Wondering why you didn’t get the job after a great interview? Are you totally unqualified, or applying for the wrong jobs? Listen to explore why this is most likely not your shortcomings, and what you can learn even if you didn’t get any feedback.

In this episode of The Career Rx we’ll discuss:

  • The many reasons candidates are rejected that have nothing to do with them
  • What you can learn from the interview – even you don’t get the job
  • The “one thing’ companies really want, that isn’t clear from the job posting

Today we’re talking about why you should never take rejection after a job interview personally.
Before you let rejection discourage you from your career goals, consider the reasons for rejection I discuss in this episode. On the other hand, if you’re not getting any interviews, that’s a different (fixable) situation.

In this Episode:

[3:00] If they bother to interview you, you are absolutely qualified
[7:50] How timing can be a key factor, or not a factor at all
[16:45] What you can gain from interviews, even when you don’t get the job
[19:00] If you’re not getting any interviews, we can fix that with Industry Insider

Links and Resources:

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TRANSCRIPT: Episode 108 – What You Need to Know About Why You Didn’t Get the Job

Hey there, welcome back. On today’s show, we’re going to be talking about why you should never, never take rejection after a job interview. I personally, never take it personally, this is something that so many of my listeners and students have raised. And it is something that feels really, really discouraging to many people.

But I want to give you some reasons, really practical and tangible and concrete reasons today, why you should never take this personally don’t let it get you down, and what you can do with it instead, before we get into it, I want to be sure that you know, if you are one of my listeners, that I do have both a free webinar, as well as a CME course called Industry Insider, which will teach you everything you need to know, in order to land a job in the pharmaceutical biotech medical device industry.

Even if you don’t have any connections today, you don’t have a foot in the door, you don’t have any prior experience. So please come check the show notes, check out the links to come check out Industry Insider, it’s been really incredibly helpful for many, many of your physician colleagues, in successfully landing that first job and making a career transition.

On the website, you can read details about the course, what’s in each of the modules, see all the details about the 12 hours of CME credit, see some of the feedback from physicians like yourself who’ve taken the course and who have successfully gotten the results that they wanted. Come check it out, you can do it, Industry Insider can help.

All right to the meat of the episode today, never never never take the job rejection personally, particularly after you’ve had a chance to interview. Now, a lot of people feel like rejection during a job search is really demoralizing and discouraging. And no doubt it is. If you’re not getting any interviews, you have a different problem, which you still should not take personally.

But your problem is likely different from what we’re going to be talking about today probably has a lot more to do with the way in which you are applying. And the way in which you are presenting yourself to the application portal basically, which for at least at first is a computer filter. And so we’ll set that aside today. I’m going to be really directing this to people who have gotten interviews and then don’t get the job and they feel really, really discouraged.

So first and foremost, it’s important to address. You know, the overarching reason why I would say you should never take it personally. This is because if you are being progressed to an interview at all, they already think that you’re hireable. And yes, companies do make deliberate efforts to ensure that they’re casting a wide enough net, and that they’re considering a really broad section of candidates from all kinds of backgrounds inside the company outside the company, and really trying to ensure diversity. Of course, that’s true.

But it is really important to know they would not be bothering to progress you if they did not see you as a hireable candidate. The reason that I know that is because the people who are doing the interview are extremely busy people, even if you’re looking at an entry level role, but especially to the higher and higher you go.

I mean, you’re going to interview with a large number of people, most likely a panel of people, five, six people, sometimes more than one day of interviews, sometimes you’ll be asked to deliver a presentation that people will listen to within the company, there is a lot that goes into the setting up and the executing of those interviews, and then the debriefing that they have to do afterwards.

So the people within the company that are dedicating their time to meet with you and talk to you are extremely busy people and they are not going to be doing that for people that they wouldn’t seriously consider as a candidate, they’re just not going to be doing that. This is especially true of the senior most people that you interview with.

And it’s also true of the actual hiring manager that you’ll interview with and potentially some of your peers. The reason that they’re hiring obviously, is that there’s either a current void, a vacuum, or there is growth that’s anticipated. So these are people who are so busy that they already have too much to do that they need another person, therefore they’re trying to hire somebody.

This is why you can really rest assured that if they’re dedicating the time to interview you, they do already view you as being a competitive candidate. And that’s super because that really means that you have cleared the first couple of gauntlets and your skills and experience as they are represented on paper and potentially in through an HR screen or verbal screen are already convincing and compelling.

And many times for a lot of these job postings, there can be dozens, if not more, I mean sometimes hundreds but very often dozens right of applicants for the same role, and they’re probably only going to interview at least as a first wave, three, maybe four people at the most.

Why? Because it’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of work to go through all of the resumes. And it’s a lot of work to interview the people. So they’re going to pluck out of all of those dozens of applications, that small handful of people that they think are the most hireable. And so if you’re in that bucket, that is great news for you.

So here are some of the reasons why I would say never, never take it personally. Because despite what’s written on the job description, as we’ve already talked about, on this podcast, they don’t always need everything that’s written in the requirements.

In fact, they’re usually going to hire somebody that does not have all of those requirements, but has a subset of the requirements, which is why it’s important for you to be sure that you are bringing your transferable skills and things that you do have that are relevant to that job to the forefront in the application.

But having said that, the specific need I mean, the actual real need, not the need on paper, but with a real need that the hiring manager has, could be really specific and just sort of over weighted towards one thing or another. And what do I mean by that?

I mean, sometimes they have the time to develop somebody’s skills. And so your direct experience, or subject matter expertise is less important. And your soft skills are transferable skills are more important. And they have the time to develop and teach you. And so they aren’t worried about that.

But in other cases, let’s say there is a medicine that’s expected to go for FDA approval coming up within less than a year’s time, for example, and they need to hire somebody into that role. Well, that’s really not a place where they would have as much time as they otherwise would, if they’re looking towards the pipeline and saying, Okay, we have medicines that are going to be coming down in, you know, two years in three years or longer.

If they have something that’s imminently going to be approved and expected to launch. That’s a totally different timeline within industry in terms of upskilling and onboarding, someone who is new to the role. So sometimes they just need someone who’s role ready. And that’s just a reality, they may actually need that experience,

I often say, you don’t need experience to get a job. And that’s true, you don’t need experience to get a job. But for any particular job, they might need experience. It really depends on their personal circumstances.

So you can’t take that personally if they’ve progressed you to interview and have someone else who’s also very similarly skilled as you but does happen to have that specific need. And as a closer match, that shows up on the scene role ready, and it’s important to them for that specific role that they’re hiring, then, that makes sense, it’s not a it’s not a referendum on you don’t take it personally, that someone else is a better match, if they need somebody who is really role ready.

The other thing about timing is very often again, depending upon the timeline, they need someone who can start right away. So if they hire an external candidate, already in industry, so someone who can give two weeks notice and be ready to go, that still will take them at least probably a month to get that person in house and working maybe six weeks, if they hire a physician whom they know is likely to have a contract that will require three or even four months or longer timeline, they still do that.

They know how that works. And they do take people from those kinds of positions all the time. That’s how I got my first job as well. They waited for me for a three month period of time. So they do that. But again, depending upon the reason for the hire, and the medicines that are in development, that you would be, you know, aligned to and working on. If they need somebody fast, then they don’t have time to wait for that. So can you get a job? Yes, can you get that specific job, perhaps not. And again, not anything to take personally, if they’re interviewing you.

You know, sometimes there’s a gap within the culture of the organization. So they’re thinking we could put anybody in this role. But the thing that we really need, because the challenge that we really have around here is we need someone who’s especially good at establishing rapport and relationships. And if that’s the case, they’ll probably pick the candidate that they think would be best at doing that.

And in their mind, they might even have a few people or teams of internal stakeholders that had been tough to work with in the past with the people they had in the past. So they might be thinking about actual specific people and trying to make an estimation of who’s gonna be able to work with these people the best. So you cannot take anything too personally, that’s more a matchmaking.

Or they might be saying to themselves, what we really need in this role is someone with really, really excellent, you know, medical communication experience. And so if that’s the specific gap than someone who might have more experience in terms of presenting or creating materials, that person may just like edging out, but again, not something to take, personally, just a specific skill that they need.

Among all of the things on the job description, it’s like, there’s just one that has sort of an unspoken asterisk next to it, that’s just especially important to that hiring manager or to that team or to that company.

The other thing that will sometimes happen that you cannot take, personally, is maybe one of the people applying for the role is an internal candidate. So this is somebody that they already know, they already know, well. And so there is a known entity now whether they’re perfect or not is rarely the case, but at least they are a known entity. And sometimes that will be what edges somebody out.

And again, can’t take that personally, right, that’s just the way that it is if they have somebody internal, that they also think is equally hireable. But that person is an unknown entity, that may be what they want to do. Also, there’s a timeline and transition advantage there, which is that they’re already literally an employee there.

So their ability to switch over and be enrolled is just much, much, it’s a much shorter timeline, they could potentially be enrolled within a matter of days, if that were acceptable to sort of both managers to just kind of pull them out of one project and put them into a different role.

Or they could have some kind of a transition plan that occurs over, you know, a very short period of time, they don’t have to be background checked, hired and HR and the whole thing, they don’t have any of that onboarding, they’re already at the company. So not only do they have the skills and the experience, but they are literally already doing the job already on board within the company and can take that personally.

On the other hand, sometimes they really specifically want an external hire, right? And so this might work against you, if you are internal. And you can’t take that personally. Sometimes they really want to bring in some fresh voices, some fresh perspectives, they want someone who’s come from another company, or someone who’s coming from clinical medicine, someone who is not sort of internal and not already, you know, whatever, you know, sort of drinking their local company Kool Aid, if you will, they want fresh perspective.

They want diversity of thought, and they want somebody externally. And so if you’re a strong internal candidate, that is a disadvantage for you, if they really want to bring in somebody new and different from the outside. But that may be one of the things that’s on the mind of the hiring manager; you can’t take it personally.

So I’ve listed just a few reasons here. And they’re very practical, right is sort of what is the timeline with which they really need somebody to be able to start the work. And as part of that, what’s the timeline within which they need somebody to be on-boarded within their company and really ready to, you know, make a contribution.

And what’s the timeline that they have to develop, and upskill somebody so that they’re role ready? And again, depending upon things, you know, this is not just the whim of the hiring manager, this may have to do with a regulatory timeline that may be somewhat out of their control.

And sometimes, among all the things that are listed on the job description, it is a specific skill, a specific subject matter expertise that’s most important, and specific prior experience that’s most important. And this can be just one of the you know, list of 30 things on the job description. But that’s what’s most needed.

Because it’s the thing that is either most relevant for what’s coming up, or it might be a skill that is the most lacking among the rest of the team members, whatever it is, that makes it a priority. If you don’t happen to have that one particular thing, but somebody else does, that might be what edges you out. And then on the other hand, sometimes it is really much more of a leadership skill and executive presence, people management, communication, right, it could be it could well be a transferable skill.

That is the thing that edges out somebody who has a lot of subject matter expertise, but is not so strong in those leadership, transferable skills. So this could be a disadvantage to any one of the candidates, not just the external candidate, not just the person who doesn’t have industry experience.

Again, sometimes they have somebody internal, who is a known entity, which may be an advantage for that. person and also can essentially start immediately, depending upon the company circumstances that can sometimes make or break things, especially when things are moving really, really quickly.

Which might be an advantage for an internal candidate. And then at other times, there’s a specific desire to have an external candidate, an external hire, they really are proactively hoping that they find their best person externally, because that is something that they really want to, to fulfill in their search. And that can be an advantage to you if you’re an external candidate, and a disadvantage to people who are already there within the company.

So this is not an exhaustive list, obviously. But it’s some that I think are pretty easy to understand and to imagine. But regardless, always, always keep in mind that of the dozens of people and sometimes more who are applying for the role, they would not bother to progress you to an interview and waste all the professional time of all the people on those panels to meet with you. If they didn’t think that you were a worthwhile candidate, they didn’t think you were a hireable candidate.

So if it doesn’t work out that one time cannot take it personally, you know, it’s really important to view these interviews, as you know, not only opportunities to get a job, but also as opportunities to practice how you interview and this is going to be true for your first job.

And for every job thereafter, right? Every time you’re looking for a promotion, or at a different company, or different type of functional role. Every time you have an opportunity to interview, this is really an opportunity to practice how you present yourself and your skills. So it’s never bad to have had that experience.

It’s also important to view it as the networking that it is. Because again, while they wouldn’t be progressing you unless they were seriously considering you, it’s also true that you’re going to spend time with these people.

And ideally connect with them on LinkedIn and potentially be able to get back in touch with them, Are they back in touch with you, or if there’s another opportunity that comes up in the future, or for some just networking conversations that might follow, you know, after a little bit of a waiting period, after they have their new hire, if it’s not you, that doesn’t mean that that you couldn’t be back in touch with them. And it does help to grow your network.

And by the way, I know many people who have gotten their job offers, because they did not get the job they applied for but they did get a call three or six months or something later, when there was another opportunity that came up.

So for whatever it was, it was the first job they’re applying for one of these other things that you don’t take personally, you know, tilted in the favor of a different candidate. But they were really impressive. And the folks that interviewed thought very highly of them. And when another opportunity comes up, especially when it comes up in kind of close proximity.

They don’t want to have to re-interview everybody on the planet, they’re going to think about who are the other strong candidates that we’ve seen lately, maybe there’s a way to expedite and just offer that person a job or bring them in rapidly for another interview. So there are benefits to interviewing, even if you don’t get the job really important to keep that in mind and look at it that way.

Now, before I wrap this episode, I’ll also say, if you are getting a lot of interviews, more than you know, a handful, right if you’re getting double digit interviews, but you’re not ever landing the job, it is worth thinking about whether you’re presenting yourself in the best light.

So I always recommend to people when they are interviewing, that they take notes during the interview and take notes after the interview so that they can remember, you know, what was asked and what was discussed? How did you answer? And how did they respond to your answer? And now that you’re done, you know, when you’ve hung up the phone or you’ve left the office, and you’re reflecting on the day, is there anything you wish you had said differently?

Anything that you wish you had said that you completely forgot to say? Anything that came out of your mouth that you wish you had not said, it’s always really important to take those notes and write those things down to reflect upon and practice.

So the next time you have an opportunity, you are doing it even better you’re portraying yourself as your best self and that you’re really getting across a clearly communicating the kinds of skills that you have, and that you are communicating it in a way that’s personalized to that job function or to that company, potentially, is there a way for you to demonstrate your commitment to your career transition better, that’s another thing that sometimes will will make or break the difference which again, is not anything for you to take personally.

But it is a big investment to hire a physician without any experience in pharma because they know they’re going to be investing quite a bit in training and teaching you and they would hate to lose you after just a year or two. If You get there and you just don’t like it. So they do like to see that you’ve been very thoughtful about your reasons for wanting to transition and that you’ve done some work to really be sure that you understand what you’re getting into, and that you would like it there.

So perhaps there’s a way for you to better explain how those types of roles fit in with your overall career ambitions, your overall goals. And if, if there’s an opportunity for you to present that better, that’s another thing you might take a few notes on, run by some colleagues, and, and really practice so that you can be sure you’re nailing it the next time.

So wrapping up a quick summary, right? If you are applying a lot, but you’re not getting any interviews, that’s a different situation. And that can be addressed. There are solutions for that, you can check some of my other podcast episodes or again, Industry Insider, which will really help you to understand why you’re not getting through that computer screen or potentially through a Human Resources screen in order to get the interview. So if you’re getting immediate rejections, or total radio silence, that also is not something you should take personally, it is addressable.

But it is a different question than what we’ve talked about in this podcast. In this podcast, we’re talking about people who are getting interviews, but not quite getting the job. And don’t let that get you down. Don’t let it make you give up. And don’t don’t take it personally, it’s not a referendum on your shortcomings, it is almost certainly just one of the other things that we discussed in this episode that made a different candidate edge you out.

Rather than that, you know, there was something that was undesirable to you, because for the most part, again, they’re not progressing people, unless they already say this person meets enough of our requirements, we could hire them.

But again, if you’re getting a lot of interviews, and you’re not getting a job, then it is worth double checking that you are looking great on paper, but somehow not showing up that way in your interviews. And if that’s the case, then take these notes as I’ve described, and think about how you could present your skills or demonstrate your commitment to your job transition more clearly, or in a more personalized way. If you can make yourself a stronger candidate in person in the interview.

That is also something that is easily done. It is something for which we have techniques, right, you can practice, you can get better next time and always, always view those interview opportunities, even if they don’t result in a job as practice and as growth of your network. Never Never, never take it personally.

I hope that this episode has helped you to think about your job search and potentially discouragement along the way, in a different way. That’s it for today. Bye for now.

Before you go, please leave me a review on Apple Podcasts, share and subscribe to this podcast. Your support makes all the difference and it truly helps this information reach someone who may really need it. Until next time, thanks for listening.

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