Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

Being rejected is even worse than being on the receiving end of an angry tweet from the president.

You walked into the interview feeling big. That's what all the interview experts tell you to do. Now you feel tiny.

Worse, now you keep asking yourself: "Why? Why? Why?"

My eyes have exclusively fallen upon a new study -- performed by a company called SmartRecruiters -- that asked both those who got the job after an interview and those who didn't get the job about their experiences.

Please imagine that 49 percent of those who didn't get the job insisted that they understood "not at all well" why they hadn't succeeded.

Indeed, it seemed to make them feel not at all well.

This may be because 38 percent of the rejected say they got just an email telling them they weren't wanted, while 46 percent said they simply never heard from the hiring company again.

You might think this would breed a little resentment.

I delved, however, into the numbers a little more deeply. And two stood out as perhaps giving the tiniest clue as to what might have been going on.

1. 63 percent of the hired candidates said they spent more time talking about the company than themselves. (Only 47 percent of the unsuccessful candidates did the same.)

Well, well, well. America isn't always the best place to learn about modesty. Too often, parents, teachers, psychiatrists, and self-help books have encouraged people to love themselves. This has affected the way Americans date, just as much as it's affected them in job interviews. The interview isn't the place to tell the interviewer how awesome you are. It's to tell them how your mind works, how interested you are in what the company does, and how you communicate with people to make them feel comfortable. Telling people how awesome you are doesn't often make other people comfortable. How odd, then, that more than half of the failed candidates spent more time talking about themselves. Which leads me to Point of Enlightenment Number 2.

2. 78 percent of the successful candidates rated their physical appearance as average or slightly unattractive. (66 percent of the rejected candidates rated their physical appearance as attractive or very attractive.)

A touching nugget, this. And surely not entirely unrelated to the one above. Please imagine that maintaining a little perspective is quite important not only to your own mental well-being, but to the way you're perceived by others. Still, you'll find so many LinkedIn profiles that insist their subject is a maven, a change maker, a guru, a visionary, and a thought leader. There's usually a gorgeous photograph of a slightly smug face to go with it. No, just no.

But what about SmartRecruiters? It claims that it "provides an amazing candidate experience, hiring managers actually want to use the product, and recruiters love us because we make their jobs easier."

Oh, it's as if they haven't yet listened to their own research. Amazing must be the new awesome. And look at how much they're loved.

Still, you might care to offer a counterpoint. You might muse that many hiring companies are simply looking for people who will do the job and behave themselves.

They don't want huge egos and vastly self-regarding, ambitious types.

Oh, perhaps.

But if you want the job, play their game first before you walk in there and show them how awesome you are.

Oh and, just a thought this, give it a few months before you tell them how to run things.

Published on: Apr 9, 2017
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