You are one of those individuals who looks so good on paper that you almost always get that call for an interview. You are excited; you get your hair cut; you buy a new tie, shoes, or a new blouse and jacket. On the day of the interview, you begin to prep in plenty of time – you want to look professional and business-like – understated makeup and jewelry, a conservative business shirt, and a perfectly pressed sport or suit coat. As a final measure, you brush your teeth again and grab some breath mints, just in case.
You arrive early and spend your wait time reading a magazine or newspaper, trying to look calm and interested in the content. Inside, you only have one thought – “Please let this go well!”
But it doesn’t go well, and a few days letter you receive the rejection call or letter – again! The problem, you know, lies in that fateful interview, but you simply cannot figure out what you are doing wrong. You might want to some serious reflection as you read through this list of 7 reasons why you “bombed.”
1. Lack of research:
You have not done any research on the company. Of course you may know that the job opportunity entails, but how much time have you spent reading about the company itself. Have you been on its website? Have your read what it says about itself? It’s always impressive when you can say something like, “I read that your sales reaches over $1 million last year. I am really excited about the prospect of joining a company that is really growing!” Even if your job is in the IT department, potential employers like to feel good about their successes – they’re only human!
2. Lack of substantive prep:
Sure, you took care of the physical preparations. And if you’ve already been through several interviews in the same career field, you have a general idea of the questions you will be asked. If you’re not getting the offers, however, there could be something amiss in the substance of your answers or in the tone or style. You need to practice your answers in front of a mirror. How do you look when you give them? Are you looking yourself straight in the eye? Are you confident but not aggressive? Are you too soft or too loud? You need to have the content of your responses so ingrained that you are not “hemming and hawing,” that you are not stammering or looking for words, and yet do not appear like a robot who has memorized all the right words!
3. Coming on too strong:
You may be naturally gregarious, but leave that part of your personality at home. Don’t dominate the conversation, and don’t talk a mile a minute! An overbearing personality is usually seen as a threat to teamwork and cooperation.
4. Coming on too weak:
Neither can you be seen as unassertive and unable to have a strong opinion about something. You cannot come across as someone others will walk over or take advantage of or who will be fearful of voicing their ideas or thoughts! You’ve got to find that middle ground, and again, practicing your answers and your voice tone are really important.
5. Be a good listener:
Managers and executives are usually emotionally invested in their companies. They like to speak to their accomplishments, to how the company has grown, to the great people they have on board. Many people come out of interviews thinking that most of the time was spent with the interviewer talking, not them. They are surprised, then, when they get the job offer! And here’s why they did: they sat up attentively and listened; they looked that person in the eye; they gave non-verbal cues that they were interested in what was being said – small nods, small smiles, and a tilt of the head to show interest.
6. Don’t be afraid to admit a weakness in a skill or knowledge:
If you come on sounding like you are a master at everything the position entails, you will sound like a fraud or over-qualified for the position. If you are asked a question to which you do not know the answer, don’t try to “bluster” your way through it – you won’t look smart. Instead say, “You know, I don’t know the answer to that, but I am a quick study and I look forward to learning about that.” Now, yu look smart and honest!
7. When you’re asked if you have questions, don’t pull out a list:
Know what questions you intend to ask in advance, and have them in your mind! And your questions should relate to the position, not your benefits, pay, or hours. Your interviewer will either give you these in writing or explain them to you. Ask questions like, “How will the IT department be expanding over the next several years?” Even if you are desperate for the job, the paycheck, and health insurance, don’t act like it!
Your job now is to back over this list and carefully reflect on how you are conducting yourself during the interview process. You can probably find a few things you need to change before that next interview – get on it!
Andy Preisler is an outreaching blogger at Grabmyessay.com intended to share his extensive experience gained during his long educational path. His passion is writing and discovering new educational techniques. Please feel free to contact Andy via social media: Twitter.