Saturday, June 23, 2007



Dear Minto:

I have been looking for work for over three months. In that time I have had three companies pursue me very enthusiastically, with at least two interviews each, one was even three interviews plus a long dinner. But I have been the “second choice” every time. I asked for feedback but they just said they found someone more qualified. How do I find out what I am doing wrong so next time I get the job?

Thanks, Tim

Dear Tim:

Here's something you should do Tim.

Contact the companies that didn't hire you. With sincerity and humble curiousity say the following.

"I really appreciated the opportunity of meeting you and your company. I realize I finished second but I was hoping you could provide some insight, ..and.. I have a request."

The manager will probably say ok, what would you like to know?

"Well, can you tell me with candor, one or two things the number one candidate had that I did not have."

Listen to the answer closely. Do try to re-submit your interest, do not try to correct their perception, simply listen. Probe further, when appropriate, for example the manager might say. "The number one candidate had more industry experience than you."

You might say at this point "was that the only difference?

Here again, you are trying to prolong conversation, gather data and truly understand. But you are also trying to create the phone atmosphere for condusive for your request.

The next step will be to say:

I have a request? Would it be possible over the next few weeks to meet the candidate selected for a few minutes.

The manager might be confused by your request but explain that, even though I don't know the candidate, you certainly are impressed that he was chosen for such great company. That meeting this individual might provide some valuable knowledge and insight for the next time you compete.

See what they say.

I would bet that half the time the manager will be ok with a future meeting.
I bet most managers would be very impressed with your intrinsic pursuit of knowledge and sincerity.

Most importanly it keeps you in mind as unique if their business expands or if the primary person doesn't work out.

There is no shame in not winning. It is only a waste if we don't see it as a way to learn and create future opportunities.

Go learn Tim.

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