“CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR”
Dear Frustrated and Disappointed,
You know that you have the ability and capacity to take on the jobs that you’re interviewing for but try as you might, you keep just missing out on that next big job opportunity.
You seem to have no problem getting past the first selection stages and you have been shortlisted for some significant roles on more than one occasion. However you seem to end up falling short at the critical final interview stage.
Does this sound familiar?
It’s a scenario countless job seekers are familiar with. You have a solid CV, so you have no problem getting shortlisted. You then breeze through the interview process, or so you think, only to have those meetings go absolutely nowhere. If you’re tired of landing job interviews that ultimately amount to nothing, don’t beat yourself up to much you’re not alone. But it’s crucial to understand why this keeps happening so that you can take steps to change your operating rhythm.
TIME FOR SOME FINE TUNING
Pay attention to any interview feedback you receive along the way and resist the temptation to ignore or downplay it if it is uncomfortable. If you don’t have specific feedback about how you come across at interview then find a way of accessing this. Enlist the help of someone who can objectively, sensitively but firmly understand the changes you might need to make and then provide you with tools and advice to navigate you through improving your presentation of yourself and your capabilities.
Take every opportunity in your interview preparation to practice and refine the way you tell the story about you, your capabilities, your achievements and why you are absolutely the right person for the job you are seeking.
The distance between being shortlisted for final interview and becoming the successful candidate is often a narrow one and by making some simple modifications to the way in which you present yourself success can be yours.
The purpose of an interview isn’t to just rehash your CV, but to see how you handle challenges including tough interview questions. But if you’ve yet to master the art of answering those tricky questions, it could explain why your interviews seem to repeatedly go nowhere. Before you apply to any new roles, think back on the past few interviews you participated in, and jot down the questions that threw you. Then spend some time coming up with answers so you’re prepared.
A question that will always rear its ugly head and one that tends to trap candidates is the dreaded “what’s your greatest weakness?” Candidates tend to hate that question because it forces them to highlight flaws that their interviewers may not otherwise have picked up on. But if you learn how to answer questions like that the right way, you’ll have a better chance of success. Some other favourite interview questions to get your head around include:
Why are manholes in the street always round?
What do you consider to be a lot of money?
What song would you sing on Australia’s Got Talent?
How would you invest one million dollars in the next 24 hours?
Name a brand that represents you as a person?
DON’T OVERSELL (or undersell) YOURSELF – You can’t kid a kidder! To a trained eye, over selling yourself is completely transparent. If you come on too strong in an interview an interviewer will see right through you. You still have a lot to learn when you start a role with a new employer and they don’t expect you to know everything, but they do expect you to be able to build towards success. Over the last few years we’ve seen a massive increase in the demand for an up and coming HiPo rather than someone who’s been there and got the T-Shirt.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK – That tried and tested advice of “doing your homework” about both the company and the role remains important. Even a simple Google search on the morning of your interview to check out any recent news about the business can often be a game changer. It’s all about the 1%ers.
ANSWER THE QUESTION THAT YOU’RE BEING ASKED – Don’t just rely on your same stock standard examples. It’s all about being agile enough to think of new examples that suit the situation. But take the time to choose your answer, despite the pressure of needing to come up with something on the spur of the moment. Try to understand the intent of the question and don’t just say the first thing that comes to mind. If it’s unclear, stop and ask what the interviewer is actually asking.
BE YOURSELF – Having the right skills and experience for a job will only get you so far. If you really want to boost your chances of getting a job offer, you’ll need to show your interviewers that you’re the type of person who’s not only talented but also great to work with. Many job searchers don’t end up getting hired because they’re nervous during the interview process or come off as too polished or rehearsed. Your best bet? Relax a little during interviews, and just be yourself.
ALWAYS FOLLOW UP – Sending a thank you note to the interviewers after an interview is good form and shows courtesy, respect for their time and a genuine interest in the job. Plus, it keeps the lines of communication open with the employer.
SOME QUICK & EASY HOUSEKEEPING!
Whether you’re just starting your job search or are in the thick of it, do an assessment of your social media accounts to make sure that your privacy settings are set accordingly. In this day and age, it’s almost impossible not to have left some sort of digital footprint. Even if your name is very common, you can still be found easily if employers have the name of your school or hometown to tag on to their search. And you can bet that employers are taking advantage of this.
What comes up when you Google yourself? To find out, clear your cache to start with a clean slate, and take a look at what comes up when you Google your name, as well as your name and your current and past titles, companies and current location. You might think having firstname.lastname@example.org as your email address is acceptable. But for employers, it comes off as unprofessional. If you’re serious about your job search, it’s a good idea to create a fresh, clean email address that’s as closely tied to your name as possible.
EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON
Even in today’s market, there’s a lot of competition out there, so if you go on a series of interviews but don’t get any offers, it could be a simple matter of having been slightly edged out by another candidate. In other words, just because you’re not landing job offers doesn’t mean there’s an actual problem at play, so if you’ve ruled out the problems that I’ve mentioned, go forward with just a bit more patience. With any luck, you’ll eventually snag an offer and a great one at that.
Go get ‘em and please let me know how you go.