December 14, 2012
11 reasons you didn't get that job
You thought you nailed that interview, but weeks have gone by without a peep from the employer. Wondering why? Here's a list of common interview mistakes, one of which may have been your downfall.
Arriving too early/too late. We shouldn't have to explain why being late to an interview is a bad thing. But what some people don't realize is that getting there too far ahead of schedule can be viewed as equally disrespectful of someone's time.
Even if your interviewers leave you sitting in the lobby, they now feel rushed to finish up what they're doing and tend to you. If you get there more than 10 minutes early, wait in the parking lot and go over your notes for a while.
Looking sloppy. That saying about first impressions is true. Iron your clothes and comb your hair. Pay attention to the details. If you have pets, make sure you pack a lint brush and give yourself a once-over before the interview.
Bad-mouthing former employers. If your old boss was a jerk and your former company treated you like garbage, keep it to yourself. When your interviewer asks you why you left, bite your tongue and say something along the lines of: “I’m grateful for the experience I gained there, but I want to work for a company with more opportunities in line with my career goals.”
Your resume/cover letter stinks. This should be common sense, but hiring managers have recycling bins full of resumes from people who claim to be “intellegent” but can’t tell the difference between “there,” “their” and “they’re.”
Make sure your cover letter is specifically tailored to the company to which you’re applying. You’re probably up against dozens -- if not hundreds -- of other candidates, so a generic form letter isn’t the best way to set yourself apart.
You’re not the right cultural fit. Experience and skills are important, but so is chemistry. If you’re someone who craves structure and a formal work environment, that funky start-up you applied to might not be the best fit. Sure, you could have all the qualifications; but if your personal style doesn’t resonate with the hiring manager, then you might lose out to someone with fewer skills and the right attitude.
Not sending a thank-you note. Good manners never go out of style. Not acknowledging your interviewer’s time with a quick thank-you card or email is inexcusable.
Being discourteous. Many employers will seek out opinions about you from anyone with whom you had contact while visiting. Were you dismissive of the receptionist? Did you come across as snarky to one of the people you met in passing? If so, it could be your undoing.
Not reading the job listing carefully. Although many companies are willing to train in certain areas, other positions require specific knowledge needed to hit the ground running.
For example, when you’re reading a listing and see “MUST BE AN EXPERT IN EXCEL!” written as such, you’d better truly be an expert if you apply. If you get a call back and you don’t know the first thing about Excel, you’ve wasted everyone’s time and ensured that you won’t be considered for future job openings at that company.
You botched the salary issue. Don’t be the first to bring up pay. Sometimes hiring managers want to know your salary requirements or what you’re currently making. Use the Salary Wizard tool at NWjobs.com (look toward the bottom of the page) in advance to find out how much, on average, the position pays so that when you do talk salary, you’re prepared to negotiate.
You’re bad at interviewing. Sometimes it comes down to the simple fact that they just didn’t like you. Some people are born to work a room, while others are inherently uncomfortable under pressure.
If you spent your job interview fidgeting in your seat, sweating profusely, tapping your foot or twiddling your thumbs, you didn’t do yourself any favors. Skills and experience are great, but at the end of the day people generally hire people they like. A candidate who is conversational, friendly and easygoing is more apt to get the job.
You didn’t ask any questions. Obviously, job interviews exist so companies can learn more about you and decide whether or not they want to hire you. But make no mistake, you’re also interviewing the company.
Ask about its organizational philosophy and goals. Do some advance research to come up with relevant questions. Not only does it prove that you’re inquisitive and involved, it shows the employer that you’ve done your homework.
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