Is it a coincidence? Just bad luck? Why do you always seem to do well in your job interviews, only to find that the company has decided to hire somebody else instead?
It’s true that for some jobs, the hiring process is very competitive. But you also could be making mistakes that you don’t even realize you’re making. Often the heart of the issue is balance, and stability. Some candidates in a job interview try so hard to be friendly, for example, that they end up over-doing it – smiling too hard, laughing too loudly, talking too much – that they make the interviewer uncomfortable.
Balance is a tricky concept, in terms of evaluating people’s personalities. It’s a hard thing to define, but most of us are able to sense when it’s missing – and HR managers are especially sensitive in these interpersonal areas. With that in mind, let’s look at some common mistakes people make during job interviews, and what you can do to fix them.
1. You’re too eager.
This could be a personality issue, as discussed above. If so, we recommend taking a long, relaxing walk before your job interview to use up your extra energy. But it also could be that you say ‘yes’ to everything too quickly in the interview. If the interviewer proposes several ideas for your position or career with the company, and you agree to all of them right away, you may seem desperate for work. We recommend asking good questions, and talking through new concepts, during a job interview. Doing so shows that you are thoughtful and responsible, and also demonstrates that you are careful before making promises that you may not be able to keep.
2. You’re too demanding.
This may seem like the opposite of the problem we just talked about, but as we said earlier, the key to winning is balance. You might expect to be paid at least as much as you earned at your previous job, but economic conditions and the finances of the new company might not make such a demand possible. When applying for a new job, we recommend researching the current market for comparable positions in order to see what other companies are paying. Consider also the additional benefits that come with the new job, and try to come to a compensation package that is fair for both sides.
3. You’re overconfident.
Every job comes with its own challenges, even if they are hard to see at the beginning. You might be especially talented or experienced, but it isn’t wise to act like the job will be easy for somebody like you. Interviewers want a team player, not someone who thinks they are better than the rest of the team.
Other fundamental issues are worth examining as well. Perhaps the company liked you in the interview, but noticed something in your appearance that made them hesitate. Or perhaps they checked your references, and discovered that your previous work wasn’t as well-received as you imagined it would be.
Remember that a job interview has many components, and there are always ways for you to improve. Double-check your references yourself, ask a friend to check your appearance, and above all, practice listening effectively. That new job offer will come sooner than you think, and this stable approach will get you started on the right foot with your new employer.