Well, why not?!

I’ll tell you why you didn’t get hired. And I bet it isn’t the reason you think. It wasn’t a bad cover letter or resume. It wasn’t a lack of interview ability. It wasn’t because you were of the wrong gender, race, or sexuality.

You didn’t get hired because you did not get enough interviews. That’s at the heart of the problem. If someone arranged 10 interviews with 10 great companies, you’d be all set because you would work like a demon to prepare like crazy – and with a bit of luck, you would collect 1 or 2 job offers.

The main challenge is, and always has been, getting enough interviews.

What to do? Online Applications?

The solution is not sitting at your desk completing hundreds of applications online. I won’t say that’s a total waste of time, because doing something is evidently better than doing nothing – but it is reasonably close to useless.

In the elite companies that you want to work for, almost all the interviews happen because you get a referral from a senior person or a recruiter. It could be a dinner on campus, it could be a zoom call for STEM students, it could be a diversity event, it could be your parents’ connection, or it could be because you sat next to a director on a plane. You get it – it could be completely random.

Try an experiment!

Find 10 people you know who landed good job offers or internships with great companies. Ask them the following question: “Did you just simply apply online and get offered an interview – or did you somehow have some kind of connection to a recruiter or person at the firm, or a personal contact who perhaps forwarded your resume to the right person?”

I tried that experiment recently with 20 people working in the front office of investment banks – and an incredibly SEVENTEEN of them told me they had someone who referred them to HR. I bet you will get a similar result.

I estimate that at least 50%, but as much as 80% of candidates, interviewed by elite companies get interviews because they are referred by somebody.

Wake up and smell the coffee! Stop spending so much time completing online applications. Start networking.

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