The whole process of applying for a job is a stressful and often exhausting one.
The phenomenon of interview fatigue is absolutely real, too. Preparing for multiple interview rounds – often as many as seven or eight (or even more) – can take a huge toll and it is not uncommon for people to decide that a lengthy interview process is just not worth it, opting out entirely.
That means you could miss out on a potentially great job, with the company losing out on a brilliant employee. Google has realised there’s a big disconnect between the number of interview rounds it takes to get a great hire and the impact that has on candidate experience. As a result, it has radically cut back. Previously, it wasn’t uncommon for a potential hire to go through 12 rounds of interviews before a decision was made. Following an examination of interview data, the company now requires applicants to take just four interviews.
But this is only a part of what can make job hunting difficult. At mid-to-senior levels, any interview requires extensive research and preparation, not to mention CV rewrites, those all-important cover letters, plus the research and presentation preparation you’ll need to do for each interview you get.
What happens if you’re not successful? Firstly, it’s really important to remember that the process does take time: a 2018 study by Randstad US found that it takes around five months to land a job. Within those five months, on average, you’ll create four different edited versions of a CV (as well as four cover letters), submit seven job applications, and attend five job interviews.
Each of those unsuccessful interviews needs to be seen less as a failure, and more of a learning opportunity. Look at it this way: if you didn’t get the job, you should at least be able to get something else valuable from the experience in terms of some constructive feedback from the hiring manager.
You will likely already have an idea of what areas you performed well in and what wasn’t quite so good, but it is that other perspective that is so valuable. Finding out what stood out to others – both good and bad things – can be a huge benefit.
While it’s never nice receiving a rejection email, and they are often bland and templated with very little detail and feedback specifically related to your interview, the fact is you won’t learn anything unless you reach out and ask for it. Always be polite, thank your interviewer for their time and interest in you, and explain that you’d like to know a little more about why you weren’t successful. There could be a myriad of reasons, and there could be things you can quickly and easily fix, such as having better examples to talk through.
You’ll be surprised how many hiring managers are happy to provide their observations when asked. The fact that you’re trying to request feedback says a lot about your interest in your personal and professional growth.
Pick yourself up
Job search depression is a real thing. A survey by the Pew Research Centre found that about half of US adults who are looking for a job are pessimistic about their prospects for future employment, with 53% saying they’ve felt like they lost a piece of their identity during the job hunt process. Another 56% say they’ve experienced more emotional or mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, while they have been unemployed, and a further 41% say they’ve had more conflicts or arguments than usual with family and friends.
If you’ve been searching for a while, you’re likely to understand, but as we’ve said, getting a new job is a numbers game. Depending on the job, a typical employer will interview six to ten candidates from all the applications it receives, and candidates will go through a minimum of two to four rounds of interviews before receiving an offer.
Setting aside specific time each day to work on your job searches, application materials, and interview preparation is important. You need to be able to make this a part of your routine and not let it consume you. Set yourself reasonable daily goals – for example making an application or completing a cover letter – and find time where you’re not thinking about the job hunt. Focus on your strengths, work on any feedback received, and then get back out there.
About the author:
Kirstie works for our job board partner, Jobbio.
Based in Dublin, she has been a writer and editor across print and digital platforms for over 15 years.