Congratulations, you passed the background check over the phone and now you have the first face-to-face interview. You are a combination of excitement and nervousness, your hair looks good (or at least you hope it does) and your credentials are in order. Then the interview comes, you think you’ve nailed it, but then something unforeseen happens, something dire and all of a sudden you’re out of the race. “Why?!” you ask yourself as you start the job hunting process once again.
If you’re not sure why you’re being knocked back, we can help. Here are some of the reasons as to why you are getting knocked back.
You are not concise
This is a two-fold topic. The first of which presents itself in the form of tardiness. Arriving late to an interview will always reflect poorly on you and is sure to hurt your chances. Another way in which you might not be concise is during the actual interview, when your responses lack structure or if they tend to run on. It’s great to let people see parts of your personality but if you end up rambling on about your entire life story you are likely to get knocked back.
You lack a general understanding of the role
You might have a basic idea of what the job role entails, so for example if you were applying to be a teacher you could probably say without difficulty that a teacher’s role is to teach children. But as with almost every job role, there is so much more than meets the eye. Before you go for the interview, prepare and practice to ensure you know what you’ll have to do for the role. This is also a great exercise for you to decide whether the role is right for you.
You’re not on brand
It is entirely possible to find your job application in the reject pile post interview because you aren’t the right fit for the company. If you’re not comfortable wearing a suit, it will show; if you’re not comfortable working in an unstructured environment it will eventually show. Recruiters and hiring managers look for any kind of significant misalignment. If you’re not on brand, the chances of you making it past the first interview are about zero. Instead do your due diligence and find a company that is right for you. If your gut tells you it won’t be a good fit, listen to it and continue your search elsewhere.
There’s no connection
Having that first interview is quite similar to a first date, both parties are a little nervous and you’re both looking to get something out of it – for one, it is the profits from your labor and the other, it is payment for your time served. But just like a first date, if there’s no chemistry or connection, there won’t be a second. Unfortunately for this type of breakup there’s no remedy to help you with that particular job. Your first move should be to apply to the next suitable company, one where you feel a real connection. But hey, isn’t it nice to at least know why you weren’t chosen?
You failed the first impression
80% of first impressions are formed in the first 30 seconds, and that’s the one that tends to stick. That is a pretty big hole to dig yourself out of if you make a bad first impression. Some recruiters are incapable of objective recruiting. Which means you need to be on point from the get go. Even if you nail the interview but you made a poor first impression, it’s likely going to be the first impression that will remain in the recruiter’s mind.
You’re too nervous – far too nervous
A little bit of fear and nerves can be a good thing, but too much can turn you into a job seeking wreck. Being too nervous during the interview would suggest to the recruiter that you have poor presentation skills and most probably won’t be able to work well under pressure and, depending on the job, this could be a huge deal breaker. Not only does excessive nervousness show a lack of skills, it also gives off a needy vibe, which would cause the hiring manager to look at you as a less desirable candidate.
Lack of curiosity
This is really something that will benefit both you and the employer: make sure you ask questions about the company. Ask for more information, more details, be curious and show the hiring manager you are genuinely interested in the work, the jobs and the organisation. So instead of sitting there like a passive participant in an international debating competition, speak up and ask questions. Don’t know which questions to ask? That’s okay, there’s plenty of resources available, all you need to do is choose the right ones and practice. Otherwise you might not get to the next round.
Remember this is also an opportunity for you to see if you like the company and if you like the people. Recruiting isn’t just a one way street, there needs to be a mutual agreement. While you want to consider the needs of the company and the interviewer, you also need to consider your feelings and what you are hoping to achieve in your career.