Enough is enough.
I did everything right.
I wrote the perfect resume.
I submitted a well-written cover letter with my resume, and I even filled in every “optional” field on your 17-page application.
I felt good about my application—putting my best foot forward.
When I got the email from you telling me that you’d like to interview me for the job, I was SO EXCITED.
I got the email while I was in a meeting, and it was everything I could do not to smile from ear to ear for the rest of the day.
I frantically texted the people that meant the most to me and told them that I got an interview.
What a great feeling that was.
Thoughts of what this job could mean to me and my family flooded my mind for the five days I had to wait between that email you sent me and the phone screen interview.
I prepped my ass off for those five days.
I put in long hours to make sure that I made the best first impression I could possibly make—to you, the recruiter.
I knew that you were the person who held the keys to moving me forward in the process.
Or the person to tell me, “Thanks for your time today; I’ll be in touch.”
To give you an idea of the type of prep that went into our 27-minute phone call, here’s a sampling:
- I went over my resume at least ten times.
- I read every word on the company website and clicked every single link.
- I recited my answers to the top 5 most asked interview questions.
- I took time off from work so that I would have a quiet place to speak with you.
- I rehearsed how I would answer the phone.
- I made sure to stand while talking to you to ensure I sounded confident.
- I remembered to smile because I heard somewhere that people can “hear” that over the phone.
- I showed more enthusiasm over the phone than I thought was humanly possible.
When you told me at the end of our conversation that you would recommend me to the hiring manager and that you’d be scheduling my next interview, I WAS THRILLED!
Maybe this job would be the one…
As I progressed through every stage of the hiring process—telling my story over and over again, meeting more people, getting even more excited about the work I’d be doing—you were right there by my side.
In some weird way, I thought you were sort of in my corner.
That you wanted to fill the position as much as I wanted the job and that you were rooting for me.
Maybe it was naïve of me, but I trusted you.
So, when you emailed me after my last round of interviews asking me if I had time to chat—I couldn’t help but think that I passed the test.
You liked me, you really really liked me!
Excited to get my chance to speak with you, I made sure that I was available to take your call, and I reminded myself to be as charming as ever.
What I didn’t know was that you were going to deliver a blow that I wasn’t fully prepared for.
That you asked me to rearrange my schedule so that you could tell me that “The hiring manager went with someone else.”
Why did you set up time with me to tell me this?
How did you expect me to react?
Who in your organization decided that this was the best way to let people down?
Couldn’t you have just sent me a standard rejection email?
Have you no heart?!
If I didn’t get the job, then we don’t need to continue the discussion.
Let me read the email in private, have a 10-minute pity party for myself, and move on.
At this point in our relationship, it’s the humane thing to do.
This phone call was a complete waste of time for both of us—not to mention painfully awkward.
It sounded like you thought that too on your end, but for some reason, as part of your job, you have to make these calls.
Maybe you can ask your leadership to stop the insanity?
I know you have to fill the awkward silence since you have my full attention, but please don’t ask me if there is anything you can do to help me with my search.
It’s patronizing, and I know you don’t mean it.
With all due respect, you’re not someone I will seek advice from about my job search.
Instead, I’m going to keep my chin up and double down on the number of job applications I send out because I know the right job is out there for me.
I just have to find it.
The Second-Place Candidate