Lost your mojo?
I was reminded the other day of a chap I interviewed late last year for a technical sales role. Really nice chap. On paper, great experience. When I coaxed information out of him, it was clear that he had achieved everything he had said on his CV. So why was I feeling cautious about him? What was the problem?
To use a much loved modern phrase, he had ‘lost his mojo’. Being made redundant had knocked him back so much, followed by rejection after rejection, that he simply could not portray the confidence and energy required for any role, but certainly not a sales role.
Ordinarily, that would have been that – but I felt that underneath it all, he really was a good technical sales guy and could do the job well. So I put him forward to our client, with detailed notes of my interview, including my thoughts on his demeanour. I had to persuade my client to see this chap, and I spoke to him at great length about going into the interview in the right frame of mind: positive, confident, and engaging.
I would love to tell you that this story has a happy ending, but sadly it doesn’t and is a salutary lesson. The client agreed totally with all my observations and said that the candidate’s demeanour was exactly as described in my first interview with him. In other words, despite all the advice and encouragement, he simply hadn’t been able to change his mindset.
This was a recruiting task that we were engaged on for a specific client and a specific role. I desperately wanted to help this candidate but he couldn’t afford outplacement sessions and, although I freely gave him advice over the phone, he would have needed many sessions to move him on from his dark place.
It’s easy to say, “Don’t worry.” Having been made redundant myself in the past, please believe me when I say I am only too aware of the damage that this experience can cause. Yet you must deal with it.
Friends and family will all want to help – you’ll be surprised. If you really can’t face them, talk to strangers. There will be job clubs local to you, and there are many websites that can help. Perhaps posting your situation here will open up the opportunity to talk to someone fresh.
One thing is important to consider: if you start applying for jobs before you’ve dealt with the pain of losing your last one, you’re almost certainly wasting your time. There is no shame in feeling pain, and you are not alone. The truth is that once you confront that pain, and start to deal with it, then you will be able to move on to better things.