In a perfect world, we would get an offer job on position we applied for. In an almost-perfect world, for the positions we didn’t receive, we would get adequate feedback and a crystal-clear explanation of what went wrong, so we could fix it and nail the next interview. However, in the real world, things aren’t quite so simple, and it can sometimes be difficult pinpointing just what is keeping you from that job offer. Although you won’t land every job, you need to make sure that you are taking all of the necessary steps to present yourself as the most optimal candidate each and every time you are interviewing to increase your chances of getting an offer. If you are beginning to see a pattern in abundant job rejections, then it’s a smart idea to take a step back and try to discern what you might be doing that is costing you a job offer. From our personal experience in the staffing world, here are a few things that can harm your chances in landing your perfect job. If you have been racking your brain trying to figure out one reason you didn’t get the job, we’ve got a few that could be your potential culprits…
- Lack of enthusiasm: Going into an interview unenthusiastic is a recipe for disaster. If you don’t show interest in a job, why should an interviewer show interest in you? Companies want to find candidates who are genuinely excited and interested in the openings they have to ensure future happiness in the organization. In essence, they don’t want you to just need a job; they’d like you to truly want it. Candidates who are invested and passionate about their role are going to bring long term success to an organization, and interviewers know that!
- Vague answers: Interviewers prefer direct and thorough responses from candidates to help gain a better perspective on you and your experience. A more thorough answer also helps you sound confident and proves credibility in your experience. Vague answers can often times make you appear as though you are fabricating your skills.
- Lack of interpersonal skills: We realize that some of this can be a bit out of your control, as you can’t help what your personality type is; however, it’s imperative to portray yourself as confident and personable in an interview. Stay calm and let your best personality traits stand out! Most companies are organized where you will have to work on teams, so you must display that you are comfortable in this type of setting and can work/communicate in any group or environment.
- Arriving late: First impressions are everything; enough said! Showing up late shows lack of planning and initiative and can lead to negative assumptions (i.e. if Joe Candidate is late to this interview, will he also show up late or be unreliable at work?)
- Not dressing the part: Professional dress is vital for every interview. You always want to come off as a strong, confident candidate, and professional dress can help you to achieve this.
- Not asking questions: It is guaranteed that you will be asked by the interviewer if you have any questions for them about the organization or position towards the end of your interview. It’s extremely important to have a list of questions prepared to take in with you to the interview. Not having any questions or feedback can unfortunately make you come off as though you are not truly interested in the position and can often times show lack of initiative.
- Badmouthing former bosses: This is one of the ultimate interview faux pas. By no means should you ever down talk a past employer, no matter how frustrated you were while employed by them. This can work against you and make it appear as though you are difficult to work with and will have personality conflicts. Also, what’s to stop the interviewer from thinking that you’ll do the same to them?
- Not paying attention: Not paying attention signifies lack of interest, which results in you not getting the job. It does not leave a good impression on your interviewer and can even offend them. When you’re in an interview, it’s important to listen to every detail about the job and company so you can get a strong assessment on whether this is the opportunity for you. Your interviewer is taking time out of their day to meet with you and discuss the position, so be respectful and give that common courtesy back by staying engaged throughout the entire interview.
- Having a “what’s in it for me” mentality: Ever heard the saying “there’s no I in team?” Acting as though you are above the position and organization is not a route you want to take in an interview. Be confident, not arrogant; and yes, there is a difference between the two! Companies want to know that you care about them and their bottom line, so remember, it takes a team to make an organization great, not an individual.
- Neglecting to do your homework: It’s vital to research the organization and position you are interviewing for prior to actually interviewing. This shows determination and interest in the position. Believe us when we say that interviewers will test you to make sure you’ve done your homework. In fact, it’s typically part of their screening process, and candidates who have not done their research are eliminated from the running immediately.
- Forgetting common interview etiquette: Forgetting common interview etiquette is just giving the interviewers an excuse to not hire you. This being said, when in an interview don’t chew gum, use poor language or do anything else that’s not appropriate in a business setting.
- Bringing up salary too soon: We’ll go ahead and admit it, this is a tricky subject. When to bring up salary perplexes so many of us. We know money is important, very important; however, you don’t want to portray to a prospective employer that this is the only aspect you are concerned about. As a rule of thumb, we recommend letting the employer bring it up first. They realize that it’s a vital piece and will surely bring it up when they feel it is appropriate.
- Not sending a thank-you note: Not only is sending a thank-you note post interview common business practice, it’s common courtesy! It can help to show your sincere interest and gratitude for the opportunity.
- Being overly-aggressive in follow-up: There is a fine line when it comes to following up on your application status after an interview and consistently bothering your potential employer by e-mailing or calling on a daily basis. Thanking a manager for an interview and checking in to follow up is very acceptable; however, be sure not to cross that professional line when it comes to follow-up.
- Not learning from your mistakes: Weaknesses are OK; in fact, everyone has them. No one is perfect, and employers know that. What can hurt you though is not learning from your mistakes or improving upon your weaknesses.
Don’t fall victim to these interview traps, as it can be extremely detrimental to your chances of landing a job offer. It’s important to never let your guard down and always put your best foot forward in each and every interview. After all, you never know who might come along down the road to help you land that dream job, so make your impressions count!