Defining Success


Whilst working closely with a client who had applied for a job, and was successful in getting to the next stage, they were facing their first interview in over 18 years.  The client felt it was a daunting prospect; the thought of the interview and the interview process was getting more energy than the interview itself would take.  There were self deprecating thoughts and words, feeling that so much had changed in industry over the years and yet not giving any thought to the fact that they also had changed in 18 years and had so much more to offer now than they did back then.  So much more experience, both life and career experience.

We worked together to re-frame the interview process as an interview in both directions, the client to interview the company as much as they would interview the client, perhaps the company would not be a good fit for my client.  My belief is that a good fit for both employee and employer benefits from this approach.

The client prepared for interview, for meeting someone they had never met before, for promoting their strengths and challenges, for facing the recruitment world, for the expected sleepless night before the interview and opened the conference room door to the first interview in over 18 years.

The feedback was “It was ok, much better than I thought… I felt comfortable in answering the questions’ – great, it was a success, whatever the outcome in relation to the job it was a success, the client is out of the pigeon hole ‘first interview in over 18 years’ – that’s fantastic.

The process moved on and a week later the client gets called for a second interview, and is only one of two people to get to this stage.  The chatter starts again, more unknown people, what will they want to know? The other person being interviewed is elevated to new heights; they must be incredible, mustn’t they? After all they got a second interview.

The second interview takes place; ‘they were lovely, made me feel very comfortable, but I had a list of answers prepared to lots of difficult questions and they never asked me…. That was disappointing….’ ‘I am happy with the interview though and whatever the outcome it went well and was really good experience’.  This was quickly followed by ‘the guy I’d be working with is a bit of a serious character though’,’ the HR department seems really inefficient’, ‘I’ve heard there is a high staff turnover’…… It prompted me to ask, do you really want this job?

The waiting began, the longer the wait the more the client wanted the position, wanted to be ‘successful’, wanted to be the chosen one of the final two candidates, wanted to be employed again, didn’t want to stay in the recruitment arena, didn’t want to face more interviews and more preparation.

Today I received a text that simply said ‘Didn’t get job ;-(’

Before I speak to the client, I can’t help but wonder if my client will be upset and disappointed or if they will be able to celebrate the success of having overcome significant challenges in the last two weeks.

I believe this is an accomplishment to be proud of, a great opportunity to learn more about themselves and the journey to a new role.  Truth be told I don’t know if this role / company was a good fit for my client, I have a feeling there are bigger and better opportunities on the horizon.

So please remember there are lots of ways to define success; for some it is making a million euro, for some it is owning their own home, for some it is getting that sought after job / role, for some a good relationship with family, for some it’s a lucky escape and for some being able to walk and talk unaided is the best reason in the world to celebrate.  Rejoice in your successes and be grateful for everything that is good in your life.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts”.  Winston Churchill