You sent in a thorough and clear application, had a few great rounds of interviews and then… nothing. Is this what your job search has looked like recently? If so, it’s time to examine these five reasons why you may be getting dropped off the list at the final round:
- Insufficient preparation
After passing one or two round successfully, candidates may get complacent and start thinking the rest is just a formality. In truth, it’s the reverse: the more important interviews are later!
Your first few interviews were likely screening interviews with HR just to see if you check all the boxes and how you’d fit in the company generally. But the real decisions are made in the later interviews with the CEO, or the person who is going to be your boss.
Hence, make sure you research the role and organisation thoroughly. Often, the thing that gives one candidate an edge over another is an air of confidence or professionalism. Knowing about the challenges facing the industry (and what the firm’s competitors are up to) could be the thing that sets you apart.
- Bad Presentation
While you’re waiting for the interviewer to arrive, don’t make the mistake of rehearsing answers in your head as you risk appearing tense and distracted on first meeting.
“What you say and how you come across in the first two minutes has a powerful effect on decision makers. Pay attention to your posture (stand up straight, don’t fold your arms over your body), smile and make eye contact. You should look and sound the part from the start,” said John Lees, author of a wide range of career books including How to Get a Job You Love.
- Over-elaborate answers
Over-supplying information is as bad as one-word answers, as it indicates how nervous you are.
“Talking too much not only bores the listener but numbs their attention. Also, you may not leave enough time for the interviewer to cover all their key areas,” warned John.
As a general rule of thumb, keep your answers at around two minutes. Also make sure to answer the question directly, without going off-tangent into unrelated skills of work experience (no matter how impressive they may be!).
- An unenthusiastic applicant
A common gripe amongst hiring managers is getting the impression the candidate simply wants a job to coast through and collect a paycheck from, rather than having any interest in the company or career pathway it offers.
Counteract this by getting quickly into why you want this particular job at this particular place.
Note your body language as well! John explained: “Every interview is an audition. Employers will try to visualise putting you in front of team members or customers – and if they just can’t imagine you doing well, things won’t go much further.”
- CV Problems
Interviewers are trained to look for weaknesses in your CV. If you don’t reassure and convince them during the interview, your application won’t go any further.
“Think about any information in your CV that may worry the interviewer before you arrive. Gaps, inconsistencies, lack of relevant information – prepare strong matching statements for each,” said John.
“If there is a big concern, e.g. the lack of critical experience, don’t hope that questions won’t come up. Tackle it directly.”