Interview Scheduled. You are all excited! You want to make the right impression. You print and review your CV for last-minute errors, find the interview location, and on the appointed date and time, head off to meet the interviewer.
After 30 minutes you are done, feeling confident that the job is yours. Eagerly awaiting your next interview round call. Suddenly your hopes come crashing down as your eyes read an email informing you that your interview was not successful. You feel distraught, disappointed, and frustrated. You do not understand how could an interview you were so sure about, not gone your way. Was the interview fixed or the interviewed biased, or the company no good? The negativity continues to bring you down for all future interviews.
These are all situations we have faced. I have faced them too, I have felt it and hear it from job seekers all the time. But wait... there is a way to avoid this and to minimize job rejections. It will be only a matter of time when you get the perfect job with the desired employer all because of the impression you have created. You should know these top reasons why you may not be unsuccessful at the interview.
Never assume you can do well at the interview just because you work hard and do the job right.
Your Research – Knowledge is Power
You must review the company’s website and google all the information you can find. “Knowledge and Information are Power”, gather all the details you can find about the company including business expansions, publications, and awards. Casually reference the information during the interview.
Find out who you will be interviewing with and learn something about them and their careers - LinkedIn would be a good source. and quote specifics, such as “I see the company has expanded into several new markets over the past year.” You will project the image of someone who is interested, does their homework, and pays attention to details.
Your Rehearsal – Practice, Practice, and Practice
There are several questions that you are pretty much guaranteed to be asked during an interview: “Why do you want to work for this company?” “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” and “Where do you see yourself in five years?”—to name a few. You may want to go through some common and some tricky interview questions
Be prepared with insightful answers. You can practice with someone (or mirror practice) and answering the questions out loud (you may even want to record your practice sessions). This preparation work will make you more comfortable and confident during the interview.
The Job Responsibilities and Gap Analysis
Understand the job description and how you will add value to it if you are selected. Go through your CV thoroughly. You must know it better than the interviewer. Remember the interviewers motive is to assess you on what you have done/doing at work, how many transferable skills to the new job do you have and how quickly you can adjust, your longevity and loyalty, your career aspirations, and your personal suitability (your communication, behavior in situations and cultural suitability). It may be good to written points on a notepad during the interview. It is easier to ask questions and review the notes later. Be careful not to use certain words during the interview which we will share in the coming posts. You must know the difference (gap) between the required job description and your own work/knowledge and be prepared to fill the gap.
Punctuality – There is no excuse for being late
Be present at the venue at least 10 minutes prior to your interview. (maybe a good idea to visit the venue earlier to be familiar with traffic, parking, and most importantly the correct route). Being late for an interview creates a “being regularly late for work” impression or that the interview was just not important enough that warranted your before-time presence.
Carry at least 2 extra copies of your updated CV, in case required along with your credentials - certificates, reference letters, etc.
Your Dress Attire
An interview may be the only shot you have to impress the decision-maker in person, so make sure you are dressed impeccably.
Do some research and find out what the corporate dress culture is before you walk through the door. A dark suit (jacket and pants or skirt) and a crisp white shirt, manicured nails, simple make-up, and clean, professional shoes (very important that you polish them (they tell a lot about the person) will be perfect in most cases. And, definitely avoid dangling earrings, too much perfume, and multiple, clanking bracelets.
Your Body Language
Be aware of what you’re communicating through your posture and stance—and make sure it is good. Break the ice with an honest opening compliment.
A confident handshake (No “fingers-only” handshakes! The proper, professional way to shake is using the entire hand, extending your arm (first if possible) for a firm, but not an overbearing grip, while rolling the index finger around the bottom of the other person’s hand) and a smile (smiling naturally will make you appear confident, friendly, and approachable.
A smile conveys that you’re someone who can get along with fellow employees, your boss, and your clients), which makes a lot of difference.
An upright posture and eye contact are in the top 4 body language signs. Not making eye contact with all the interviewers(if there is a panel), portraits less importance to the others, (or makes the interviewer feel you could be hiding something in the case on a single interviewer)
For example, sitting with your arms and legs crossed sends a message that you are closed-off or feel defensive. If you keep your hands in your lap the entire interview, you could signal that you lack self-confidence. And, twirling your hair can make you look nervous or juvenile. Take the water (If your interviewer offers you a glass of water, take it, even if you’re not thirsty. This little act can help buy you time to formulate an answer to a difficult question or just give you a moment to center yourself) if you are offered.
Next, always stand up when someone else comes into the room. Professionally, you lose respect and credibility by staying seated—it sends a weak and powerless message. Think your movements through ahead of time so you’re not distracted (or distracting) during the interview.
Your Table Manners
Some interviews (usually second or third) are conducted over a meal, so being familiar with proper table manners is imperative to your interview success.
Here’s why: The recruiter will be watching to see how you’ll conduct yourself at a meal with clients, how you handle accidents, and how you treat the wait staff.
Explain your responsibilities and your achievements clearly (don’t get boring with too much talk). Your answers must be to the point, in brief detail, and using the right keywords (such as if you are an accountant, use accounting terms, if you are a salesperson you must talk targets, numbers, achievements).
Avoid closed-ended ("Yes" and "No") replies but try to fit in at least a one or two-line reply.
It is very important that you realize, the duration of your interview is your "sales pitch" to convince the interviewer why you are most suitable for the position. Do not over exaggerate. Interviewers have the habit of cross-checking and you don't want to be caught misrepresenting or exaggerating. Be honest, be yourself, and/but be convincing.
NEVER put down your current/previous employer. If you do so then you leave the impression that you may do the same if you get the job.
Ask at least one positive and genuine question at the end of the interview e.g What is expected of 'me' if I am selected ? or How was my interview in your professional opinion?
Questions That You May Not Have Asked
Keep in mind that the job interview is a two-way street. It’s an opportunity for you to sell yourself to the company, but also to learn more about the workplace to see if the position and environment are a good fit for you.
Go in with a few questions, such as details about the type of work that the position entails, the corporate culture, and the typical career path of someone who holds the position.
Typical questions can you can ask are
Was / Is there a person in this position? Why is he/she being replaced?
What has been most challenging that the company has found in this role?
what are the interviewer's thoughts about your suitability in comparison with others?
What are the future plans for this position?
Is there any feedback that you can share about my interview?
And, don’t be scared to speak up: not asking questions can signal that you’re uninformed or uninterested.
A Proper Thank You Note You Missed
Yes, even today, a handwritten note is mandatory. Sending a thank you letter via email is fine when the decision must be made quickly, but always follow up with written correspondence. (A voicemail message doesn’t take the place of a written note, either.) Express your thanks for the interviewer's time and for the chance to learn more about the company. It goes a long way in keeping your name on the interviewer's mind.
A Different Person
You cannot change the person you are. In most cases, it is not the best candidate who is selected, but the most suitable candidate. So even if you have done all of the above, there is still a chance that you may not get the job. A specific culture, approach, or behavior may be required by the employer. But needless to say, you will get a job soon with consistent interviews.
When it comes to interviewing, practice makes perfect, and knowing the rules ahead of time is a great start. So be prepared, be confident, and be yourself, and you’ll shine. Good luck!