Are you unsuccessful at interviews?


Have you had several job interviews recently but have either been told “thanks, but not thanks!” or worse still heard nothing at all?

I have been working a lot recently with clients to help them improve their interview skills. Some dread interviews while others believe that they can confidently handle any interview and yet, despite this confidence, they still have not received a job offer.

When helping clients to prepare, I always begin by finding out more about their experience of interviews, what they find challenging about them, what they have learnt from them and why they think that they were not offered the job.

Many admit to not having known enough about the company, its market and its competitors while others rely on their confidence to just “wing it” in the interview and a few admit to not having the confidence to sell themselves positively in an interview situation. One thing they all have in common is that they have receive little or no constructive feedback as to why they have not been successful, even those who wrote or called to find out either receive no reply or are told things like, “there were a lot of really strong candidates”, which is not particularly helpful.

Responses like this leave candidates unsure of what they need to improve on for the next interview and are left to guess what went wrong. This can be very frustrating as well as setting alarm bells off that start that voice inside your head telling you that you just aren’t good enough – very de-motivating.

To prevent this negative feeling, perhaps it would be better not to ask for feedback as such but instead to say that you are disappointed that you did not get the job and ask to be told which parts of the specific criteria the interviewer/s felt that you did not meet. This way, if you are given an answer, it will be specific and clear rather than a vague “there were other stronger candidates”. You will then have a better idea of where the areas for improvement lie instead of feeling ‘useless’ and ‘not good enough’.

It is also important that you take time to review where you feel the interview didn’t go as well as you’d hoped. Carry out a self-evaluation of the interview without being overly self critical. Think about the questions you were asked,

–              did you just not know the answers (and would you have if you had spent more time preparing?) and/or

–              did you just not manage to present the answer clearly enough even though you knew it?

Your answer to this self evaluation will give you a good indication of what you need to work on for the next interview.

Either: you need to spend more time researching the company and preparing answers to key interview questions

Or:  you need to work on your presentation skills.

This gives you something positive and constructive to work on rather than beating yourself up.

In an ideal world, interviewers would consistently give constructive feedback to unsuccessful candidates in order that the candidate feels that the interview process was fair and that they were treated with respect and consideration thus allowing the company to portray a more positive impression.

“Being defeated is often a temporary condition.  Giving up is what makes it permanent.”

Marilyn vos Savant

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