Great interview - so why not me??
It’s the same old story, maybe with a bit of a twist: “I aced the interview. Why didn’t I get the job?” Sometimes the answer is right in front of your nose. But there are times when no one knows the answer, or it’s best to leave it alone. No one wins every game, every time. Sometimes you do your best, make no mistakes, but find out you weren’t the “right fit”, even though you were a “strong candidate.”
When the hiring manager tells you “best of luck with your endeavors,” take a moment to look over your interview answers and determine what needs improvement. Sometimes it’s as simple as the punchline. Did you deliver your material in an interesting, innovative way? Or were your answers textbook, lacking any personalization?
Here are a few examples needing a closer look. Take time to optimize your presentation and stop losing the job to another candidate.
An online presence works wonders - or disasters.
The first area most candidates neglect is their online presence. Your resume may use the latest ATS techniques, is formatted for optimized performance and details the best parts of your qualifications, but do your online accounts match? Hiring managers are known for running pseudo background checks on social media and blogs. Your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts speak volumes.
We know to keep those embarrassing photos and posts offline. Yes, we’ve all had a crazy night during our college years. Don’t share it with the public. A key rule to remember is this: If you wouldn’t want a parent to see it, don’t post it. Most mature professionals should already know this. It’s the subtler mistakes we need to focus on here.
Religious, political and social views are one of the most difficult aspects of social media. They create lasting relationships and blackball you from potential careers. During the 2016 Presidential Campaign, Facebook reported more deleted friends and angry comments than any other period. This is because religion, politics, social concerns and professional profiles don’t mix. Everyone has their own views. TopResume offers more advice about avoiding social media mistakes.
Practice, but don’t appear unnatural.
Preparing for the big interview is crucial. Practicing interview questions is critical. However, coming off as too practiced is costly. A deadly mistake is sounding too prepared or rehearsed. Most hiring managers’ questions are intended to judge how you think and react in a crunch. They don’t want prepared comments. Hiring managers want to know how you really feel.
Repeating memorized answers makes you appear uninvolved and seem like you’re going through the motions. This will kill any chance of winning the job. Rather than provide rehearsed answers, take about three seconds to think about the question. Then reword your answer to fit the question. One great tactic is using real life examples. Answer their question, and follow up with an example that qualifies your answer.
No one likes an arrogant know-it-all.
We’ve all been told to brag a little and show off our abilities to the hiring manager. But, there is more to proving yourself than bragging. Too much bragging tells the hiring manager you are self-centered and arrogant, or you care more about your personal gains than realizing the company’s goals. Admittedly, it’s often difficult judge the correct ratio.
Some experts recommend the 80/20 rule. Focus 80 percent of your answer towards helping the company and 20 percent towards self-promotion. Compare the interview to selling a car. Obviously, you want to convince the customer the car has the best attributes for the best price. But you also want to tell them how your car will benefit them. Start each comment by directly answering the hiring manager’s question. Then follow with an example that connects your answer to their company.
Be sure to sound professional.
It’s true that hiring managers want the best person for the job and prefer candidates with the greatest experience and skills. Skills and experience only take you so far. You must deliver the package in a professional manner. Slang, mispronounced words and poor grammar will kill your presentation, making you look unprofessional and under-qualified. Even the smartest, most qualified candidate can destroy their chances by sounding unprofessional.
Hiring managers consider your presentation, tone and speech as an indicator of how well you will perform. Using words similar to “like,” “um” and “c’mon” are strictly prohibited. Take time to speak clearly and effectively. Try not to think and speak at the same time. First, think about your answer, then say it. Don’t fumble for the words. Practicing in front of a mirror or with a friend can help your presentation sound more professional.
Some personalities don’t play well with others.
Okay, so you nailed every interview question, presented your best traits in a professional manner and avoided the arrogance curse. Everything is perfect - almost. Some people just don’t “click.” Maybe your personalities just didn’t fit, or it was a bad day for the interviewer. There is no way to force a relationship. And, if you start to feel the mood just isn’t right, this may be an indicator the job just isn’t right for you.
No one can control compatibility. Either you get along and click or you don’t. Either way, this scenario is out of your control. Once you finish the interview, take time to remind yourself you are valuable to the workforce. Don’t stop being yourself, and keep moving forward.
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