Does it seem like you just can’t get a break when it comes to your job hunt? The phone interview seems to go well, you’ve made it to the in-person interview on time, you’re dressed professionally, and you’re qualified. But for some reason, all you keep hearing is, “We’ve decided to go with another candidate at this time.”
Are you making one of these five mistakes?
You’re qualified … but you’re missing the soft skills
You might be able to check every box in the job description, but if the interviewer doesn’t think you’ll be a good fit for the team, he’ll probably give you a pass. Soft skills like being able to listen actively, communicate well, and be adaptable are often just as highly prized as the harder technical skills a job requires. If you find yourself not getting calls back for jobs you’re more than qualified for, check out this post on developing soft skills to see if there’s something you’re missing.
You don’t have examples prepared
In a tough job market, it’s not enough to simply say you have a skill – many interviewers will ask you to give them an example of how you used it to benefit your previous organization. Come to the interview prepared to give examples of how your spreadsheet ninja skills revolutionized your last position, or how your sales prowess grew your last territory by 150%.
And don’t forget to have examples those soft skills we talked about ready. You’ll likely be asked questions about how you solved interpersonal conflicts or adapted to new situations, as well.
You didn’t do your homework
Most organizations are looking for someone they can plug right into a position. Sure, everyone expects that some training will be required, but if you give the impression coming in that you don’t know the first thing about the organization, that’s a red flag. Do your research ahead of time to get up to speed on what the organization does, how the industry operates, and any terminology that you may need to know going in.
If you know someone who works for the organization, ask them out for coffee to learn about the culture. If you’re going in to a brand new field, take the time to pick a friend’s brain who works in the industry, or read a trade magazine to get a feel for how things work.
You offended the interviewer
If you have done your research on the job and the organization, you may be coming into an interview with ideas on how you plan to shake things up. While it’s great to show your potential employers that you have new ideas to contribute, be careful of speaking ill of the company’s past initiatives.
Their last marketing campaign or their current website may leave a lot to be desired, but don’t trash it. Your interviewer may have been the one behind the strategy you’re dissing. Instead, present your ideas about the challenges you see the organization facing, and offer suggestions that don’t tear down what they’re already doing.
You’re fudging your resume
When you’re going over your resume, it can be tempting to try to fill holes in experience or employment history. After all, a candidate with resume gaps can be a concern for interviewers. But whatever you do, don’t falsify dates or try to fudge job titles – if you make it beyond the interview, your potential new bosses will be calling around to verify what they see on your resume. If they discover you lied, your chances of getting the job are zero.
Come prepared to address your resume gaps. Maybe you were out of work for 18 months, but during that time you volunteered with a local organization and built up your skills that way. Or maybe you took classes, or used the time to work on a personal project. Whatever you did, make sure not to mislead your interviewers.