Truth be told most people (well majority of the population) have had a job interview go wrong at some point in their lives and they did not receive the job offer because of it. Even seasoned professionals who have been out in the workforce for years (and haven’t practiced interviewing skills) can fumble when they first start putting themselves out there.
But I want to tell you this…
When you go on a job interview and don’t receive the job offer, it is not failure, it should be used as a learning opportunity. Reflect on the interview and ask yourself what went wrong? Maybe nothing went wrong…Or maybe you said something inappropriate and didn’t even realize it! Maybe another candidate had a bit more experience or clicked a little more with interviewer.
Unfortunately, you may never know… Candidates often want feedback on how their interviews went, but truth be told HR Reps and Hiring Managers are not likely going to provide you with honest feedback. You’ll likely get a generic “we feel there are other candidates whose qualifications more closely match the job requirements”. Which makes it so hard for you to learn and become better at interviewing when you aren’t getting the REAL reasons.
And why aren’t you getting real feedback? Because of fear of a lawsuit.
I was fortunate enough early on in my career to meet with a head hunter (from a firm) who provided me with the piece of advice that I desperately needed to hear.
She said to me you interview very well, appear very intelligent, and have a great personality… but it comes across that you aren’t sure what it is that you want to do with your career and how you want to see it progress. That can be a major turn off for employers. Employers want to know that you are going to stick around if they invest in training you.
As soon as I received that piece of advice, it was all clear to me. I was able to think back to all of my other interviews for entry-level HR jobs and realized where I had gone wrong. It wasn’t until someone pointed it out to me that I saw the trend in how I interviewed.
In all honesty, I was just so desperate for a job and was willing to take anything! I had no idea how it came across and I will forever be grateful for that piece of advice! The next HR job I interviewed for I got…all it took was someone pointing out to me what I had done wrong.
I believe we all replay our job interviews over in our head afterwards. I know several candidates who have walked away from an interview thinking that went terrible when it actually went well! Or, the exact opposite they think they interviewed really well and I then hear from a manager who has stated that the candidate performed terribly in the interview. The most important thing here though is that we take the time to reflect and use it as a learning opportunity so the next interview goes better. When an interview goes wrong, it is okay to ask for feedback, but you need to ensure it is done tastefully. Take a look at this post to learn more about how you can ask for feedback after an interview.