how to lose a recruiters interest in 6 ways

We’ve all been on THAT date before: The anticipation builds as you get ready to see that special someone, you put on your favorite shoes, get your hair done, and even wear your lucky underwear. When you get to the restaurant everything is going great; the conversation is flowing, dinner was delicious. As the night comes to an end, maybe you get a good night's kiss…BUT, then crickets. They never call again. It’s as if they never existed.

What happened? Why didn’t they call?
If this sounds too familiar, it’s because it is. It happens during the interview process too.
We do our fair share of applicant counseling to help decode why they weren’t selected for a particular position. And while every interview and candidate is different, we’ve seen a few common themes. Here are a few nuggets of knowledge as to why you may not have been asked for a second interview date.  

Nobody’s Perfect.

It’s redundant to say that in an interview you should discuss your accomplishments and responsibilities in the position(s) you’ve held, and toot your own horn accordingly. However, there is a fine line between being proud of your accomplishments and how far you’ve brought an organization, and well, bragging about how great and perfect you are. We believe you’re pretty great already so view this as a chance to elaborate, not embellish on your successes.

Liar Liar Pants On Fire.

Now that we’ve established that nobody’s perfect, it’s time to recognize that everyone makes mistakes at work. Mistakes are inevitable and understandable – lies about them, however, are not. Just know that as recruiters we have secret magic tools that we like to use to see if you’re actually telling us the truth. If you said you have managed a budget of $10M and have never ended the year in red, assume that we can easily check those facts, so it’s in your best interest to be honest.

Did You Answer My Question?

Think of an interview like a conversation you’re having at a networking event. The key is to be you and let the conversation flow. As a recruiter, we’re asking very particular questions to gauge if you’d be a good fit and if you have the right qualifications for the position, so when you blatantly don’t answer the question(s), it lets us know one or two things:

  • You weren’t listening to the question and didn’t ask for clarification.
  • You do NOT want to answer the question to avoid saying the wrong thing.

If you don’t understand the question, please ask for clarification. But if you just don’t answer it, we’re going to think that you’re trying to hide something, or really really bad at listening.

Too Much Follow Up Is An Actual Thing.

It has been engraved into our heads that after an interview it’s best to send the interviewer a thank you card or email. While this rings true and is a very kind gesture, too many follow up emails and phone calls after thank you is a bit excessive. If you made a lasting impression, have the skill set we’re looking for and would be a good fit within the organization’s culture, we will not forget you and will more than likely put you through to the final interview round for the search committee to have the last word. Case in point, don’t do more than two follow-ups after each interview. But don’t forget this important ‘thank you’ has made the difference between candidates getting advanced or not.

I Deserve This Position.

Humble wins the race. Being humble and gracious will definitely give you brownie points in our book. Those that feel they’re entitled to the Executive Director position or other executive C-suite positions because they’ve worked for the organization for 10+ years or they have “all the skills” job description states are 1000x more likely not to be selected for the position. No one wants to work with an individual who is always right and perfect and his or her way is the only way. Also, we know it’s difficult to find a job in this market; however, just because you have the skills that the job requires of you, doesn’t mean you’re a good fit for the organization. (More on ‘fit’ later…)

Know Your History.

It really grinds our Envision gears when interviewees don’t know anything about the organization they’re applying to work at. This is interview 101 and why would you want to work someplace you know nothing about? When you do the research and have a genuine interest in the organization, it shows recruiters that you’re truly interested in the position, the organization and the community they serve. Skills are inherently important to land a job in the nonprofit sector, but so is passion of the organization’s mission and cause.</p> <p>Remember: Take the time to do your research on the organization: look at their 990, know their mission like the back of your hand and their programs. Be humble and honest, and don’t feel entitled to get the job (even if you feel like you are). Listen intently and ask for clarification if need be. Be yourself. If you weren’t offered the position or moved on to the next stage in the interview process, it wasn’t meant to be.



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