It can be very frustrating to be told that you were number two. It gives you the feeling that if you had only done something different, presented something in a different way, (worn matching socks) the job might have been yours. If it happens to you more than once, it kind of makes you feel like you are “always the bridesmaid, and never the bride.”
But, do you really know if you truly were number two? Perhaps you were number three or four. You just really don’t know, and frankly, IT DOESN’T MATTER.
As I have often been heard to say “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.” Being the first choice is the only thing that wins the day. (Unless it is a job where they are hiring several people.)
What I would like to point out to everyone is that when the answer is no, the information that follows may or may not be true.
Consider the problem from the perspective of the person delivering the news. You didn’t get the job. Now what can they tell you that won’t get them sued? They can’t tell you that you were over qualified. That could mean you were too old. They can’t tell you that they didn’t like your age, sex or national origin. Now that really would get them sued. So, what are they left with? (As Dilbert might say, only the commas and periods.)
If they tell you that you were number two, perhaps they don’t have to come up with as many reasons why you didn’t get the job. If you were that close, no detailed explanation is needed. Hey, you were so well qualified that you almost got the job. Sure, they may give you some explanation, but again, does it matter?
Most important, you are missing the fact that you must be doing a lot of things right if you are getting the opportunity to compete all the way down to the finals. What are all the things you are doing that are getting your resume moved to the top of the pile. (What’s in it anyway that is causing all that attention?) And, you must have interviewed well with the recruiter or the human resource department or you wouldn’t have gotten into the finals. So far so good.
Okay, so you didn’t get the job. Perhaps it wasn’t the right job for you after all. Or, perhaps you weren’t the only candidate. (Now there’s a possibility.) If there were other candidates, it is possible, (even though I like you) that one of them represented a better fit than you did?
This doesn’t mean you need to fix anything in your pitch. It is hard to compete when you don’t know what you were competing against. (I don’t know why, but they rarely let you interview the other candidates.) And, you can’t be something you aren’t. If you presented who you are well enough to get into the finals, you are doing pretty well.
So let’s not have any of this “woe is me stuff” cluttering your thinking. Consider how well you did and think of ways to improve even further that great presentation of yours.
After all, you are well on your way to a successful result. You were number two last time, weren’t you? Hopefully next time you will be number one!
(Don’t forget to send in a “Good News Announcement.”)