Why people do not win the job

Your resume looks good, and your qualifications get you in the door for an in-person interview.  Now all you need to do is stand out in person and the job offer is yours.  You meet with the company, and then a little later get an email letting you know that the position has been narrowed to other candidates.

Here are the most common ways the job is lost.

  1. Bad timing for when you arrive at your interview.  Most people know that showing up late can be the kiss of death.  Interviewers think that if you can’t make it on time now, you will always be a problem later.  Showing up too early can be even more of an issue.  Image your interviewer trying to finish up work prior to meeting you and getting asked by every employee that walks by who the person is in the waiting area.  They start to feel pressured to conduct the interview early, even though it is inconvenient for them, because they know a person is sitting around waiting.  It gives them a negative bias about the interview prior to even meeting you.
  2. Failing to follow instructions.  When a candidate cannot complete small tasks expected prior to hiring, it hints at an inability to follow direction when they become an employee.  This can be something as simple as not parking where you were asked, and taking up customer parking.  I have even seen candidates park in reserved spots for upper management, and have an interview interrupted asking about whose car is in the General Manager’s space.
  3. Failing the likability test.  Many jobs are won or lost based on subjective observations.  When multiple highly qualified people are vying for a job, it can simply come down to the person people like.  Over, or under dressing for your interview can create an immediate dislike.  It fosters a feeling of separation, we like people that are the same as us.  Candidates that do not smile regularly, and do not engage in small talk can feel either arrogant, or introverted.
  4. Over-sharing your story.  Office gossip and drama are a constant battle for Management.  It causes lost productivity, and dampens morale.  If a candidate starts sharing too much gossip about their last company, or gets overly personal with their answers it can be a precursor to a later issue.
  5. Lack of commitment.  Most Managers do not like recruiting.  The last thing they want is to perceive that a candidate is a short term fix, and they will need to go through the whole process over again in the near future.  Candidates that show a lack of concern with the community, or the company they are applying too can be perceived as transient.
  6. Unprepared to ask questions.  Interviews are a two way street.  Each person needs to carry the weight of moving the conversation and sharing information.  What is asked by a candidate tells an interviewer as least as much as the answers to any questions.

Best of luck on your next interview.  Hope this helps you win the job.

Gregory Gershman
Employer Brand Ambassador at Recruitment HQ
Working with employers to help connect them with the best people in their market. Thousands of interviews and consulting sessions performed, that have given me valuable insight into how to attract, hire, and keep the best talent.

Find me on Twitter @hggershman

Specialties: Automotive recruiting, training, management consulting

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