Why am I getting pipped at the post?

I am seeking an HR or training and development manager post. Currently a
senior project manager in HRD, I also undertake HR duties. I have an SVQ Level
4 in training and development and am about to finish my MSc in HR management. I
am getting 90 per cent-plus positive feedback on initial interviews and almost
always getting second interviews – only to then be pipped at the post. Any
pointers?

Jo Selby, associate director, EJ Human Resources

Are you getting feedback from your second interviews? Detailed feedback,
highlighting the reasons for you not being successful, is essential if you are
to identify anything that you could be doing differently. Once you know the
reasons for not being successful you can establish whether these are things you
can/want to change for the future.

Clive Sussams, recruitment consultant, Malpas Flexible Learning

You should continue to be as positive and professional as possible at
interview. Be enthusiastic, attentive and knowledgeable about the company
interviewing you.

Clearly, obtaining your MSc will be extremely helpful, but it could be that
you have not targeted the most appropriate jobs to match your current skills set.
You may need to look at roles at a slightly lower level in order to get more
experience and grow.

It may also be desirable to pursue an HR role with a training content as
your practical experience could be insufficient at present to be considered for
a management post.

Peter Wilford, consultant, Chiumento

It is difficult to give specific advice about what to do at an interview
without some more detailed information about the nature of the jobs that you
are going for and the specific feedback that you have been given.

First, you are applying for two quite distinct roles – HR manager and
training manager. It may be that your lack of strong commitment to either role
is coming across during the interview.

You need to know of any specific factors that are impacting on how you come
across. Explain that you are looking for feedback, and most interviewers will
give information about how the process went. Is the feedback you are receiving
the same for both roles?

Second, if you really want either role, you need to put across your
achievements, skills, enthusiasm and understanding of the requirements of each
job. One stock answer for both roles will not do.

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