There are an infinite number of reasons why you didn’t get a particular job, from the interviewer holding onto the gig for a friend to your decision to overload on perfume or aftershave the day of the interview. So how can you tell if you’re to blame for a lost opportunity?
(Photo Credit: Sport Suburban/Flickr)
The first thing to do is to try to honestly assess your performance, without either beating yourself up or letting yourself off the hook. Ask yourself:
1. Was your presentation — dress, grooming, etc. — neutral, professional, and appropriate for the corporate culture of the company?
2. Did you express your interest in the job sincerely, passionately, and believably?
3. Did you feel a connection with the interviewer? You don’t need to become best friends, but if things are going well, the interview should feel more like a conversation and less like you’re being interrogated or making a speech.
4. Is there anything in your offline behavior that might cost you the job, such as posting something you shouldn’t on social media or badmouthing a former employer online?
5. Did you follow up appropriately, with an email or card?
One thing you shouldn’t do is worry over one interview that didn’t pan out. The list of things that could go wrong is long and goes into the weeds pretty quickly, as the infographic below demonstrates. (Although if you have some of these characteristics — like showing up to a job interview drunk — you might want to think about seeking professional help.)
The bottom line is that it’s worth evaluating your interview performance for weak spots, but don’t get hung up on trying to figure out if your interviewer has an irrational hatred of people who wear blue suits or who are your exact height. When it comes to figuring out what went wrong in job interviews, you’re looking for patterns, not obsessing over one lost gig.
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