Why is it that sometimes the candidates who are clearly more qualified and have more relevant experience often get interviews, but not jobs? Or, what goes wrong when you make it to the top two and then lose the offer to the other candidate? It's within this place that we often hear candidates talking about age, race, gender, or any other type of discrimination. As much as we all like to spend most of our energy concentrating on how we will prove we have the most relevant work experience and qualifications, it's a rare day when hiring managers will choose one candidate over another simply based upon one candidate being more qualified to do the job than the other.
In fact, less qualified candidates often get the job offer, leaving the more qualified ones feeling relatively perplexed and distressed. I am not going to say that no discrimination takes place because it does – as illegal as it is. But that's not what is going on in most of these cases. To explain this more clearly, please follow along with this scenario. Let's say you are married and are planning a trip of a lifetime – just you and your spouse. If there is a place in the world you really want to go but you fear you may never get the chance, that's exactly where you are going. You plan the trip a year in advance and you are staying there for three weeks. Imagine yourself talking about this trip with your friends and family. As you share the details, picture the excitement that you will have in the tone of your voice (or that will pour out in exclamation marks as you write) and the passion that would exude out of every energy channel in your body. You likely end these conversations with, “I can't wait!!!" Now imagine that three months before you leave on your trip, your spouse tells you that he or she wants to separate. This is very unexpected and devastating. However, you realize there is a chance you two could work it out, so you aren't canceling the trip – yet. Although if you can't work things out, the trip is off. You decide that outside of 2-3 very close friends, you are going to keep this under your hat and not talk about any of it. You want to work on things and don't need the world to know. In the upcoming days and weeks, many people are asking you about your trip. Of course, you doubt it is still on, but you aren't saying anything so you just play along in hopes that everything works out. Just last week, you were talking about and saying things like, “Oh yeah! And we are staying three nights in this awesome hotel then going here and staying at this cool place, then we are going to be here where there is a pool off our balcony! I can't wait!" What does it sound like now? Probably something like “Ahh... yea... it's going to be a lot of fun. It's coming up soon... really looking forward to it..." Even though you didn't tell that person that you may not even be going, he or she may now become suspicious that something is up just based on you expressing yourself with much less emotion.