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Keeping Your Emotions in Check During a Job Search

July 17, 2010
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Let’s face it – we all like to win. It’s part of how most of us are wired and for some of us - it becomes a score-card. Losing is, well, never fun. Especially - when your emotions are in play during a job search. You go through the entire interview process, meet your (potential) future boss and members of the search committee (some include employees you will likely manage). It feels right and you feel very good about the entire situation. All you need now is for the phone to ring to let you know – you won!

Yep – just if you could only get the offer out of the way you could begin planning for your new job, environment and a fresh start. Mentally you are there. It’s sort of like counting your strokes in golf – standing on the green just before you make that final putt. And then you miss. oops!

The phone rings and you can hear the word I'm SORRY but...in the callers tone. “I’d like to thank you for your time” blah, blah, blah – but my client has decided to move forward with another candidate. You freeze. Mentally you are saying to yourself – WHAAAAT? How could that be? We connected in every way and they liked me. I don’t understand. WHY is the next question? All of the sudden your emotions take a different turn and you need to be careful on how you handle the news.

Make sure you think about the following before you react to the news:

· Relationships MatterYou have a natural tendency to become upset with the search consultant that you have been working with. Don’t. Trust me – it’s not their fault. The employer (hiring manager and the interview team) decides who wins and who does not. You don’t want to burn a bridge with the search firm by displaying your emotions. They will either call you back on the next opportunity – or they won’t. I recommend you keep strong relationships with people that are genuinely trying to advance your career. BOTTOM LINE: Don’t shoot the messenger!

· It Ain’t Over Until it’s OVER – Blue Ribbon winners don’t always work out. Yep. There all sorts of things that can go wrong post offer/acceptance. The candidate that accepted the offer could still turn the other cheek and accept a counter-offer. Family situations could change and all of the sudden the successful search has the potential to blow up at the very end. Make sure you have handles yourself in the most professional way possible – and you may get another call with better news!

· Follow-Up With a Thank You Note - You heard me. Gwen Darling agrees. Even if you don’t get the nod, be gracious in the way you handle the news. Remember, the client, their team, the search consultant and their team invested their time and energy in interviewing you, talking to your references and other activities to support your candidacy. Let them know that you appreciate their interest. It’s amazing to me how some candidates revert back to their childhood behavior and just “lose it” and let their emotions get the best of them. Not smart. NOPE!

Losing is never fun – I get that. Losing and then tanking your reputation and future chances with a search consultant or their client is well…like losing twice. That’s dumb. Really dumb!

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