“The hiring manager and I had such a great conversation! The chemistry was totally there, and the job is PERFECT for me. I know I would be a great fit at the company – the culture is awesome. I can’t understand why they didn’t call me back for a second interview?”
Sound familiar? Yes, of course there are a ton of reasonable reasons that you may not have made the cut for the next round of interviews: they promoted someone internally, they found someone that was a little bit of a better fit (but you were surely a close-second) or maybe they decided not to hire anyone at all.
But often times, it was your big, bad, glaring interview flub that cost you the opportunity.
You tried to wing-it, and it showed: You have information galore at your fingertips, so why didn’t you read the company’s website, look up your interviewers on LinkedIn, or even read through the job description before your interview? Oh, you were too busy? You didn’t have time? You’re naturally a “great interviewer” who never needs to prep? Hiring managers always know when you haven’t done your due diligence. They want candidates who make the time to research them, the role and the company…and then discuss these details AT the interview. Don’t you remember? Cliff’s Notes are never enough, you always have to read the book to pass the test.
You were bad-mouthing: Just because you’re interviewing for a new job because you are unhappy at your current one, doesn’t mean you need to divulge every detail about what you hate most about your boss, your colleagues, and the way the company treats you – right there – at the interview – while you are being sized-up for something new. No future hiring manager wants to hire a complainer, let alone someone who may not get along with co-workers or blend in well with the company culture. If you’re talking about your former experiences that way – why won’t you one day talk about your future boss/company/co-workers that way, too? Stick to the skills and experiences you’re hoping to gain in your next role that your current company can’t offer. Practice the art of being tactful no matter how “comfortable” you get chatting with your interviewer. You might have a bunch of stuff in common, but you not friends (yet) - you are still being observed, evaluated, and judged for everything you say.
You were focused on what they could do for you: Companies set out to hire people who bring value. They search high and low for people who have the right experience, are team players, have a solid work ethic, can fulfill the responsibilities of the role at hand, and will be great contributors to the company, overall. Did you highlight all of these points during your interview? Or, instead, did you make sure to ask your laundry list of questions about how quickly you could get promoted after getting hired, how much of a raise you could get if you joined, frequency of company social outings, fringe benefits, and opportunities for tuition reimbursement so you can finally go back and get your MBA while working at this company? There is a time and place to ask these questions – but it’s not on the first date! When it is determined that you’re the right person for the job, the company will address your questions and review your benefits. In the meantime, be patient, show your stuff and give them a reason to pick you!
You asked about how much you wouldn’t have to work: Did you ask if you get the afternoons off for “summer Fridays,” or if you get the week off between Christmas and New Years Day? How about the number of sick days, work from home days or general paid time off? You told them that you were looking for a new job because you really need a “work-life balance,” right? Friends, we all want a work-life balance. I am by no means here to tell you to give up your personal life. But, do you know how it makes you sound when you’re trying to prove to a future hiring manager that you have an outstanding work ethic, when you are asking about your allotted time-off at the same time? Vacation policies and other special company time-off perks will eventually be shared, usually as part of a larger benefits package. Companies want employees that will do whatever it takes to get something done. It’s always a red flag when a candidate is more focused on their time-off when they haven’t even been fully considered for their time-on, yet.
You didn’t say thank you: Thank you notes. Did you remember to send one after your interview? I hope so because the people who interviewed you are expecting to see one in their inboxes within 12-24 hours after your interview (yes, you can email them). They will likely notice if they don’t get one, and, no matter how great of a candidate you are, this is an interview deal-breaker for some. If you did write a thank you note, hopefully you used spell check. Sloppy, poorly written thank you notes are deal-breakers, too. Trust me – I’ve seen it happen. Interviews don’t just end when you walk out the door and go on your merry way. Take time to draft a well-written, thoughtful thank you note to each person you met during your interview to show appreciation of their time and your interest in their company. You had a stellar interview, make your thank you note the icing on the cake!
Frankly speaking, anyone who has interviewed for a job may think these “no-nos” are just plain obvious. But, friends, my recruiting and hiring manager colleagues are still eliminating candidates for these reasons almost daily. Yes, it’s surprising, but all of these mishaps can be avoided. Your interview is the time for you to put your best foot forward- to shine! Prepare. Research. Practice interview questions. Be tactful. Be patient. Appreciate the opportunity to be considered. Whether you get the job or not, at least you’ll always make an excellent professional impression.
Lisa Frank is the founder of LBF Recruitment Strategies. As an executive recruiter, connector and career/life coach she offers a "Frank" approach to all aspects of life. Her blog, Frankly Speaking, shares her insights, guidance and outrageous (but true) stories about career and life topics with plenty of humor, relatability, experience and candor.
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