Job Search

People often ask me what am I doing wrong in a job interview? They’ve sent out fifty resumes, they’ve landed ten or so interviews, yet they’ve missed out on the job. This strike rate says to me that this person’s resume is working for them to a reasonable extent, so it probably does come down to a few things.

Here are some reasons you may not be offered the job.

1) Too many people at the one job interview.

This is pretty much market dynamics and not a lot you can do about it at the time, although you should be thinking strategically about how you can stand out, whether that be by upgrading your skills, doing some thorough research prior to the interview or by really focusing on the value you can add to the job.

2) The job has been withdrawn.

This happens more often than you think. Sometimes employers will interview just to test the waters. They may not tell you this. After the interview they may fill the job internally, restructure the organization or outsource the role.

3) You may threaten or intimidate the interviewer.

This can happen. You may have more experience than the person who interviews you. We all have egos, and the interviewer may be questioning how well they will manage you on the job. They may also ask whether you will want their job, or how long you will actually last in the job.

4) The job does not exist.

One of my clients recently had a recruitment consultant interview her over the phone. They offered to forward her resume along with two others. She waited 10 days and rang the consultancy again. Her first consultant had left, but the replacement said she would follow up with the client. Four days later and still my client had heard no answer, so she rang the employer client directly and asked about the job. The employer had not formally given the job to the agency. The agency were responding to an advertisement. This is the topic of a whole other blog post, but be warned, it does happen.

5) You don’t interview well.

Here’s where it gets tricky. There are many things people do that will see them eliminated in a job interview. I’ve covered some of these in this post, on job interview nerves. It may be that you don’t answer questions, you talk over the top of your interviewer, you give the wrong information, you talk too much or you talk too little. In other words, many many things.

A lot of what I have just said comes down to communication skills. Different from “hard” technical skills, how effective you are as a communicator is hard for you to gauge. With software skills, for example, you know when you have them. How well you communicate can come down to how “self aware” you are. The reason this is hard for you to pick personally, is you can only really see your success as a communicator reflected in others.

Have I just confused you? Stay with me on this. I’m about to explain what I mean.

Other people are good at hiding their reactions to what you say and how you say it. Lots of people, especially interviewers, are good at looking like they are listening, when they’re not. In work or in your personal life, few people will be really honest with you, if you do something routinely to annoy them in the way that you communicate.

It can also be confronting for the other person to say how you make them feel, as in a sense they are bringing up unpleasant aspects of your personality. Often you may never hear the truly honest feedback you need, as deliverer may sugar coat it. Or you simply shoot the messenger who gives you bad news about how you come across.

If you want to improve your job interview skills, I suggest you do an audit. How do you really know that you are a good communicator? Ask yourself is it me or is it you?

See also: 10 Classic Job Interview Blunders You Must Avoid.

Image: Shutterstock

About Karalyn Brown

Karalyn Brown is a resume, interview and job search consultant based in Australia. She’s also an online careers agony aunty, writes frequently on career issues for a major Australian newspaper and talks job search tactics on the national broadcaster. You can visit her blog InterviewIQ or follow her on Twitter @InterviewIQ.

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