It’s enough to drive you crazy… Clearly your resume is acceptable because you got to the interview process, so the fault doesn’t lie there. You had ready-answers to SOAR questions (Situation, Obstacle, Action, and Result) that clearly demonstrated your skills, intelligence, and resourcefulness. Where is your job offer?
This list could be interminably long but really it boils down to just a few things. Let’s look at the possibilities.
You were too focused on the job. You may have never heard of the Airport Test but it’s relevant and important to you. The interview was perfectly normal “interview questions” and suddenly the interviewer asked you about one of your expressed interests like oil painting, gourmet cooking, or being a volunteer coach for a kid’s soccer team. You should consider that the interviewer might share that interest and this is a chance to engage with them.
Instead, you answered the question, but not seeing the relevance, quickly steered the conversation back to the job. Fail – the interviewer was trying to get some insight into your personality. It’s called the Airport Test because it’s based on whether you would get along with a person if you were stuck in an airport with them for an extended period of time. Be personable, and don’t skip the small-talk.
You don’t fit into the company culture. It may not seem important to you but if your personal hygiene is not up to corporate standards you could be eliminated from the candidate pool. It may take the form of too much cologne, perfume, or body spray, or you may simply smell overwhelming. Many companies have a No Cologne or Perfume policy but no company has a No Deodorant policy. Be clean and inoffensive if you want a job offer.
You were early or late for the interview. Arriving ridiculously early for the interview is an inconvenience for the interviewer as it can play havoc with their schedule. Arriving late for the interview is simply disrespectful.
They weren’t actually hiring. This is grossly unfair, there is no doubt. Sometimes in order to satisfy head office, HR is required to interview outside candidates before they’re allowed to hire an internal candidate that they’ve already decided on. There is no way to know when this is going to happen – be philosophical and carry on.
All your answers sounded like questions? A rising inflection at the end of every sentence is so obnoxious to interviewers? You definitely don’t sound like someone who could be a manager for a group? Don’t do this?
You sound rehearsed. Telling the same story too many times takes all the enthusiasm out of your voice. This isn’t just any job is it? This is the job you really want – the place where you really want to work – this is where you can make a difference! But if you come across as dull, flat, and uninteresting don’t be expecting a job offer.
You didn’t research. You’re an expert in your field. You know your subject inside out. However, when the interviewer asked if you knew how many offices their company had worldwide and you said “I thought this was the only one” you made a tragic error.
It is ridiculously simple to get information nowadays by using the World Wide Web. You can get the latest fiscal report for the company you’re applying to and you can probably look up your interviewer on LinkedIn to get some insight before you meet. You can find out who is important in the company, be aware of recent news events about them, and even incorporate that information into some of your answers.
You didn’t seem enthusiastic or ask questions. Were you just going through the motions? Throughout the interview they ask questions and you answer. Vary that by interspersing questions of your own. You’ll be offered an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview process, but you can be more engaging.
Let them ask a question, answer it, and follow up with an insightful question of your own. This builds rapport by making the interviewer’s job more interesting because of the interplay. If the interviewer likes you, you’re much more likely to get a job offer.
Your answers didn’t match the questions. Were you nervous, or simply not paying attention? Did you ignore the subtext of the questions? Interviewers often give you strong hints by the way that they ask the questions. Pay attention!
You didn’t thank the interviewer or follow up. There is no reason not to be polite. Tell them you appreciate their time and effort and that you hope to hear from them soon. Follow that up with an e-mail or handwritten note, remind them about something memorable you discussed, and thank them again for their kind consideration.
There was a more qualified candidate. No matter how enthusiastic they were that you had the job, and were virtually assured of an offer, just remember this: virtually is the only word in the English language that sounds like the exact opposite of its true meaning. Like a virtual flat screen television set is not flat, a virtually assured job offer is not assured.
There is always the possibility that someone will be better qualified than you. They may be less qualified but made a better impression; that they are the child of an influential executive. These things are beyond your control.
What you can control is that it takes 5 to 10 applications to get one interview. It takes six interviews to get an offer. Do the math. If it’s going to take as many as 60 applications to get a job that you love, then treat each rejection as part of a countdown.
60… 59… 58… Each one is taking you one step closer to your ideal career 57… 56… 55… and financial security. 54… 53… 52… to a place where everything is under control again 51… 50… 49… and your financial future is looking bright.
You’ll get there if you can just quickly get these 59 useless interviews out of the way so you can get to your real job. It is just a matter of time until…
3… 2… 1… Employment!