which a couple of my applications were to), but other than that I would have to work my myself which for various reasons, I cannot risk right now. I need a steady income for the next few years.

OP’s posts: |
GreyBow Wed 02-Sep-20 11:41:23


Yes! You have it. It's just so demoralising and yes, I do think at least once I have been a box ticking exercise.

I am so pleased you tried again and have found the perfect job though. That gives me hope 😊

OP’s posts: |
GreyBow Wed 02-Sep-20 11:42:57

@ragged I was going to relocate. I'd even speculatively searched for housing, etc.

There's not a lot close enough for me to travel to easily, so I'll probably have to relocate.

OP’s posts: |
ramblingsonthego Wed 02-Sep-20 11:47:16

You can't complain about the travelling as you chose to apply and go for the interview. They didn't force you to go.

I think it will come in time. You are obviously doing good applications to get the interviews so just keep plodding on with what you are doing.

Carolhh Sat 05-Sep-20 21:16:54

four is not alot, and since your coming second your almost there. I was also always coming second and then landed the job after about five interviews. One lady I recently spoke to said she did 12 interviews before she got the job that she wanted. so keep going, well done.

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