The job market may be on the mend but if all you’re seeing is rejection letters than it could be time to look within. It’s easy to blame the interviewer but chances are it is your fault you’re not landing the job.
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“A number of the reasons why people don’t get the jobs they want are due to the way they present themselves and how they perform during interviews,” said Patty Prosser, chair of OI Global Partners. From showing a lack of interest to not standing out from the pack, here are eight reasons Prosser says you’re the reason you can’t get a job.
No. 1: On paper you’re the same as all the candidates
You want to be memorable for all the right reasons and part of achieving that is appearing to be someone who is different than all the rest. Yet far too often people do a lousy job of setting themselves apart, says Prosser. Blame it on nerves or a lack of preparation, but either way the last thing you want is to be average when it comes to competing for an open position.
No. 2: Your experience doesn’t come through during the interview
It’s easy to fall into the trap of ticking off buzz words during interviews in an attempt to impress with your industry knowledge. But doing that won’t get you the job. What will is connecting your past experience to the current needs of the prospective employer. “Job-seekers often don’t see the forest for the trees,” says Prosser. “If they were leaders in a former position, that strength should be communicated – even if it might not be part of the requirements for the job.”
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No. 3: You appear bored or uninterested
You may think the employer needs you more than you need them or your nerves may get the best of you, but if it’s a job you really want than you better act interested. “Many people do not fully understand the importance of showing their enthusiasm,” says Prosser. “Employers hire people, not resumes.” It behooves you to find something about the company, job or interviewer that resonates, says Prosper. Use that to share a personal story during the interview to highlight your passion and enthusiasm, she says.
No. 4: Focusing on what you need, not the company
A surefire way not to get called back for a second interview is to spend the initial one asking what the company can do for you. Understandably you want to know what the salary and benefits are, but those type of questions should be saved for a final round of interviewing. “Job-seekers need to get the interviewer talking about what the real issues are and why they are looking to hire,” says Prosser. “In the initial phase of the interview, the employer is more concerned about their needs and how job-seekers might be able to fulfill them.”
No. 5: Going into the interview blind
Even seasoned professionals prepare for an interview and if you don’t want to completely blow it you should too. You should never underestimate the power of practice, regardless of how long you worked in the industry or how many credentials you hold, says Prosser. She says to tackle preparation the same way you would for a presentation for a boss or a client.
No. 6: Lacking chemistry with the interviewer
Potentially unavoidable depending on the situation, if you can’t connect with the interviewer chances are you aren’t going to get the job. “Chemistry comprises 90% of a successful interview,” says Prosser. “Interviewees can be so focused on the technical stuff that they forget the obvious things.”
No. 7: Dammed if you have too much or too little experience
Appearing too overqualified or underqualified can hurt your chances of getting a new job but Prosser says there are ways to handle that. If you are over-qualified she says be ready to provide specific reasons why you want to take a step back or stop applying for jobs beneath your skill set. If you are under qualified she says be prepared to provide examples of how you can quickly come up to speed and provide specific examples of how you learned things on the fly.
No. 8: Viewing the interview as a one way street
You may think you are supposed to sit quietly and listen during job interviews but that strategy can actually backfire. Job interviews are a two way street and interviewers are looking for you to ask questions and discuss the position. If you remain tight lipped during the interview the employer won’t be able to determine if you are a right fit for the job, says Prosser.