Failed Job Interview – 15 Reasons you are Failing
Being prepared for an interview begins the second that you submit your application to the job. Interviews, contrary to popular belief, should be taken seriously and should garner the support and preparation needed to ensure a successful showing. We’re going to discuss the 15 reasons you are failing your interviews, as well as what you can do to begin succeeding in them.
Interviewers often complain and lay blame on a variety of factors when their interview goes poorly. While we cannot generalize on all cases, many times these poor showings are a direct result of a lack of preparation by the interviewer. This preparation includes not only showing up on time, but also being able to properly articulate your accomplishments and achievements.
In addition, many interviewers lay blame on their lack of job offerings on their resume. However, if you are getting invited to attend in-person interviews, then your resume is not to blame. Simply put, if you are getting invited to interviews then the employer clearly found something worthwhile in your resume. The lack of job offers must mean that you are doing something incorrectly during the interview.
#1 – Not Enough Preparation
Interviews are not meant to be taken lightly. Beyond understanding what to bring to an interview, you should prepare for one the moment you submit your application. Preparing for an interview should include reviewing your resume and the skills, accomplishments, and achievements you’ve listed. You should also review your previous work experience and formulate answers to commonly asked interview questions.
#2 – Review Commonly Asked Interview Questions
Although interview questions can range in topic, there are certain questions that many interviewers ask during an interview. Some common interview questions include describing previous work experience, discussing career goals, and listing recent work related accomplishments. Although not all of these questions will be asked, it’s helpful to have an understanding of how to answer them.
#3 – Not Reviewing the Company or Employer
Interviewers typically interview between 3-5 candidates in the first round. In the initial round, interviewers are looking for candidates who not only have the required skills, but who also show an understanding of the work and services offered by the employer.
A successful interviewee should have a deep understanding of the employer and the work they do. They should also research the company’s public financial statements and marketing efforts to better distinguish themselves from the competition.
#4 – Not Utilizing the STAR Method
The STAR Method is a structure in-which interviewees provide specific, behavioral answers to commonly asked interview questions. The STAR Method is most often used to answer behaviorally based questions; typically, when asked to describe a situation or provide an example.
The STAR Method is an easy-to-remember acronym, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. By answering an interview question via this method, you are able to provide a situation, the task at hand, the action you took, and the end result. This method ensures that you successfully provide context to an interview question.
#5 – Thinking You Can “Wing It”
A successful interview requires preparation by both the interviewer and the interviewee. The interviewee should prepare for commonly asked interview questions and should bring a list of their own questions for the interviewer. Attempting to “wing it” is only a recipe for disaster and will lead to a failed interview.
#6 – Not Asking the Interviewer Questions
Interviews are a two-way street, with both the interviewer and the interviewee asking one-another questions. Asking the interviewer questions not only shows interest in the role but can also show the interviewer your ability to think critically and objectively. Not asking the interviewer questions can lead the interviewer to believe you are uninterested in the role or simply do not understand the role requirements.
#7 – Not Sending Thank You Emails
Post interview thank you emails are a common, and professional, courtesy extended to the interviewer. These emails are meant to provide a quick recap on the interview discussion and a means to open up further conversations. Employers are looking to hire candidates who are willing to go above-and-beyond and sending through a thank you email is a great way to show your commitment to the role.
#8 – Giving Inconsistent Answers
While interviewers typically aren’t looking to ask confusing or obscure questions, they do look to see that a candidate’s answers are consistent and make sense. If you give inconsistent, false, or incorrect answers, you will have automatically failed the interview.
#9 – Showing an Unwillingness to Learn
Employers do not expect all candidates to come in knowing every system, tool, or service. However, they do expect a candidate to show a willingness to learn and to improve. This can be done by admitting when you are unsure of something but indicating a willingness and ability to take the time to master it.
#10 – Not Being Able to Answer Why You Want the Job
Employers look to hire for the long-term. They do not want to hire temporary or transient employees, requiring them to rehire and retrain every year. As-such, they are looking for candidates who have a genuine interest in the role and the company. A successful interviewee is able to convey why they are interested in both the role and the employer.
#11 – Coming Off Desperate
Employers are looking for candidates who are not only confident in themselves, but also in their skills and their abilities to find an employer. Coming off desperate or too worrisome can negatively affect your interview chances and make an employer less likely to offer you the position.
#12 – Not Showing Enthusiasm
While we’re not asking you to come in too loud, we are asking that you show just a bit of positivity and enthusiasm during your interview. This can be done by simply being engaging, attentive, and positive with the interviewer during the interview. These small, subtle acts help to put both the interviewer and yourself at ease, making the interview that much easier.
#13 – Not Giving Your Undivided Attention
Being dismissive, absent, or distracted during an interview is one of the main reasons you are failing your interviews. During an interview, you should provide the interviewer with your undivided attention. You should absolutely avoid looking at your phone or the clock on the wall. Rather, focus on the interview and the questions being asked and remain engaged throughout the entire process.
#14 – Showing Up Late
Perhaps one of the biggest errors you can do is to show up for an interview late. This not only shows a level of carelessness but shows the interviewer that you do not respect their time and the time they allotted to meet with you. If you are running late, be sure to send an email to the interviewer apologizing and letting them know that you will be late.
#15 – You Didn’t Dress to Impress
Appearance is a major factor in a hiring decision. You should ensure that your dress is appropriate, professional, and standard for a business meeting. Look to dress above your pay grade. You should be clean and make sure your hygiene is taken care of. Beards should be professionally trimmed if you opt to not go clean shaven.
An interviewer looks at all aspects of any interviewee. This includes not just their resume, but also their appearance, how they conduct themselves, and how prepared they are. Therefore, when you have an interview scheduled, you should be prepared for it and bring along any items and documents you may need. In addition, you should have your documents in a resume folder, allowing you to appear more professional and organized.
#16 – Errors on Your Resume
Perhaps the most obvious reason, but many times a simple error on your resume may be enough to disqualify you from the position. While seemingly unfair, many employers look to the resume as a reflection of the candidate. A resume with errors or typos may indicate that the candidate did not take the time to ensure that everything was correct, essentially disqualifying them from the position.
How to Fix – you should review your resume before you begin sending in applications. Go through your resume word by word and confirm that there are no errors or typos. Once you’ve confirmed that everything is correct and there are no errors, you can move forward to the applications.
#17 – Not Customizing Your Resume for the Role
A majority of companies are beginning to utilize an applicant tracking system. This system looks to confirm that an applicant’s resume contains certain keywords and skills that the employer is looking for. As more and more companies begin to utilize an applicant tracking system, it is imperative that you customize your resume before each application.
How to Fix – you should review each job application and look at the required skills. Make sure that those skills and keywords are included in your resume. You don’t want to simply sprinkle them throughout, but rather make them bulleted skills or inclusions under your work experiences.
#18 – You Don’t Have the Required Experience
Not having the required experience can be an immediate disqualification. Certain jobs have certain requirements which they cannot budge on. If you see a skill or experience on a job listing that is required, you should make sure that you have that skill before applying.
How to Fix – if the required skill can be learnt, you should go ahead and learn that skill on your own. However, if you’re unable to learn that skill, it may simply be better to move onto the next role and skip applying to that one.
#19 – Lack of Job Loyalty
Many employers look to a candidate’s previous work history and like to see a certain level of loyalty. While they don’t expect you to remain with one company for your entire career, they do like to see some time and commitment at each employer. This is because there is a cost in hiring and replacing employees who leave a company. Companies would rather hire an employee who will remain with them for the long-term and not have to worry about hiring someone else a year later.
How to Fix – if your resume shows a lot of hopping around, consider sticking with your current company a bit longer. You should aim for a minimum of two-years, but more looks better if you have a history of job hopping and short job tenures.
#20 – Gaps in Employment
If you have significant gaps in your resume, typically anything over 6-months, employers may be hesitant to hire you. While this is the blunt truth, it is one that can be overcome. Employers may simply be hesitant as they would like more information and to get a better sense of what you have been doing during that time.
How to Fix – if you have large gaps in your resume, you should address it head on. Indicate why you have such a large gap in your cover letter. Explain the circumstances that led to the gap and how you are now primed and ready to get back into the workforce.
#21 – You’re Applying to a Job You’re Overqualified For
Yes, there is such a thing as being too qualified. If you have ten years of experience in a field, you shouldn’t be applying to an entry level position. The employer may be hesitant to interview you or take your application seriously. This is because your knowledge level is simply too great for the role and would be a disservice to your previous experience.
How to Fix – look for jobs that you are qualified for. While it may seem tempting to apply to a position you’ve outgrown, it will likely lead to a dead-end and will do you no justice in applying.
#22 – You’re Unfamiliar with the Industry
Many industries operate in different and unique ways. What may be acceptable in the marketing industry, may be seen as too relaxed in the finance industry. While you shouldn’t shy away from applying to differing industries, understand that, that may be a disqualifier.
How to Fix – typically, in such a situation, you will want to address it directly on your cover letter. Indicate why you want to switch industries and your passion about the new industry. This will help you to connect with the hiring manager and give you a better shot at landing an interview.
#23 – Not Following Application Instructions
Many companies have specific instructions for applicants. This can include entering certain information or making sure that certain information is included on your resume. You should review the needs and instructions of each job application before submitting yours to ensure you are not immediately disqualified.
How to Fix – make sure you read the instructions on each job application. Follow the instructions as they are written and double-check you followed them correctly before submitting your application.
#24 – You’re Not Giving Enough Information
For instance, if you’re applying to a position out of state, you should indicate your willingness to relocate and your plans for the future. When applying to an open position, you don’t want to assume that the employer knows your plans. Try to be as forthright and transparent as possible.
How to Fix – be transparent on your resume and cover letter. Let the employer know your plans so that they don’t make assumptions which could impact your application.
#25 – Having an Incomplete Resume
Your resume is a reflection of yourself. It is a living document which should be updated periodically. As such, it should contain a healthy list of information on your previous experiences, skills, accomplishments, and achievements. If your resume is missing this information, you may be disqualified from a position as you will be seen as a weak candidate.
How to Fix – make sure you list your major accomplishments and skills on your resume. Include relevant work experiences, education, and certifications you may have achieved. These will help you to be seen as a stronger candidate and will increase your chances at landing an interview.
#26 – Salary Discussions
Salary discussions are always a difficult one. However, they have become easier I recent years with the influx of sites such as Glassdoor which provide a salary range for most job positions. However, if you are asking for either too much or too little, you may be disqualifying yourself from the position. While managers have some leeway to negotiate, they may be unable or unwilling to negotiate with a candidate that provides a salary request that is simply too much.
#27 – References
Another reason why you may not be getting the job is due to personal or professional references. While you may never be 100% certain that a reference made a poor comment about you, you can follow-up with your references to ensure they are giving correct and glowing recommendations about you.
#28 – Not Following Up
It is absolutely imperative that you follow-up with the interviewer after the interview. Although they may not respond, you should reach out to them and thank them for their time. Be sure to throw in a personal reference from the interview and discuss how you are excited for the opportunity to work there.