You have done everything right, from writing an amazing cover letter that was catered to the role, then getting called for the interview. You studied the website for the company and memorized every detail, went to the interview and left feeling it went well. You sent the thank you note prior to the interview and you didn’t hear anything back until two weeks later when you receive a generic rejection e-mail. It stated that there was just too many qualified candidate to choose from, and they have gone with another candidate. I have gotten more of these than I can count.
I used to take rejection personally. I would feel very discouraged, which would lead me to redesign, rewrite and rework my resume, in the hopes of getting a better outcome. It was not until I was a part of the interview process that I came to the realization that no matter how much experience I had there are so many other variables at play.
Not Showing Enough of Your Personality
An interview is about getting to know the candidate, not only their capabilities but if you would enjoy working with them as well. When candidates come across too rigid it is hard to tell if they would be a good fit for the company’s culture. Think of an interview as both parties determining if the job is a good fit; get to know your interviewer, ask them questions and try to create the feeling of a natural conversation.
Being Too Cocky
I had a friend who was rejected from a job because he didn’t have the right attitude. The interviewers felt that he came across as too cocky and did not show a willingness to learn. They would rather choose a different candidate with no prior experience, who has the right attitude then to offer him the position.
A lot of companies are using the STAR format for interviews. STAR stands for situation, task, action and result. It is okay to state a mistake you may have made in the past, as long as you can address what you would do differently next time.
Don’t Say What You Think They Want to Hear
I have conducted enough interviews to know when the candidate is just telling me exactly what I want to hear. It is the candidates that really think about their answers and relate them to their experience that stand out. Don’t say that you “love’ something, if you are not able to passionately talk about it.
Its Not You, Its Them
Well not necessarily, it could be both of you. I went to an interview once, where my interviewer seemed disappointed when I answered the questions correctly. I could tell my disposition bothered her. I have this problem with being way too smiley, especially when I get nervous. I think it made her feel uncomfortable. I tried to engage her in conversation, but she kept redirecting the interview. A few times when I answered her questions, she put me down, which seemed uncalled for because of the little knowledge she had of me as a person. We actually got into a debate over what a bleed is. I told her that when something has a bleed the image runs off the page, but she kept insisting a bleed meant there was a border.
I would have to report directly to this women, and I could tell by the end of the interview, even though I was a qualified candidate and she was impressed by my work, neither of use wanted to work together. Our personalities did not mesh well at all. Although I wanted the position, I didn’t want to work with her.
The competition in the job market is fierce. I find it is really important to try your best to minimize the barriers of entry and then hope for the best. I have tried to create a brand for myself and a positive online representation. I also ensure that there are not minor errors that could eliminate me from the screening process. The rest is just left up to fate. I have interviewed 5 – 10 candidates with all different kinds of experience, but in my mind there is always one or two that stood out and seem like the right fit. It has more to do with having the right energy than the right experience.I didn’t choose the most qualified, I chose the candidate that would do a good job and fit in best with all the varying personalities in the company.