A recent client felt as if she were spending her life interviewing. She had a good resume that attracted the interest of her target companies, but she came in second – a lot.
I’ve seen many of these situations, and they have a variety of causes. If one or more of the following ring true, you may be able to turn around your faltering interview performance in a hurry.
No matter how good a job or company sounds, you may find out it does not fit you or you may not fit the company.
For example, a company may not say so on their job descriptions, but an entrepreneurial spirit is most important to them. Another company may prize analytical and methodical approaches above all. Would you fit both of these requirements?
This is one of the big reasons you need to research a company thoroughly and then ask carefully considered questions at your job interview. While the company is determining if you are a good fit for them, you are also deciding whether the company and community fit your needs.
A recent client discovered that the job he landed was a perfect fit, but the community wasn’t. While he had researched the company from one end to the other and asked questions at his interviews that gave him the company information he needed, he had neglected to discover what kind of community he would be living and working in. His next choice was a good fit all around, but it meant he and his family moved twice in a short time.
Another fit that is difficult to determine is the company culture. Many times, a job is a good fit, but the colleagues, management, or culture is not. Part of your research of a company can include Glassdoor.com that offers reviews of a company by current and former employees. You can also connect with current and former employees through LinkedIn and in person to ask questions about what it is like to work for the company.
Inaccurate Job Description
One of my clients felt especially dismal after she received a rejection from a company she considered at the top of her target list.
She had been surprised when the interviewer described the ideal candidate for the position as a tough-as-nails drill sergeant who would make their branches toe the line. The job description had portrayed the position as a collaborative and representational liaison between headquarters and branches. My client felt she had failed the interview miserably.
- Me: So, you feel bad because you missed this opportunity for a job.
- Client: Yes, I really wanted that job. It was such a good fit!
- Me: Really? Would you have been comfortable treating your contacts the way the interviewer described?
- Client: Well, no. I’m not that kind of person.
- Me: How long do you think you would have been happy in that job?
- Client: I wouldn’t have liked it at all. It would have been impossibly stressful for me.
- Me: Do you still want the job?
- Client: No, I think I dodged a bullet.
You can be eminently qualified for a position and still make a fiery mess of an interview.
Early in my career, I applied for a marketing director position at a college. The interview went very well right up until the end when the interviewer told me she thought I should keep my existing position. I was shocked and of course disappointed.
“The way your eyes light up and your voice fills with emotion when you talk about your business, you don’t belong anywhere else,” she said.
She was absolutely right. I had unwittingly sabotaged the interview by letting my passion for my resume writing business show. She decided right then and there that I was too entrepreneurial for the academic world and too in love with what I was doing to change it. Neither of us regretted her decision.
Fixing the interview
There are many other ways an interview can go bad:
- Stage fright.
- Lack of preparation.
- Inaccurate information.
- Lack of company research.
- Lack of qualification.
The first two reasons listed above, stage fright and lack of preparation are the most common interview disasters. They are also the ones I can provide the most help with. If you are landing interviews but not jobs, contact me right away. Together, we can determine what’s going wrong and how we can fix it.
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Image courtesy Ambro at freedigitalphotos.net