Interviews are a minefield. It’s difficult to tell, if it went well or badly, if the interviewer has a great poker face or they really don’t like you. Here are some reasons that you might have been rejected for the job, despite (what you thought was) a great interview.
Law of numbers
You need to consider that for every vacancy there is approximately 100 applicants, about 10 of those will have the right skills and/or qualifications to be eligible. So statistically, if you do have all the desirables for the role, you still only have a 10% chance of securing the position. So don’t start feeling like the odds are stacked against you until you’ve been rejected 10 times.
Being exactly what they want
It’s a natural response to interviewing, you want to be exactly what they’re looking for, give them the answers they want to hear, act how you think someone who works for them would. More often that not, although mostly we do this because we really want the job, this comes off as insincere. Feedback will often be that you “weren’t being yourself” or “they didn’t see enough of your personality”, this is code for they thought you were giving them what they wanted to cover up the imperfections of who you really are. This creates more worries than it relieves, they’d rather know what they’re getting warts and all.
I cannot emphasise this one enough, confidence is key! You can be the most qualified, perfect candidate for the job, your CV might match the job spec word for word, but if you can’t go and tell them why you want the job and why you would be great for it, someone else is going to get it over you. Practice talking to people making direct eye contact, practice answering direct questions, practice projecting your voice and always smile. And if all else fails, fake it til you make it.
Not asking for feedback
It may be a tough pill to swallow and 90% of people won’t do it as a matter of pride, but asking for interview feedback is a great way to improve your technique and give you a better chance of securing the next one. Often companies will give generic feedback like, “there was another candidate we thought was a better fit” or “another candidate just had more relevant experience”, at times this is true, however, sometimes it’s the kindest way to reject someone as it’s not about them personally. Ask for the particulars so you can work on it for the next interview, if nothing else you gain credibility for wanting to work on yourself.
Going in with the wrong attitude
It’s easy to get downtrodden when you’re constantly interviewing and almost go into robot mode when you sit down in front of the interviewer. If you go in feeling like its yet another interview, and you have no enthusiasm and excitement about that role in particular, don’t bother going for the interview. No one wants to hire someone apathetic about the job, they want to hire someone who’s going to breathe new life and bring something fresh to the team. If you’re not feeling it, neither will they.
In short, all interviews are good experience, so long as you can pick yourself up, brush yourself off and learn from them. Face it, you’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s ok.
Practice with friends and family, ask your recruiter to give you some interview tips about the particular client, you will get better and the right job is around the corner.
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