Have you ever wondered what you did wrong that cost you the job, after a job interview that felt like it went well but didn’t result in an offer?
Here’s a list of the eight common mistakes you might have made.
The interview isn’t over until it’s OVER
I’m always surprised by what applicants say to the receptionist as they leave. Last week, one confided, “It would be so exciting to work here, I’m planning to open my own small business in this area.” Oops, which employer wants to hire a short-timer or a new employee who might spend evenings, weekends, lunch hours, and perhaps work hours launching her own business?
- “Sorry I’m late; there was a lot of traffic.” What? You can’t arrive on time on a day when you’re on your best behavior?
- “I’m going through a tough time,” you say, when explaining why you didn’t take time to review the employer’s website in preparation for your interview. You may get warm empathy, but not the job.
- “Sorry,” you say as you gesture toward your jeans. “It’s casual Friday at our work.” So, you’re excusing the fact that you’ve showed up under-dressed for an interview? What else might you excuse, once hired?
Overly rehearsed or non-answers
When asked the stock interviewer question, “What are your weaknesses?” you answer, “I don’t really have any.” This leaves the interviewer thinking you don’t know yourself well. Perhaps you’ve rehearsed a “good” answer such as “I’m so committed to my job and employer that I take my work too seriously.” Now you sound phony. And don’t try, “I have a hard time with others who aren’t motivated.” Not only didn’t you answer the question, which was about you, but you sound like a finger-pointer.
“I don’t like to say much,” you say, “but there were some serious ethical issues with my last employer.” You’ve said enough, and now the interviewer wonders, “Will you be saying negative things about us in six months?” “I’d rather you don’t call my current supervisor, we don’t really get along.” So who’s the problem, you or the supervisor?
Boring the interviewer
You love talking and ramble past the interviewer’s attention span, until the interviewer smiles too much, hoping you won’t notice how fast she’s ushering you out of her office.
Don’t cuss. Enough said.
Asking, “Do you know when we’ll be done here?” Let us not keep you.
My family comes first
Of course, but we’re not asking about life priorities, we’re focused on the workplace – and if we hire you, will you be? If you overemphasize work/life balance, your interviewer may admire your priorities, but you won’t get the hiring offer.
© 2016, Lynne Curry, executive coach and author, Beating the Workplace Bully, 2015, AMACOM.