Practical Tactical Thursday – It’s Your Fault You Didn’t Get the Job Offer

Note: Great week of features. Please be sure to go see some of my other posts around the web!

One of the most dreaded questions Human Resources gets is from candidates who are “seeking feedback” on why they did not land the job. Let me be clear with you – you are most likely never going to get a straight answer because it is not HR’s job to help you succeed elsewhere. You may receive general feedback or if you are lucky, a nugget of what the real problem is. But most likely, YOU are knocking yourself out of the candidate pool.

I wish that this were not the case, but there are so many ways to mess up the onsite interview process. As a whole, they are trying to weed people out, not nominate people in. I have explained several ways to help your cause above; but there are also sure-fire ways to be eliminated during the interview process. And no, these are not all-inclusive, but they are the most common reasons why I have seen candidates not be asked to continue in the process.

Reasons Why You Didn’t Get the Job Offer

  • You talked too much. Seriously – stop talking, and allow the interview team to have a conversation with you.
  • You were too relaxed with their posture and answers. Even if you create a connection with the hiring team, which is awesome!, you are still not a part of the team yet. So coming across as too relaxed has been the demise to many candidates. Sit up straight, do not let your guard down, and no matter how friendly things get, stay as professional as possible.
  • Inappropriate jokes or comments during the interview. Um, it is NEVER ok to curse during an interview, even if your interviewer does (oh, the stories I could tell you on this topic). But your responses should remain professional. And for the love of Nancy, do not make any type of off-topic comments or joke. I once had to let a very strong candidate go because he “offended” one of the interviewers with one of his comments. You never know what is a hot topic, so steer clear of anything remotely offensive (hint: stay far away from politics or religion).
  • Being rude to the receptionist, HR or any other staff you come into contact with. They have a direct line to the hiring team, so do not treat them like “the help.” Perhaps we can just say you should treat ALL people with respect? Just saying…
  • Speaking poorly of your previous employer. If you are speaking bad about them, people will immediately think “sour grapes” and that you would speak poorly about their company. Just don’t do it.
  • Not showing enthusiasm or excitement for the job or company. I get it, some jobs/companies are not really that exciting – they are a means to an end, or perhaps you are practicing your interview techniques. Regardless, the people who work there DO THINK that their company is pretty great. Maybe not really, but during the interview process, it is personally offensive if you are not as engaged or excited as they are about the opportunity. Lose the entitlement people.
  • Generally, not having your sh*t together. Being disorganized, unprepared, or disheveled in general. It is hard to articulate exactly what this looks like, but we have all seen those people. Hair ruffled, resumes not printed, homework/background info not done, wrinkles in their clothes, and so on. There really is no excuse, get yourself together and present your best foot forward.

The most important thing to remember is to be the best version of you and treat the interview process as a sales opportunity. You are selling yourself and your accomplishments, and the more you can influence others during the process, be a person they would want to work with, without being threatening, the better chance you have of landing the job!