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Be Patient and Don't Take it Personally

When looking for a job, especially during an economic downturn, patience is essential.

It takes time to find leads and follow up. It takes time to arrange interviews. It takes time to get responses. All in all, finding a job can take a lot longer than you planned. So be patient, persistent and professonal throughout your search, and don't take non-responsiveness or rejection personally.

It's difficult to be patient when you are standing in the cold rain without an umbrella. I know, because I've been there. Keep in mind that the storm will pass and the sun will come out. Even more important, remember that the sun is always shining above the clouds.

A Frustrating Experience

One of the first calls I received after my sandwich board publicity in summer 2008 came from an attorney at a boutique investment bank in New York. He told me he had read my story in the newspaper, empathized with my situation and would help me out. A week later, I had an interview with the firm's chief operating officer.

I was excited by the opportunity, and the executive seemed impressed with my experience and willing to see if I could fit in. He said that the next step was to meet with the firm's two managing partners.

For several weeks, we tried arranging the meetings. It was summer, and the managing partners were traveling for business and then vacation.

A few weeks went by, during which I called and e-mailed the executive periodically. But eventually I stopped receiving a response. I didn't want to let such an exciting opportunity slip by, but didn't want to be a nudge. What was going on? It was difficult to be patient.

Almost two months after my initial promising interview, I received an apologetic e-mail from the executive. He explained that although the firm had been in hiring mode when I first came in, they were now beginning to trim staff, so they could not employ me.

Look on the Bright Side

I was extremely disappointed. After all, I had been invited for a second meeting and had then waited nearly two months, only to have the company's situation change before the meeting could take place. It was frustrating, yet I knew not to take it personally. At least the excitement of the potential position had helped me remain optimistic throughout that summer.

Furthermore, I knew I had to be patient. Finding a job can take weeks, months or years. I once went through multiple rounds of interviews at an investment bank, and ultimately was hired more than a year after my first meeting with the managing director.

Joshua Persky is a New York-based career management author, blogger and lecturer whose professional background is in corporate finance and valuation. Last year he gained worldwide media attention for handing out his resume to strangers on the street while wearing a homemade sandwich board that read: "Experienced MIT Grad for Hire."

AUTHORJoshua Persky Insider Comment
  • Ma
    Mark Lyons
    14 November 2009

    I can definitely relate to this. I once went through two rounds of interviews with a company, only to be rejected in favor of another candidate. They informed me, however, that I was a very strong second and that several of the managers wanted to hire me instead of the other guy.

    So I sent another round of thank you letters, and then, once a month I would call the lead interviewer and let him know that I was still out there and still interested in joining their team. Six months later, they called me to say that they were expanding and wanted to hire me on a three month contract. At the end of the three months they hired me full time, and I worked for them for six years.

    So patience and persistence really do pay off.

  • An
    Anuj Sharma
    9 November 2009

    I am also passing through the same phase now. The times are very hard. But what could be done then only try. Do not lose hope & faith. Thanks Kayla for those blessings. I suppose people like me need more of those so as to get out of the hole.

  • Ka
    6 November 2009

    Oh boy, you all hit the nail on the head...I've now been looking for work a year, always been employed and sometimes I don't know if I can go another day hitting the pavement or completing those long applications on line for each position. Then not get a response at all. Im so frustrated, if my husband wasn't employed we'd starve to death I guess. For those who gave a glimmer of hope thanks...and your right all those projects that were always being put on hold there now getting done...Hope all of you find employment real soon...God Bless

  • Jo
    Jon Jacobs
    2 November 2009


    For some recent observations about employers failing to respond after an interview, see this column published a month ago:

    Our Take: Kiss Off
    "Your qualifications are impressive...." You know what's coming next. But don't frown and bite your lip. Soon, those Orwellian kiss-off messages may reach you early enough in the interview process to do you some good. ...

    -Jon Jacobs, eFinancialCareers News staff

  • Ka
    2 November 2009

    I think the hardest is to deal with non-responsiveness. Crisis or no crisis, I think it's inexcusable that people don't reply to you after an interview, and I find it to be more the case than ever. You've spent at least an hour of your life on somebody and they lack a simple courtesy to simply reply to you.

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