Multiple Points of Failure in the Job Search #WhyJobSearchStinks

February 12th, 2020

When I was studying for my degree in informational systems last century there was this concept of points of failure. Imagine you have a system (like a computer system, or a vehicle) and something breaks. Where did it break? The bigger question is, where are all of the places that could fail?

In a car you might have an empty gas tank… that blame can fall on the driver, but if you are one of those roads in Nevada that go for hundreds of miles with nothing around, it can be fatal. Other points of failure could be in a seat belt mechanism, the steering wheel, or back in the old days, the Ford Pinto gas tank (which was fatal).

I recently resurfaced a post from 2013 about the villains in your job search. As I read it now I half feel like I was whining and blaming, and half trying to figure out what was broken in the job search. Unfortunately, there is A LOT that is broken in the job search.

JibberJobber Points of Failure

From HR to hiring managers to recruiters to business owners… all of the people involved in the hiring process, to job seekers and their allies (coaches, resumes writers, job club hosts, etc.), there are plenty of places that might be a point of failure.

When I was in my job search, which was a miserable failure, all I knew was that “it didn’t work.” Kind of like when a computer “doesn’t work,” or a car “doesn’t work.”

But I didn’t understand what IT was.

I thought it was me. I was broken. I didn’t have the best attitude. I didn’t know how to network. I didn’t like networking.

Couldn’t people just see from my resume that I was competent? And I could definitely add value to their ecosystem?

I interviewed fine, I thought. I cleaned up well enough.

But hardly any interviews. And no offers. Even though I was accomplished, and my resume looked good.


Please think about your job search. How are things going for you? More than “it sucks” or “it’s broken,” where exactly are you having problems?

If I was smarter in 2006 I would have thought “I’m not getting interviews.” And then, the question: WHY NOT?

When at IT tech comes to check out your broken computer, they don’t throw it away (usually). They do a diagnostic.

When you go to the doctor, they (hopefully) don’t just say “take these pills.” They do a diagnostic.

I want you to do a diagnostic on your job search. Where you are failing, or where you feel pain, might be places  you need to fix. It’s easier to fix “why am I not getting interviews” rather than “why am I not getting a job?” The latter question is too vague.

I want you to find YOUR failure points in the job search.

I talk to people who have lots of interviews, and get to the third or fourth interview regularly, but never get an offer.

Do they need to work on their resume? Probably not. Their resume got them into plenty of interviews.

Are they bad at interviewing? Probably not… they got plenty of offers for second and third interviews.

Their point of failure is not figuring out how to close the deal.

How do you fix that?


I’m going to pull out my MBA answer and say “it depends.”

This is why their are interview coaches. You probably aren’t going to find your answer through an article. Perhaps there is good information out there, but a coach can help you understand whether you have a unique situation or not. If you do, they can talk you through it.

How do you fix your points of failure?

The first step is to identify where you are failing. And then, instead of thinking YOU are broken, fix the issue.

If indeed you have a villain that you need to blame, then fix it (I don’t mean to murder anyone). But then, once it is fixed, MOVE ON.

If you get stuck again, identify your point of failure and address it.

Before you know it you’ll see less failures, more traction, and you might just be accepting a job offer!



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Podcast: “I’m a leader, how do I communicate that to employers?”

February 6th, 2020

Don Jones, one of my friends from Pluralsight, invited me to an interesting conversation he was going to have with a job seeker. This guy had plenty of leadership skills but wasn’t quite sure how to best communicate that in his job search.

Listen here:

Jjason Alba Don Jones Job Search Podcast

This conversation was only 39 minutes… and I got a chance to talk through job search strategy and tactics. We talked about personal branding, of course, and a bunch of things that I think will help you in your job search.

You can either play it in your browser, or on a podcast service, or just download it from Don’s page, here:


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Who Is To Blame For A Bad Job Search?

February 5th, 2020

Job Search Villains

I was poking around my blog last week and came across this post:

Who are the Villains in your Job Search?

One of the “benefits” of having written for almost fourteen years is that I come across stuff I’ve written about, and was at one point passionate about, but have since forgotten. It’s like I get to relive a bit of that passion.

Or, it leaves me scratching my head wondering what they huh??

This villains post sounded… jaded. Weird. It’s arguable that since I lost my job in 2006 I’ve been jaded and weird :p While the post was kind of hard to read, I think the point is still valid.

I think the most important part of that post is that you (a) identify the “villains,” or bad guys, or where you need to place blame, or even triggers, and (b) answer the question in my very last line: how will you resolve your villains?

I was recently in a conversation with a close friend about some issues… and for every issue we were trying to figure out the root causes. In having those conversations we identified people or situations at the root cause, but at one point realized that it seemed like we were mostly finding someone to blame for something.

I think root cause identification is great, and healthy. But it isn’t always what you need to do.  Let me put it another way:

I have problems.

I need to move forward.

I can work on root cause identification. But if I spend too much time there, or wallow in that, I don’t leave enough time or space to move forward. Sometimes, I need to set my issues aside, set the blame aside, and do what I need to do: marketing, product, management, etc.

I have to function. I have to make progress. Otherwise I’ll just get caught up in nastiness.

In a way, no matter who else the villains are, I can become the biggest villain if I allow them to rob time from me.

This is the same for you. If you are in a job search, you can blame your idiot ex-boss for your problems. Or you can pick up the phone and ask someone for an informational interview. If the phone is too scary, send someone an email.

Don’t let your villains rob your progress. 


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