On Friday I found out that I had been unsuccessful for a role with Moreton Bay Regional Council's Economic Development team. I found out I was one of three people short listed for the position. I don't know how many people applied for the role but I would imagine the number would have been at least 20+. Ultimately, I was told that another application had more directly relevant experience. This really highlights the importance of getting vacation work in your chosen area if you can get it, unfortunately I have a full time job and need to work so taking six weeks off to work as a intern isn't an option.
Since starting this blog I have been to two interviews and got to the psychometric testing stage with QR National. Every person I've spoken to who has been successful in gaining employment in an economics related role applied for 20-50 positions. The reality is that these roles are competitive, clearly based on my experience having decent grades and demonstrating dedication to the field such as involvement in the Young Economists and University of New England Economic Society definitely helps getting to the interview stage.
For all my interviews I have been very well prepared having research the company or department reading reports and finding news articles. I am thinking perhaps this preparation made me a little too prepared and perhaps I didn't show enough of my personality in the interviews. Ultimately, the person making the decision has to want to work with you.
I know in one interview for a Business Analyst position I was just too green. They were a small team looking for someone to hit the ground running on the first day and I couldn't honestly say I was that person. The experience was worth while because it demonstrated a gap in my knowledge and was able to find a great book on the using excel to do business analysis on amazon.
In the recent interview its quite likely the reason I was given was right more often than not employers will choose the least risky candidate rather than the potential best (Of course it's perfectly possible I wasn't the candidate with the best potential either). Experience even if its mediocre trumps potential. This business insider article, Why Mediocre People Keep Getting Promoted addresses this issue. http://www.businessinsider.com/why-mediocre-people-keep-getting-promoted-2012-2
Anyway I hope this blog piece has some useful information in it and isn't just a bitter rant by someone looked over for a position.