Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job: 3 Interview Mistakes You Didn’t Realize You Were Making (and How to Correct Them)

When the response from an interviewer is “sorry, we went with someone else,” disappointment often follows – especially if you were enthusiastic about the job and the company. You may not know why you weren’t offered the job, and you may wonder if some small mistake you made led to the result.

In past articles, we’ve talked about the traits and weaknesses employers look for when hiring. Here, we’ll dive into three common interview mistakes many people don’t realize they make, and how to fix them before your next interview.

You didn’t sound prepared.

The first step to doing well in any interview is to know as much as you can about the company and the job posting. The second step is to communicate what you know. And while many job seekers complete the first step, they don’t think about how to make the second step work for them.

Before you look into the employer, read the job description. Write down the top three to five things you’ve accomplished in your work that most closely fit the job description. Keep this list with you as you research the company.

While you’re reading the company’s website or promotional materials, take notes on any information you find related to your list of accomplishments. If you have questions, write these down too. Work in the facts and details as you prepare interview answers, and bring the questions along to ask the interviewer (or ask your recruiter).

Your enthusiasm didn’t translate.

When a hiring manager must make a choice between two equal candidates, the deciding question is often, “Which one seems more excited to work here?”

Walking the enthusiasm tightrope can be difficult. Often, candidates rein in their enthusiasm because they don’t want to read as naïve or desperate. Rein it in too far, however, and you risk coming off as indifferent.

Instead, give yourself some leeway to express your interest and enthusiasm. Mention a key part of the job description and add, “it’s one of my favorite parts of the job.” If you talk about a past accomplishment, it’s okay to mention you’re proud of it. And don’t hesitate to ask questions. Candidates who ask are often read as more enthusiastic than those who do not.

You arrived late or seemed distracted.

One of the primary ways human beings show interest in one another is by being fully present during a conversation, whether that conversation is an interview or a chat between friends.

If you arrive late, bury yourself in your smartphone in the waiting room or seem distracted during the interview, the interviewer may read these as signs you’re not particularly interested in the job. As a result, the offer may go to a candidate who had their full attention on the interview.

Leave plenty of time to arrive at your interview. Leave the phone in your car, or turn it off and drop it in your pocket. Take advantage of the interview time to do just one thing: Have a conversation with a fellow professional about a great opportunity.

At THE RIGHT STAFF, LLC, our recruiters can help you polish your interview skills and connect with St. Paul companies that offer the environment and challenges you need to build your career. Contact a staffing representative today to learn more.


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