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I am a great candidate, but I’m not getting interviews! What’s Wrong?

Dear Stephen,

I lost my job almost a year ago, and I’m trying to find a new one.

I just turned 49, and I’m in sales, I basically took a package from my company because it was time, the package was good, and I couldn’t resist.

Usually, I see people writing you about not getting “the job”…or maybe how to negotiate the best offer and how to interview better, but I’m not even getting a lot of interviews. Occasional calls from recruiters, sometimes hearing about an opening - but still no interviews. I’m tired of hearing from my wife that it’s the lowest unemployment since 1962 – How do I not have a job already? Even I am wondering what I am doing wrong.

I don’t understand why it’s so hard for me to even get an interview right now. I have a good track record in selling and strong client and A&D relationships, and if I may say so myself, I look the part of a high-energy salesperson – confident and smart. I feel like I am the best person for every role I apply for, very few interviews. Lately none!

Since leaving my job, I have not updated my LinkedIn to “seeking opportunity.” Do you know what I mean? That’s when the green circle comes up around your picture. I strategically decided I wanted to come from a position of strength when negotiating with a company, and I figured I’d explain in person; why I left my last job. Which, again, is because I was offered a ‘package’ I simply couldn’t refuse.

My plan isn’t working as well as I thought. What’s your suggestion?


Poker Face

Dear Poker Face, 

Here is your answer: Vulnerability + Authenticity = Interview! Let me explain.

You sound very confident, which is great, but there is such a thing as overconfident. And your plan about not updating your LinkedIn, to be honest, is, well, how should I put this…it’s stupid! 

Let’s start with not updating your LinkedIn; that is shady. Let’s say you get in front of someone for an interview, early on you have to explain you are not working, and when you tell them that you haven’t updated your LinkedIn and, in fact, are unemployed – they’re gonna think, minimally, that you’re dishonest, or maximally, oh what is that word, dishonest!. And if you tell them you have not had a chance to update it or did not know how to, they will think you are out of touch with technology, which makes you seem dated and unreliable in today’s market.

Here’s my tip for finding an interview the fastest or how to get the most interviews while you’re looking; you need to express your vulnerability to a prospective employer and everyone you network with. Meaning it’s important that everyone knows you’re unemployed, you’re seeking a new job… you just need some help. Everyone decent likes to help someone. Explain you are looking for work and why (need a job), and once you are in front of the hiring manager, that is when to bring out that roar of confidence by explaining important qualifications like relationships you have with customers, sales goals you have met, sales awards you have received, and big sales you brought in. My suggestion you be vulnerable for an interview does not mean you should be a whining, begging baby. It means you should be authentic with your story and bold with your experiences. For me it is a sly way to get yourself in the door, meaning the interview.

But you also need to do the work and not rely on recruiters. No company is paying a headhunter a big fee to recruit someone unemployed. Being unemployed does not make you unemployable; it just makes you not ”fee-worthy.” So, apply directly online through a company’s website …everywhere. Remember, I said everywhere, which means to download your resume everywhere you want to work, even when you do not see an opening. Get in that company database! Because there will be an opening sooner or later, and you will get the call to interview.

If you’re posturing and calculating on LinkedIn, or even on your resume, thinking you’re going to fool someone because you’re embarrassed that you’re no longer working – it’s going to work against you, and you are only fooling yourself. In my opinion, that’s why you’re not getting interviews. Remember, put in the work, and Vulnerability + Authenticity = An Interview!