We’ve all been there. After countless hours searching for just the right position, you finally get the call you’ve been waiting for – the company wants to meet you!
So you went for the interview. You thought the interview went pretty well, but instead of a job offer, you get a rejection email – or even worse, no correspondence at all. What went wrong?
Sometimes, the answer is “nothing at all.” There was a more qualified candidate, the company decided to promote someone from their existing ranks, etc. Other times, unfortunately, the fault lies with you.
If you’ve missed out on the job of your dreams due to a poor interview, all is not lost! Here is a list of things that may have contributed to the issue and what to do about them!
1. You Didn’t Dress for Success
It doesn’t always seem fair, but appearances do matter. Before you even open your mouth to introduce yourself, your interviewer has already formed an opinion about you, based solely on the way you look.
Was your clothing appropriate? Was it too baggy or too tight? Was there a stain on your suit jacket or dirt on your shoes?
Sure, your clothing won’t affect your job performance, but the way you present yourself during an initial meeting offers the interviewer key insights into your personal brand. If you haven’t dressed appropriately for something as important as an interview, how can they trust you to represent the company well on an average Tuesday afternoon?
What to Try Next Time: Consult a trusted friend, family member, or colleague on your attire choices. Have them photograph you sitting as well as standing, and from different angles so you can see what the interviewer will see. The day before the interview, make sure your clothes are clean, pressed, and free of pet hair, lint, etc. Polish your shoes, if needed.
2. Your Body Spoke a Different Language
Your body language says a lot about you. It can tell the interviewer if you’re confident, nervous, frustrated, or angry. Did you cross your arms? Bite your nails? Fidget with your hair or tug at the hem of your shirt? Any of this can be a deal breaker.
What to Try Next Time: Find someone to conduct a mock interview with you. Video yourself answering questions, and take special notice of your body language. Chances are, you won’t even realize what you’re doing until you see it for yourself. Play the video for a different friend or colleague and solicit their feedback. What are they seeing when they watch you?
3. You Didn’t Perfect Your Interview Tone
Sure, it’s about what you say – but it’s absolutely about how you say it, too. Was your tone aggressive, sarcastic, self-deprecating, or bitter? Did you let negativity creep into your voice when you described a bad experience with a past employer? Did you babble a bit out of sheer nervousness? You can have the best answers to every question, but if your delivery is lacking, the interviewer may take that as a sign that you’re not quite up to dealing with superiors, co-workers, and clients.
What to Try Next Time: Again, videoing yourself during a mock interview is a lifesaver. You can also practice in front of a mirror or with a friend. Each time your tone is off, start over. It may feel awkward (and it will probably get frustrating!), but practice will eventually make perfect!
4. Your Personal Sales Pitch Was Off
An interview is a chance to sell yourself – your skills, abilities, strengths, and experience, so your pitch needs to be spot on. Did you come prepared with your professional portfolio? Did your work samples and letters of recommendation showcase your skills in the best possible light? Most employers are looking for someone who will do more than show up and answer their questions – they want to see that you’ve prepared for them as much as they’ve prepared for you!
What to Try Next Time: Come armed with a polished, professional portfolio – or better yet, woo them with your digital portfolio before you ever arrive for the interview!
5. You Didn’t Do Your Research
What did you know about the company coming in? Did you take the time to gather some intel about who they are, what they value in their employees, and what their company culture is like? Did you prepare a list of company-specific questions designed to impress them with your research skills? An interviewer wants to know that you’re interested in the position, not just the paycheck, and the more you know going in, the more impressed they’ll be.
What to Try Next Time: Do your homework! Spend some time on the company’s social media pages. Comb through their press releases. Browse the “About Us” and “Recent News” sections of their website. Activating your professional network is also a great idea – do you know anyone who has a connection to the company? What valuable information can they offer?
The key to interview success can be summed up in three words: practice, practice, practice! Learn from your mistakes, do what you can to change them, and be honest about your successes as well as your failures.
Above all, keep trying! One bad interview isn’t the end of the world – it’s just the beginning of the journey to another, more positive interview experience!
© 2016 Julie Perrine International, LLC
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at www.AllThingsAdmin.com.