Job interviews are the bane of many people's existence due to the fact the person on the other side of the table is out rightly judging you. So what happens when you are fresh off a great job interview only to discover an email from the hiring manager alerting you the job has been filled. What could have gone wrong? Turns out a whole lot and most of the time it isn't within your control. Here's what you should keep in mind before the what if's start floating around your head.
You weren't qualified
The most obvious reason why you would have been passed over for a job was that you simply were not the most qualified person they came across on their search. Or according to Alison Doyle, Job Search Expert for The Balance, you may have been overqualified. Doyle says, “You may have been as qualified as other applicants, but the hiring manager may not have perceived as a good fit for the company culture."
The budget was cut
Companies are not perfect. Sometimes they put plans into motion that are not secure. Maybe they were banking on a new client that would bring in a ton of work, and of course budget for a new role to help out with that work. According to Vicki Salemi, Monster's Career Expert, “Finance may have realized after the fact that budgets are on hold (a.k.a. there's a hiring freeze) for the rest of the fiscal year."
You came off as negative
Companies are looking for people who have great energy. Doyle points out that what raises the most red flags when it comes to hiring are people who tend to talk with negativity. “If you speak negatively about your current or previous jobs, bosses, or companies, the interviewer won't be impressed," says Doyle. This makes sense since they wouldn't want you bad mouthing them if you became an employee. “The other way to raise a red flag is to make the interview all about you and what you want, instead of about what you can do for the company. Keep it positive, and remember that you need to sell the interviewer on why you would be the ideal candidate for the job," says Doyle.
They hired from within
It's possible that businesses cast a wide net in their search for applicants only to promote someone who already works there. “There could have been a candidate who was referred and strongly recommended by a current employee. The company could have hired internally," says Doyle. It makes sense for companies to hire from their employee pool since salary increase and training will cost them a whole lot less.
You weren't honest
Hiring managers have experience dealing with people aren't telling the whole truth. They can read your body language, your sentence patterns and based on their insight assume you aren't being entirely honest. “I always knew when candidates didn't have experience because they didn't directly answer a question about it. They talked loquaciously around the answer and gave a really verbose response compared to all of their other responses instead of simply saying, “I haven't encountered that program yet, but I'm a quick learner," says Salemi.
You came off as dull
Considering people spend upwards of 70% of their time at work it comes as no surprise that hiring managers are looking for professionals with a good personality. Someone they can chit chat with, communicate ideas to or kill time with on a business trip. “You may be incredible on paper but in person not be able to make connections with people you're interviewing with, especially after two or more rounds of interviews. Remember, they're people," says Salemi. Understandably, the mix of being professional and showing off your personality can be challenging when you are on a job interview, but you need to it off as much as your skills. Make sure to incorporate a bit of small talk to create a connection. Salemi acknowledges, “Often times when two candidates have nearly identical resumes, the one that gets the job is the person who the hiring managers liked most, and who they could see them fitting in with the group well."
If you didn't get the job don't let it discourage you from your job search. The best thing you can do is use it as practice. Do your best to course correct for future positions. Stay upbeat, create a connection and as hard as it might be, do not take it personally.
Women of the Middle East have made significant strides in the past decade in a number of sectors, but huge gaps remain within the labor market, especially in leadership roles.
A huge number of institutions have researched and quantified trends of and obstacles to the full utilization of females in the marketplace. Gabriela Ramos, is the Chief-of-Staff to The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an alliance of thirty-six governments seeking to improve economic growth and world trade. The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.
To realize the possibilities, attention needs to be directed toward the most significantly underutilized resource: the women of MENA—the Middle East and North African countries. Educating the men of MENA on the importance of women working and holding leadership roles will improve the economies of those nations and lead to both national and global rewards, such as dissolving cultural stereotypes.
The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.
In order to put this issue in perspective, the MENA region has the second highest unemployment rate in the world. According to the World Bank, more women than men go to universities, but for many in this region the journey ends with a degree. After graduating, women tend to stay at home due to social and cultural pressures. In 2017, the OECD estimated that unemployment among women is costing some $575 billion annually.
Forbes and Arabian Business have each published lists of the 100 most powerful Arab businesswomen, yet most female entrepreneurs in the Middle East run family businesses. When it comes to managerial positions, the MENA region ranks last with only 13 percent women among the total number of CEOs according to the Swiss-based International Labor Organization (ILO.org publication "Women Business Management – Gaining Momentum in the Middle East and Africa.")
The lopsided tendency that keeps women in family business—remaining tethered to the home even if they are prepared and capable of moving "into the world"—is noted in a report prepared by OECD. The survey provides factual support for the intuitive concern of cultural and political imbalance impeding the progression of women into the workplace who are otherwise fully capable. The nations of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Jordan and Egypt all prohibit gender discrimination and legislate equal pay for men and women, but the progressive-sounding checklist of their rights fails to impact on "hiring, wages or women's labor force participation." In fact, the report continues, "Women in the six countries receive inferior wages for equal work… and in the private sector women rarely hold management positions or sit on the boards of companies."
This is more than a feminist mantra; MENA's males must learn that they, too, will benefit from accelerating the entry of women into the workforce on all levels. Some projections of value lost because women are unable to work; or conversely the amount of potential revenue are significant.
Elissa Freiha, founder of Womena, the leading empowerment platform in the Middle East, emphasizes the financial benefit of having women in high positions when communicating with men's groups. From a business perspective it has been proven through the market Index provider MSCI.com that companies with more women on their boards deliver 36% better equity than those lacking board diversity.
She challenges companies with the knowledge that, "From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies."
Freiha agrees that educating MENA's men will turn the tide. "It is difficult to argue culturally that a woman can disconnect herself from the household and community." Her own father, a United Arab Emirates native of Lebanese descent, preferred she get a job in the government, but after one month she quit and went on to create Womena. The fact that this win-lose situation was supported by an open-minded father, further propelled Freiha to start her own business.
"From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies." - Elissa Frei
While not all men share the open-mindedness of Freiha's dad, a striking number of MENA's women have convincingly demonstrated that the talent pool is skilled, capable and all-around impressive. One such woman is the prominent Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al-Qasimi, who is currently serving as a cabinet minister in the United Arab Emirates and previously headed a successful IT strategy company.
Al-Qasimi exemplifies the potential for MENA women in leadership, but how can one example become a cultural norm? Marcello Bonatto, who runs Re: Coded, a program that teaches young people in Turkey, Iraq and Yemen to become technology leaders, believes that multigenerational education is the key. He believes in the importance of educating the parent along with their offspring, "particularly when it comes to women." Bonatto notes the number of conflict-affected youth who have succeeded through his program—a boot camp training in technology.
The United Nations Women alongside Promundo—a Brazil-based NGO that promotes gender-equality and non-violence—sponsored a study titled, "International Men and Gender Equality Survey of the Middle East and North Africa in 2017."
This study surveyed ten thousand men and women between the ages of 18 and 59 across both rural and urban areas in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the Palestinian Authority. It reports that, "Men expected to control their wives' personal freedoms from what they wear to when the couple has sex." Additionally, a mere one-tenth to one-third of men reported having recently carried out a more conventionally "female task" in their home.
Although the MENA region is steeped in historical tribal culture, the current conflict of gender roles is at a crucial turning point. Masculine power structures still play a huge role in these countries, and despite this obstacle, women are on the rise. But without the support of their nations' men this will continue to be an uphill battle. And if change won't come from the culture, maybe it can come from money. By educating MENA's men about these issues, the estimated $27 trillion that women could bring to their economies might not be a dream. Women have been empowering themselves for years, but it's time for MENA's men to empower its women.