Advice on how to overcome perpetual second-place finishes.
By Roger Lear
Great Insurance Jobs’ Cofounder Roger Lear is here to help you overcome obstacles to your career and job search. This month, he offers advice on how to overcome perpetual second-place finishes.
Q: I was turned down for a claims job for the third time last week. In each case, I was told I was one of two finalists. What can I do to be the first choice?
A: The first thing that stands out is that you obviously have the technical claims skill sets to be highly considered for your last three jobs. I’m sure many of the applicants wish that they had your background, since most never even got an interview. But something is happening when three employers all end up picking the other candidate, leaving you in second place. You would think the easiest way to figure this out is to just ask the employer what you could have done better. However, in our 2019 litigious world, many employers will not share this with you since they are being told by their human resources departments to be very careful. If you do get feedback, the most important thing is to find out what the other person had that you didn’t. Don’t be surprised if they tell you what this was and you have that skill, but it just never came out in the interview.
The next thing you should do is think about how you interviewed. Did you use specific examples of your claims-handling skills to paint a clear picture for the hiring manager? If you ever leave an interview and say to yourself, “I should have told them about the time I…,” then it may be the reason you are finishing second. For your next interview, think of at least seven claims cases you handled and prove your worth by showing the employer how you litigate, close files, work with your team, and save money. The person who gets the job talks in the same language as the hiring manager, and that language is claims.
Soft skills are also a huge reason you aren’t getting the job. Soft skills are things like positive attitude, good listening, superb communication, persuasiveness, flexibility, and an ability to problem solve. When you become a finalist for a position, you already have the technical skills. Your soft skills are how you punch your ticket. Companies like to hire people who fit into their culture. If you can figure this out before the interview, then you will increase your odds of getting the job even if your technical skills are not as strong as the other candidate. Hopefully, you know someone who works at this company, or you can use Glassdoor and the company’s corporate Facebook page to get some ideas on what kind of company culture exists.
Finally, you may be losing out on a great job because you are not telling the employer that you want the job. The best way to do this is, at the end of the interview, reiterate to them that you can solve the claims issues in the caseload (the real pain points) and that you want the job. Immediately after the final interview, send an email to thank them for their time and, again, reiterate that you would love the position.
Got a career question for Roger? Email him at Roger@GreatInsuranceJobs.com.