You want the job and you studied the company. You spend a bit of money on a well fitting interview suit. Your heels are fresh and clean. Your car adequate. Your resume pristine. References are available on request! You have an awesome attendance history. You learn new programs easily. So why didn't you get the job? You need this job, you want a career. You have a BA and you want to work. What went wrong?

The first person advises you to be more focused. In this economy recruiters don't want to waste money training someone who won't stay. Even for an $8 an hour waitress job, it takes $350 to train a new employee. If that person doesn't stay long enough to make back the $350, its worse than a wash - its a net LOSS to the company. So sound committed. Sound like you want to stay until you retire. Don't speculate on furthering your education or taking off when you have kids. Sound like you want the gold watch and the twenty years, and overtime will be no problem because you are married to the company.

By the way, do your research. Visit their website. Make an investment in writing a resume and cover letter that match the needs of the company you hope to work for. Don't sound like the average temp from a temp agency. Sound like the person who cares, who goes the extra mile to represent quality. Employment practices have changed. You may not be interviewing with the person you are actually going to work with. If its just a human resources administrative supervisor, you don't want to make that person ill at ease before you even get a chance to meet your possible co-horts.

The second person advises you to not be too focused. You can wander the professional networks, and play up your strengths to a point, but if you are off putting to the human resources person, you won't get far enough to be hired. Try not to be so smart that you are intimidating. No one wants to lose their job to you. People in human resources don't like competition. They want to hire nice docile people, people who will show up to work on time. Trainable people, people open to learning. Its a fine line to appear well educated enough to get the job and yet dumber and non-threatening to any one else. But walk this line you must if you want the brass ring.

The third person advises you to be your self. To be authentic. Not desperate, not drowning, not regaling the interviewer with stories on how much you need this job because you want health insurance for your arthritis or a roof over your head, just honest enough so they sense the honesty and feel safe around you. That's hard, but so is job hunting in this recession. One hundred and eighty people show up for each part time opening I applied for with the state library system. One job. We all needed it. But the library only needed one of us. So we had to be focused, professional, eager, authentic, and more.

Be reliable.

Be friendly.

No matter how bitter you feel about your reduced circumstances the truth is, nobody else cares. If you let your frustration show, even for a second, even around a stranger, even in your free time its the kiss of death. You can act as dysfunctional, lame, controlling, crazy or bad as you want once you HAVE a job, but until then you need to remain upbeat, and ever hopeful of the recession ending.