A client just heard she didn’t make it to the next round of interviews for a job she was really interested in and for which she is totally qualified.  This has happened to quite a few people.

Often in the beginning of searches, a job comes along that you think is EXACTLY THE ONE!!! And you don’t get it. It sure is disappointing.

And yet…my reaction now is “well, it wasn’t the right fit for you.”

I know – easy for me to say.

Um, no, it’s not easy.  I’ve had my own hard experience of being rejected for jobs (oh, the one in California!) and reflecting on what it could possibly mean.  And I’ve watched many people have the same experience.

I learned that something fairly major is wrong with the job. Most people have a sense of the problem by the time they get the “we’re not taking you further in the process” response.  For me, compensation was the issue at the job in California. If I was going to move across the country and take on a very big job, I needed to make enough money to live on. And the salary just wasn’t enough for me to relocate to the Bay Area and find a decent place to live. For S. today, she had concerns about the scope of the job and her autonomy.  So it’s really fine that we didn’t go further in the process.

To me, finding that exciting job at the beginning of the job search means you’re on the right path, headed in the right direction and not yet at your destination.

Part of job search involves an internal transformation – a departure and detachment from the place you work, and a transition to seeing yourself as a capable free agent with an excellent tool box you’ll bring with you.

My observation is that it’s highly unusual for people to get the first one or two or even three jobs for which they are serious candidates. The interview process seems to be a way of transitioning you away from where you are into where you’ll eventually be.

I don’t know if that’s any comfort – it’s just my observation from working with a ton of people – who do end up in great jobs.