Q: My son graduated from college 4 months ago, and although he has landed some job interviews, he has come in second three times. What can I tell him?
A: Tell you son he is awesome! Getting job interviews just out of college is difficult, and this is a great track record of achievement — especially to be getting so close.
He will find the pearl soon . . . he just has to open a few more oysters. Developing networking contacts as he goes along is the cocktail sauce. Hopefully he can see those interviews as making friends while searching for the pearl.
A few other ideas:
See if he can find out why he is coming in second. I suspect he is getting the interviews because of a great résumé, but he may be up against candidates who have more experience.
Offer to practice interviewing with him, and see if you can give him feedback (if he will let you — sometimes it needs to come from someone other than a parent).
Encourage him to get his foot in the door: volunteer, intern, talk to friend of a friend. He'll be a lot easier to hire once they know what he can do.
Remind him that it takes approximately one month for every $10,000 in income he is expecting, so he is right on track with getting a job in an entry-level pay range (depending on his field) — but he must persist.
You could also share this non-inspirational quote from W.C. Fields.
"If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. Then quit. No sense being a damn fool about it."
It's another way to say you believe in him, and he will find a job — so lighten up and laugh together.