SO many last round interviews, NO offers

It has been a tremendously disappointing job search! I have spent countless hours on take-home projects and rounds of interviews to lead me to rejection emails. As a result, I am slowly becoming less motivated and feeling stuck in my current career and company. In addition, I recently became a single mother; her dad committed suicide last year, so it's been emotionally hard.

I tried to find motivation in other posts and LinkedIn articles, but it is hard! I've changed my resume a million times and it has worked to get calls, but it seems that I can't pass the final rounds!

People keep telling me the opportunities are at their peak, but I am having such a hard time finding a place that is a good fit. Many of the rejection emails consist of:

  • You're too senior for this job.
  • Your experience doesn't have enough financial analysis/experience with XXXX.
  • Your compensation request cannot be met at this time (I think living in the Bay Area has made it hard to find something that is going to allow me to make all ends meet)

I didn't want this to become a sympathetic post!! I just feel so drained all around! I hope that people are having somewhat of a better experience than me! I am grateful for this community and the chance to just speak what is in my heart and mind ☺️

I've had the same experience! You are not alone. Hang in there. I would advice taking a break and just resting. It's hard to not think about the job search constantly but it is EXHAUSTING. You deserve rest!
I am so sorry to hear about your struggles! It's so easy to get demotivated. I agree about taking a break - sometimes just a little distance from the situation can help. And I am so so sorry to hear about your single mom situation - it is SO hard, and that is so tragic for you and your kiddo.It can be really hard to find a good fit with what a company is looking for and what your skills are. In my job search a few years ago I got a lot of feedback about being too senior. I would recommend seeing if you can tap your network a bit more - this allows you to do a bit of pre-screening. Or, I have emailed the contact person/hiring manager to do a soft inquiry about a fit so you don't waste time on jobs that won't end up working out.
Don´t have any advice but a hard SAME. Don´t feel bad about being emotionally exhausted. I especially hate the whole "you are too senior for this role" when you are the one who applied for it in the first place. Hopefully things will turn around for you soon.
Celeste you’re not alone on the search for a new job feeling difficult! I experienced some of the same - getting through numerous rounds of interviews to be rejected usually via generic email from HR, or feedback that speaks to areas addressed in the interview rounds prior to the last. If you’re able, give yourself a break from it, take some time to do things you enjoy or even some time to “do nothing” even if just for a day or few. Don’t ever feel bad for taking time for self-care. Thank you for sharing your story and vulnerability 🤗
I definitely had that when I was looking for full-time roles. It's frustrating to get to the end and feel that the job is the right one for you and then they decide to go another way. I had that happen a few times and it feels awful. However, when I think back on the ones that happened in the last couple of years:1. I would have loved the role and the team seemed great. But then I noticed the person who would have been my direct supervisor left. Also, the pandemic hit, and that role would have been toast anyway.2. With another, I ended up syncing with the person who did get the role as we're doing similar work. It ends up she's frustrated because she's not getting the support she feels she needs to roll out certain projects. In contrast, I'm on a team where I get a ton of support.3. There is one where I got rejected. Some news broke about the org where I know I would have been on the other side of that decision, and it was bad news for them and the decision they ultimately made. It doesn't feel like it now, but with most of these near misses, you just might find out something later on where you realize that fate was doing you a favor. Ultimately, I did find something via someone I worked with before. My current org is pretty perfect for me. Nothing is 100%, but it's very close. I know it's exhausting but nurture yourself and keep going.
Super tough situation - hope you're hanging in there.I can offer a potential translation for some of these bullets; these might be totally off base but this is part of what I hear:- "You're too senior for this job" could be their way of saying "we don't think you are *willing* to do this job." That might be because the role is indeed too junior for you, but you might be ok with that. If you are ok with it, you should make that known to them - "this role is more junior than my experience on paper, but I'm excited about doing it and joining the company anyway because of x, y, z reasons." As a hiring manager, it can be scarier to hire someone overqualified than under-qualified - because you don't want them to be dissatisfied and quit quickly. So if you really want the role, I would be explicit about why you're willing to do something too junior.- "Your experience doesn't have enough x y z" could be their way of saying "you don't seem like you would learn these new skills fast enough." It's your job to prove to them that they are wrong :) Either with examples from your past, or by learning a new skill in between the phone screen and final round interview that you can point to.- "Your compensation request cannot be met at this time" - for this one, I would do what others suggested, which is ask for comp bands early in the process.Good luck! Hope you land somewhere great.
Does the middle point still apply to freshly graduated candidates?
I think so - I think there's a way as a new grad you can show that you're a fast learner. Both with examples from your past ("I learned how to use excel in my last internship and built this model that I'll send you") and also by asking questions that show you understand their business. A good way to set yourself apart is to skip the obvious stuff ("who are your competitors") and go for the stuff that shows you get it ("what was your response when this competitor released this product?")
Quick one - on this comment 'Your experience doesn't have enough financial analysis/experience with XXXX'Are there any quick courses you could do to bump this up? Loads of the top Universities have made subjects free/low cost through their online short courses.
Have these three conversations with the Recruiter up front in your future initial screens. Ask about the level analyst needed, expertise required, and give them your salary requirement. At minimum this will save you (and them) time. As a Recruiter, I appreciate candidates being forward in these areas, because they are all areas an interview panel or HR board can get caught up on. More importantly, my sincerest condolences on your recent tragic loss. As a single mother with three children, I understand how important it is to make ends meet. It became difficult for me to make ends meet while living in Los Angeles, so I made the choice to move to Florida and begin working remotely. Now I work for a San Francisco based company from Florida. I make regular trips to LA and the Bay area on business. Perhaps this is an option worth exploring?
Oh I am really sorry about all of this. As a parent, I completely get the heartache and stress of balancing work and personal, and constant let-down is soul crushing. May I offer some tips?1. Taking a step back to re-evaluate is an excellent idea. It doesn’t have to be for a long time, maybe even just a few weeks to clear your head, see the big picture, change mindset of anxiety and frustration, and come up with a meaningful game plan and approach.2. Maybe meet/chat with other professionals who’ve been in your shoes and/or work in a similar space and can give you immediate feedback. I’ve used Qalbaq (career advisory marketplace) on a few occasions when I’ve been in a bind and needed to meet with actual professionals in roles I’m seeking to help me with interviews and job searching and truth-giving. You get the benefit of finding the actual professional you want to talk to and booking a meeting and meetings are confidential and doing it anonymously if you wish. And it’s quite therapeutic to let it all out without fear of corporate backlash! a nice perk— they can help connect you directly with companies or roles that fit your background)3. It’s a crazy job market lately and I have found that most jobs landed are found through networking! So please use Elpha or LinkedIn or Qalbaq or any other professional services to build your community and keep at it— view as something fun and positive, rather than labor intensive. Wishing you the best and hoping I have helped in some way!
You are going through A LOT outside of the job hunt, let alone within it, and many of us are our most vulnerable during interviews (myself included). My heart goes out to you for your loss and change. I have also had LOTS of final rounds in gruelingly long interview processes (6+ interviews & large group interviews and presentations sometimes) where I made it to the end and it was between me and one other candidate and the other candidate was always selected. Every time. It can feel brutal, especially on repeat. I'm sorry you're being pushed to a limit. Please keep going. Keep believing. Wishing you the best.The practice of asking for a candidate to complete a take-home project is VERY BAD and unethical for several reasons:1. It's an abuse of power that leads to more inequity in the hiring process. The results of a take-home project actually tell very little about if a candidate should be hired or not and again this practice works against DEI for many reasons.2. There is no possible way someone can do great work under the vague and time crunched conditions while being completely siloed from the team they'd be working with. (A critical piece to the puzzle is after all collaboration and communication with others). 3. Most candidates are able to get so little information about a role until hired, the company's goals, expectations, ways they measure success in the role, understanding of the company and it's projects, it's real pain points, and with very little time given to research for the homework (again - the results of take-home projects give a very inaccurate portrayal of a candidate's ability). 4. It is completely disrespectful of humans to expect them to work for free so they can be tested without knowing what they are being tested on now how success is measured, while many candidate also work a job. I have turned down companies for asking me to complete projects more than once - and its their loss because this practice scares away highly skilled candidates who simply don't have the time because they already work FT, raise a family, and take care of their own lives. The practice shows a company's values right away and I want to work for a company that wants its workers to be healthy AND great at what they do. (If your staff are healthy and happy, they miss less work, they collaborate better with others, they work harder, they stay longer so there's less turnover - all of those things lead to more profit and attract better candidates).4. If companies spent time training their internal hiring managers and HR on best hiring practices, they would not need to waste so many people's time asking for free work because they would ask the right questions in the process, they would understand what traits to look for and they would all be clear on how they're measuring candidates.
Job search is frustrating. It is very demotivating when you reach the last round of interview phase and get rejected. Believe me when I say I have been there. I have broken down into pieces those times. So a small advice, if you want you can try this method - limit the number of applications you sent in one week as 5, spent some time networking & attending webinars, and finally most important part of all - self care. You need to release that stress by taking a walk or meditating in the garden or just go sit somewhere and enjoy the scenery. Just do things you like to keep yourself mentally happy. If you feel your too exhausted to try this, take a break and approach a career coach. It can be expensive but It will put you in the right track. Preferably someone who has/had worked in your field of expertise.
It depends on how you look at it. I totally get where you are coming from, I’ve been there. I felt so desperate I told a job, just to have one (as I’m the sole breadwinner too). And it’s crummy. Part of my wishes I was out looking since there are so many opportunities out there. I think taking a break, daily weekly, where you walk away is really helpful. I worked on job apps in the morning and then watched a webinar or course to boost learning. Be patient, you never know what will happen, I’m sure you will find something great soon.
same here. I took a few year for my family and try back to workforce. Keep up , take a break , talk with friends/family.
Sounds incredibly difficult, it’s so hard when challenges in different parts of our lives start to pile up on each other. Not to mention, simply parenting during these crazy Covid times as an underlying/constant stress all on its own. Then add job searching exhaustion and everything else into the mix, that is all really hard. I think you are incredibly strong, I can tell because you were able to post this and because of your perspective. It’s not easy to share in this way, but it is so important and helpful to others who relate to parts of your experience (like me). I hope you know you aren’t alone and have a few ideas that might help after reading all of these amazing comments.
I'm going through a similar experience. I can just advice, to gather your learnings and keep applying. not every consumer purchases every product, identify your applications ratio in order to finalize a contract, set a goal and find the right match. Good luck with your search! P.S. I know that it is quite depressing but not doing nothing will not help you to reach your goal.
Hi! I'd say that if you get repeated feedback about being too senior and having too high of comp, you should consider whether you're applying to levels/roles/titles that are below you and not commensurate with your level of experience. If you need more financial analysis experience, I'd consider researching/networking to find the right reputable experiential learning opportunity to add to your plate (course, certification, etc). BTW, I'm Rachel, a Career Exploration Coach and I'd be happy to chat further if there's anything else I can help with (clarifying your best fit direction, clarifying your story, interview prep, negotiation, etc) -- I offer a free career coaching call here -->
@Celeste56 So glad that everyone is sharing you are not alone. Whoever does hire you (and you will get hired!) will be very fortunate to have your industriousness. That said, this sounds like a lot, and taking a breather for a perspective refresh might be helper. You deserve to feel good, well, rested, and valuable. "You're too senior for the job." + "Your salary request cannot be met." sounds like you haven't met your match for the place that treasures your experience enough yet! But you will! So many people I meet get to THE WALL (job search frustration), and it's not long after that The One (the great job, the match, the one that you want that wants you back) comes along. You're worthy, you'll find it. I'm sorry that you're having a frustrating search so far. Maybe check out a session of Advanced Job Search Strategies by Malinda Coler. She has a refreshing take on job searching, and is brilliant at helping people make reframe their experience in interviews that is empowering:
take rejection as protection. I’m in the same boat, however everyone i feel like i’m about to give up I remind myself that there is something better for me out there
@celeste56 Thanks for sharing. I'm a senior level Product leader and frequently encounter situations where I'm like "did I just experience the glass ceiling?!?" Reading your story made me ask the same question... "Is she experiencing the glass ceiling?!?" I think you might be. It's tough because it is out of your control. I'd also suggest taking a break, reflecting on where you've gotten traction and where you have not, then trying again. Wish you the best in the next go!
I am not sure I have any good advice, but just want to let you know you are not alone. I've been searching for about six months and have had 15 interviews, all rejections, and for many of the same reasons you're getting (if I am getting any reason at all -- most I get no feedback). It's just so hard and while sure, it's good experience to build up a thick skin to be able to accept rejection, it's still just so hard to not take it personal. I find it also is difficult when this happens at the same time while the media narrative keeps claiming 'everyone is hiring!' and 'it's so easy to get a job right now!' -- it's definitely not the case for all and I think competition is probably higher in some industries as so many people are looking and applying right now, especially as more remote roles open up spots to many people who wouldn't have been eligible before due to geographic restrictions. Anyway, hang in there <3
This has really been my experience over the last ten years. Always a bridesmaid and never a bride!I pride myself in my generalist skill set, yet at the end of the day, it seems like everyone is looking for specialists.
Hello, @Celeste56! I hear you. I completely understand what you are saying, and I feel like this at times as well. All that might be done at this point is good self-care and more motivation. Please, know that everything you feel now is normal, and it's ok to feel this way!
I am so sorry to hear this. The best feedback I’ve heard (and the data supports it) try to get a referral. Referrals are 10-20% of candidates and 40-80% of the hires. Another tip - always follow up a bit after the rejection to stay top of mind with the recruiter if you truly liked the company. Here is a template that was shared: Dear [Name], I just wanted to say thank you again for taking the time to consider me for [specific role] on [specific team] at [company]. I left my interview with not only a positive experience, but I learned [specific piece of feedback or reflection you had] that’s going to make me better. I plan to [do this specific thing] to get better in that area starting tomorrow. Although this role didn’t work out, I would still love to pursue other opportunities that come up that might be a better fit. Please keep me in mind as openings come up in the future. Thank you![Your Name]Keep the positive attitude, thoughts & vibes going as best as you can through this & you will find the right fit! Good luck!!!! 🍀👍
Similar story here. I was a VP, Sales at my last position. Now I have been searching for a customer success manager role or an individual contributor position. It seems as though I spend at minimum 5 minutes of interview time w/ hiring managers who say they don’t get why I’m not trying for another executive position. Meanwhile I’m trying to turn the interview back to why I’m great for that role. I’m also advanced in years and while I can’t prove ageism, I do think I have been subject to that at times during my search as well…Tomorrow is another day.
Oh.. you are not alone, I felt this. Since March I'm actively searching for a new job cause started to feel like I'm stuck in the same position and domain, for 5 years. The moment I realized this is not a comfort zone anymore but a losing my mind zone started to see myself as powerless and out of control with my career. So decided to change my domain and start applying to all, goddamn all available positions that are suitable for my experience. Applied for like over 50 listed job offers, 70% were like "we have decided not to move forward with your application" and the other 30% I had the chance to schedule an interview. But every time I pass all interviewing steps successfully, the final meeting was either "you are too senior", "the salary range is above than expected", or another round of repetitive questions from previous interviews where at the end they ghosted me without giving any kind of feedback. All these months led me to be depressive, I lost my motivation to work even in my current company, started to believe that I'm not good enough and everyone is just doing great expect me. Still looking for a new opportunity and occasionally gather my courage to apply somewhere... I guess I wont lost my last glimpse of hope until I find something better.
I am so sorry about your experience... (1) I would advise not to take projects as a part of recruitment as a rule, it is too exploitative for the most part; (2) In the Bay Area, recruitment is heavily reliant on the human interactions and the best way of getting jobs is networking. It does not only mean dedicated career fairs but also meetups in your field.
As a few others in this community have said, you are not alone, though your circumstances are especially challenging. You may want to check out a book called "Never Search Alone" by Phil Terry. Part of the process that the author recommends is to get together with a Job Search Council (they match you with others) so that you have a group of other job seekers to help you (and you help them) through your search. I think it will be helpful for me, and it may be helpful for you as well. Hang in there.
You are not alone! At least you are getting interviews, In 7 months I had 4...!