Following on from the first 5 reasons why a job interview could go wrong which included turning up late, dressing like Timmy Mallet, being over negative and having literally no knowledge about the company you are being interviewed for.
In this final part we will be looking at a further 5 reasons why that interview could go badly wrong including not answering the question, negative body language and failing to follow up with a company after the interview is finished.
Let’s begin with something that always irritates me whenever I interview somebody….
Job Interview: 6. Not answering the question
Listen carefully to the question, there will be a specific skill or experience that the interviewer will be trying to draw out. Sometimes nerves can take over and you will begin to waffle about everything apart from what the interviewer is actually asking.
As I mention in part 1 the key here is in the preparation. Although you don’t want to sound too rehearsed, by practicing the answers to typical interview questions, you will be able to try and eliminate the waffle and answer the question with real substance.
Job Interview: 7. Body Language
Remember, from the moment you arrive at a job interview to when you leave, you need to be fully aware that you are there to impress and to sell yourself.
So, don’t sit in reception with your legs stretched out, hands clasped behind your head with a chilled out demeanour. Greet the interviewer with a firm (but not iron grip) handshake, and certainly not a limp handshake which might suggest a weak character. Smile and make eye contact. Remember that those first few seconds are a great opportunity to create a great impression.
When you are in the interview, avoid the classic negative body language traits; don’t cross your arms as this can be interpreted as defensive and try to sit forward and make direct eye contact to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position.
If you can subtly imitate your interviewer’s positive body language this will certainly build up a rapport, but try not to make it too obvious or they may just find you a tad weird!
Job Interview: 8. Failing to sell yourself
One of the classic mistakes we often see in a job interview is when candidates believe it’s a sign of arrogance to give examples of where they have excelled in a position. I’m not sure whether it’s a British trait that we feel too reserved to boast about our achievements. It certainly isn’t the case over in America where candidates are much more confident about self-promotion.
But, there is obviously a fine balance between arrogance and confidence. For example, in an interview, you could say, “I have a reputation for delivering an excellent ROI on marketing projects”, rather than, “I am the best marketing person in my company”.
Make sure you add some substance when reflecting on your strengths, and it is always wise to reflect on some of the projects you delivered and the facts and figures behind those projects.
Job Interview: 9. Failing to ask any questions
You’ve got to the end of the interview and the interviewer will typically ask you, “Do you have any questions for me”. By answering no, you will look disinterested and unenthusiastic about the position you have applied for, and you will have blown all the good work from the previous 55 minutes.
I mentioned in part 1 about ensuring you have done your research for the interview and from this research you should be able to put together 2-3 questions ready for this very situation.
So, what do you really want to know? Avoid just chucking in a few token questions about holidays, perks or job progression.
I always find this is a great time to ask if the interviewer has any doubts about my fit within the organisation or if they feel there are gaps on my CV that haven’t been addressed.
You could ask, “I’m very interested in this role and I think I’d be successful here. Do you feel that I would be a good fit?” Or you could ask them, “What do you particularly enjoy about working here?” This will demonstrate enthusiasm and gives the interviewer the opportunity to sell the company to you.
Other great questions include, “If I was to be successful, what is likely to happen in my first week?” Or, “is support available for people who want to gain extra skills?”
Job Interview: 10. Failing to follow-up after the interview is over
We have all probably done it in the past. You finish your interview and then you wait for the phone to ring to see whether you were successful.
But if you actually followed up the interview with a short email thanking the interviewer for their time, you will put yourself ahead of the 90% of people who don’t bother to do so.
Keep the email short, thanking them for their time and reiterate how impressed you were with their business giving a short synopsis on why you believe you would be the perfect fit for their organisation.
Finish the email by informing them that if they have any questions that shouldn’t hesitate to contact you.
Remember, every opportunity you have to set yourself apart from the other applicants in the process is worth taking. With all that time you have spent on your CV and interview preparation, what’s another couple of minutes firing off a thank you email?
And if all else fails and you have waited weeks for an answer, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to determine what the deadline is for an answer on the role.
I hope you found a few of these tips useful. Remember that you have done extremely well getting an interview in the first place, and if you follow this guide, you should be able to set yourself apart from the other candidates in the process.
Best of luck in your job search, and if we can be of any further help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.