Have you ever been qualified for a job, selected for an interview, felt that you interviewed well, and then gotten the standard, “Thank you for your interest in XYZ company. We chose to move forward with a different candidate. We will keep your resume on file blah blah blah.”?
If so, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Many people that feel qualified for the job they applied to and confident in their interview often end up in this situation.
So what happened? What went wrong?
A resume might be what gets you through the door, but your interview dictates your future with the company. We asked one of our recruiters what he finds commonly hurts candidates the most during interviews and to give advice on how candidates can overcome those things to land the job.
Advice From a Recruiter
1. The “Least Favorite Employer” Question
A lot of times hiring managers will ask about your least favorite employer. The proper way to respond to this question is NOT by saying, “I loved all my previous jobs and bosses”. This is not a valid answer. Instead, focus on a specific thing(s) you did not like about your boss and explain it. Also, remember that this is not an opportunity to go on a tangent about how you hated your boss or rip them apart when answering this question.
2. Understand the Job
Before going into a job interview – or heck even before applying – read and have a solid understanding of the job description. The basics are knowing the company, but a good interviewer will research the company in the news, check out their social media, and dig into the company website beyond the front page to know what they are currently involved within the business and in the community.
Bonus: Research the Interviewer. If you know their name ahead of time, then do a little research on them as it might help with breaking the ice.
3. Avoid Aggressive Name Dropping
If you know people that work at the company you are interviewing with, then that’s great. If you are name dropping the people you know just to do it, and there is no reason to be name dropping at that point during the conversation, then it just comes off as tacky.
Ex.) I sat in for an interview at an auto company’s aftermarket site. The position dealt with credit analysis for auto part stores and maintenance shops. The candidate had previous experience doing credit analysis and had done so for some property acquisitions made by “John”. John was the owner of a very large, successful company. I think the candidate dropped John’s name at least 5-6 times during the interview and nobody interviewing really cared.
4. Don’t Bullshit
If you don’t know the answer to a question, or don’t understand what they are asking, don’t try to make something up that you think sounds okay. It is OKAY to respond by saying, “I’m sorry, I do not know”, or, “Can you please explain the question?”. You being honest or getting clarification gets you farther than a bullshitted answer.
5. Focusing on Advancement
It is great to show interest in advancing through the company. However, don’t focus on advancement opportunities during the interview and don’t ask a lot of questions about them. The hiring manager is interviewing you for a specific job, so focus on that job.
6. No Phones
Turn your cell phone ringer on silent or turn your phone off all together heading into the interview. Hearing your phone going off during an interview is a MAJOR turn off to hiring managers.
7. Ask Questions
Not having questions prepared for the interviewer is not okay. There are nuances to every job, workplace, and team. Not having questions makes you come across like you did not care to prepare and do not care about the job. The interview is a chance for BOTH sides to see if it is a match.
8. Bragging about Yourself
Yes, you have to sell yourself to the interviewer. However, boasting about previous accomplishments is not the best way to do it. It is okay to touch on those, but do not start talking about your trophy case unless they really want you to.
9. Answer the Question and Then Shut-up
It is too often that interviewees get nervous and do not know when to stop talking. They usually continue to babble far beyond the point of when they answered the question. Take a minute before you answer the question, breathe, and once you answered, it stop talking.
Land the Job
Don’t let a bad interview be the reason you don’t get the job. The recruiters at HRU Technical Resources often coach candidates on how to have better interviews to land the job they want, which is part of what makes working with recruiters so great. Following these 9 interview tips/advice will help you to have a knockout interview and increase your chances of getting the job.