Has anyone else had the experience of feeling really great after an interview, and then not getting the offer? I felt like I really nailed my interview - and got incredibly positive feedback from everyone I talked to - but then the position was offered to someone else. Is this pretty common? Do search committees give positive feedback to all of the candidates, or can you normally tell when things aren't going well? Am I just completely out of touch?
Date: 16 Mar 2010 21:17
Number of posts: 11
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I'm sorry to hear that. I had a similar experience, but it was with a phone interview. The SC contacted me a few weeks later saying I was one of the three finalists for the position and that they would contact me in a month to set up an on-site interview. One excited month later, I receive an automated rejection email from HR saying the position was filled. I guess they brought one person in early and just offered them the position. I only got a personalized rejection email after emailing the SC thinking/hoping it was some sort of glitch. Pretty cruel stuff.
So I guess the answer is no, it's not easy to tell, especially when people are willing to mislead you (either on purpose or by accident) for whatever reason. Sometimes the SC may have the best intentions of hiring you/wanting to hire you, but run into political or administrative differences or like two candidates equally well and have to make a tough choice. The good news is that if you got that far, you are employable and should eventually find something. Good luck!
Yep. I had two interviews like that.
The first one, it was political, even though they liked me, the other candicate had his best friend in the department so I realized later that my performance during interview does not matter. Their decision was made even before the interview.
The second one, they thought my research was good but too different than theirs.
I agree with applicant comments, if you heard positive feedback it is a good sign because that means you are employable somewhere you have a better fit. Good luck.
Something to consider that has really helped me over the years is that the search committees are hardly ever 'choosing against you', but rather 'choosing someone else'. It's a subtle but important distinction. You can have the best interview of your life, but that doesn't mean that someone else didn't have a better interview. Are there politics, yes, are there favorites coming in the door, yes, but the important thing to remember is that if they were positive while you were there and even after you left, then it wasn't a rejection of you but a choice in favor of someone else. This reasoning really came to the fore when I had a good friend of mine interview for the same position and ended up getting the offer. Did I have a good interview? Yup…Did they express positivity throughout the interview and even after it was all over? Yup…but my friend got the job. They 'chose' my friend. They didn't 'choose against' me. Not to say that it doesn't hurt, but it helps to take the perspective of this other person who also had a good interview and who also felt good about themselves after the interview, but who just happened to get the job *this* time.
You never know if an interview went well until you get an offer. The only thing you can know based on the interview itself if it was bad.
Rest assured that even if they made an offer to someone else SOME people probably were really pulling for you. It's a tough political process…
Yes, I've had very similar experiences as well. I have had a number of interviews this year and have found it very hard to tell where I stand based on things people tell me during my visit. It seems that there is often a lot going on behind the scenes (e.g., a candidate with an "inside" connection, political forces that favor one candidate's interests/speciality over another's) , which the candidate has little control over. It can be very frustrating because you'd like to think that people are keeping an open mind and that your interview means something; however, in some cases it seems that the decision has essentially already been made before you even get there. Of course, this can also work in your favor, as both universities that have made me "offers" (both of which may end up falling through, that's another story) have indicated that I was a frontrunner all along, largely because they felt that my interests and areas of expertise matched well with what they were looking for. Seemed to have very little to do with my interview performance, though, I'm sure if I wet myself during the job talk or something, that wouldn't have boded well for my application.
And don't you love the green Asst. Profs who use the wording "if you accept your offer" and you never get one. Happened twice so far. So that was a mindfrack
Maybe they haven't been coached on the proper wording ("if you were to come here…")
I found it interesting when, months after not getting the offer, search committee members would come up to me at conferences and say "We thought you were great" and "We really wanted to hire you." It was hard to tell if they were being sincere or just trying to retroactively soften the blow of the rejection, but I felt like replying "Well then you should have hired me!"
Think about it this way: you made it through to the last round. They probably do want to hire you over the hundred and some people that applied. Maybe you lost to one or two others, that's not bad. Beside, you never know when you will cross paths again. What will anyone earn by saying harmful things about you even if you are not hired?
It's happened to me too, twice. I learned afterwards from both places that it had nothing to do with my interview, the dept. was just looking for something specific that I didn't have in my research. You never know why you get rejected - sometimes it is for total political reasons that you can't foresee. Don't let it get your down - sometimes you can rock and interview and still not get the job for some silly reason that you could never guess about.