04 August 2016
Throughout a job search, you may have to endure what feels like countless rounds of interviews. While the majority of interviews might feel somewhat promising, even the most competent people are not immune to a rough interview. It may not occur very often, but when it does happen, you’ll most likely leave the room knowing that you did not get the job. Even though you may have a sense that this is the case, it can be unclear as to what caused the meeting to go wrong. However, as you analyze the conversation, you may be able to pinpoint your mistake, as well as correct it for your next interview. Ask yourself these five questions to be sure that one lousy interview experience does not repeat itself: Did you confidently address past mistakes? Questions like “What is your greatest weakness?” or “Tell me about a time you failed,” require thoughtful and polished responses. If a question like this came as a surprise to you, you may not have accurately portrayed your own self-awareness, honesty, and humility. Many candidates try to hide their flaws, and they answer with a cliché response, such as “I’m a perfectionist.” No one is perfect, so remember that employers want to hire someone who can identify their own flaws and work to improve them. Did you answer resume discrepancies positively? Many candidates have a work history that might raise some questions in an interview. This could mean that you have a history of job hopping, you’ve worked in several different industries, or you have an employment gap. While you should have answered these queries honestly, you also should have noted how these experiences have shaped your career and your skillset in a positive way. If you need to address an employment gap, perhaps you volunteered, traveled, or learned a new skill during your time out of the workforce. If you’ve held a variety of positions, be sure that you stressed your diverse background and the skills you’ve learned as a result. Did you know enough about the company and the role? Some key components to performing well in an interview are understanding the company, the competitive landscape, and how your background makes you the right choice for the job. Evaluate whether you took opportunities to point out examples of your experience and how it applies to the position. Additionally, consider if anything during the interview about the position or the state of the company revealed took you by surprise. If you were thrown off by new information, or if you don’t think you sold your background well enough, you may need to prepare a little more for your next interview. To start, be sure to check out the company’s website, social media, and news coverage. Also, don’t forget to thoroughly review the job description and think of specific examples of how your experience makes you a great fit for the role. Did you ask thoughtful questions? Remember that an interview is a two-way street; you should be evaluating whether this employer is right for you by asking questions. However, there are many ways this can go wrong. While some may ask inappropriate questions regarding things like social media policies, others may not ask any questions at all. Rather than implying that you only care about checking Facebook at work or that you don’t have any thoughts at all, this is the time to show the interviewer your deep understanding of the industry and how you might function in the role. If you fell short in this portion of the interview, you will most likely not be offered the position. Be sure to reflect on the questions you asked, and evaluate whether you could have asked more insightful questions. Was it just the wrong fit? While this analysis can help you address your flaws and improve your interview performance, you might not always be able to pinpoint where it went wrong. Remember that cultural fit must be evaluated as well, and it’s difficult to be compatible with everyone. Even when two competent and friendly professionals meet, you just might not click with each other. Keep in mind that it isn’t necessarily the fault of your experience or your performance in the interview; perhaps it just wasn’t the right position or team for you.