One of the biggest frustrations I hear from people who have subjected themselves to the grueling activity of interviewing is not being told why they didn’t get the job.
It is a competitive market and let’s be honest, there are a lot of quality candidates out there. But amazingly what could have cost you the job are some simple mistakes that you yourself made.
Yes, there is a bit of accountability here.
From the moment you release your resume you are on stage. Everything you do from here on out with regards to the job is being watched and judged. Slack in one area and it could kill the lights early.
Mistake 1: Not Being Prepared
There are several negative actions which demonstrate you are not prepared for the interview, or the job. When that is the initial message then the overall theme to the interviewer is you really do not want this job. Some examples are:
Not doing your research about the company.
Not doing your research about the job.
Not having clean copies of your resume or related materials.
Not being dressed appropriately for the position.
Not showing up on time or showing up right on time – you should be early.
Mistake 2: Not Saying You Want the Job
Several recruiters, hiring managers and human resource personnel have told me that an interview could have gone well, but they never followed up because at the end the candidate never expressed that they were still interested or wanted the job.
Do Not Assume. Just because you showed up and answered the questions does not automatically equate to you still wanting the job. Your silence could leave the interviewer wondering if you did not like what you heard but you are being too polite to tell them you are no longer interested.
Speak up. At the end of the interview reiterate that you believe this is a good fit and are very excited to join their team as the next XYZ.
Mistake 3: Not Relating Experience to Their Needs
It is great to talk about what you did in your previous career life, but unless it directly relates to the company with whom you are interviewing it means nothing.
Make it relevant to them. You must demonstrate that you get their need and you can solve their problem. Do not leave them to try to connect the dots – show them so they can walk out of that room saying, “That’s our person!”
Unlike the financial industry, in the career industry past success is an indicator of future success.
Mistake 4: Not Following Up
You showed up early, were completely prepared, aced the interview and closed strongly with an “I really want this job” – yep, you have got it in the bag.
Nope, not so fast – your work is not done.
You are not done with the “I want the job”, that is your face to face closing but not the end.
Follow up with a professionally worded thank you for your time correspondence. Be sure to highlight the strengths and positives from the interview. Thank them for their time and re-iterate your interest and excitement for the position.
This will reinforce all the positives that you have and give you an additional edge. Surprisingly many hiring managers will keep those follow up correspondence to put in your personnel file because it demonstrated a positive quality about you.
Creating any of these four mistakes can leave an otherwise positive interview with a bad aftertaste. However, if you avoid you them will stand out above other candidates in a very positive way.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.