Always the Bride's Maid, Never the Bride

By Todd Whisenant SPHR, SHRM-SCP @HRanswers

(Editors Note:  Todd is a guest writer this month. I can’t agree with him more about your job search!  You have to find a fit…not just a job. RL)

Always the Bride's Maid, Never the BrideWe have all heard the saying "always the bride's maid, but never the bride.  It is a sad, old cliché, yet for some candidates interviewing for a job, it may seem like the norm for them in the interviewing process as they always make it to the final interview, but are passed over for another candidate who has that "something extra."  

In turn, candidates try their best to improve themselves, to become irresistible in the hopes of finding "Mr. Right," the organization they see themselves joining and growing with happily.  Unfortunately, many times candidates lose sight of what makes them "a great catch," being true to themselves.

I'm not suggesting that we forego trying to improve and learn from our past interview experiences.  On the contrary, everyone should work towards becoming better, to highlight and accentuate what makes each of us so great. What I am suggesting is that we don't try to become something we are not.

There have been times recruiters have come across applications and resumes that look incredible... you know the ones that when you touch it a golden light beams down on it and you hear ta-da!  You're thinking you've found the most perfect candidate in the world only to find later in the interviewing process, or worst after the candidate is hired, they are not what they seem to be.  It's awkward and usually very painful.  A divorce of sorts and let's hope a lawyer is not needed.

In dealing with these situations, another cliché, one from our dating days, may be more appropriate, "It's not you, it's me."  And in reality it is.  The organization failed to truly take the time to know you, the real you.  And you need to be you.  Just be yourself.

Remember, interviewing is a two-way street, just like dating.  And while sometimes a candidate is awe-struck with their organizational date, it is important to get to know the organization you're wanting to be with and hopefully growing with and for them to get to know you - the real you. Don't be desperate to land a job.  That always comes across the wrong way in an interview.  And don't be ashamed of what you've done (unless it was illegal or something) or haven't done.  State what makes you, you - and a great one at that!

I am a strong proponent of there being a fit between the candidate and the organization.  This creates a long lasting, a strong career relationship.  With few exceptions, a candidate's attitude and aptitude are more important than the skills needed for the job.  Skills can be trained, attitude is ingrained.  If it isn't a fit, it's never going to work, you're only kidding yourself.

Today's youngest working generation is about that - being themselves and looking for a fit.  And the crazy thing, at least to some Baby Boomers, they're not afraid to walk away from the interview process because they realize it isn't going to be a fit.  Yep, just like dating, a candidate may discover something on the second or third interview that says this relationship won't work and just like a date, they'll be polite for the time and end it with a handshake.

So if you're looking for "Mr. Right" organization, don't give up.  Keep at it.  Be you. Be the great you that you are.  Because it may seem like you're always the bride's maid, but never the bride, when in reality it's just not a good fit.  Get to know the interviewing organization and help them know you.  If you're not hired, then it wasn't meant to be.  It wasn't a good fit for one or both of you. Both have to be willing to see the fit and commit.  If both see the fit, then it will be a great career relationship.

Back to listing