I seem to do okay with getting job interviews, but then something happens and I don’t seem to get anywhere beyond the first interview. I really want a new job, but I don’t know what I am doing wrong. Your thoughts?
Career Doctor responds:
First, good for you to stop and analyze your situation and realize you have a problem that is holding you back from succeeding with your goal.
There are numerous reasons why your interview results are not what you seek – and you need to uncover what you are doing wrong so that you can address them… and succeed in the future.
My first suggestion is that you consider contacting one (or more) of the recent people who have interviewed you – someone that you felt you had good rapport with during the interview. Contact him/her and be honest; say that you have realized there may be something you are doing wrong – or weakly – in job interviews and that you would greatly appreciate their feedback. Stress that you are NOT looking for a second shot at interviewing – simply looking for information that can help you improve for future interviews.
Next, I suggest you go down this list of common interview problems and see if any of these ring true for you.
- Late to interview
- Not properly attired/groomed
- Arrogant/impolite to staff (outside of interview)
- Weak non-verbals (handshake, eye contact, smile)
- Unprepared or insubstantial responses to interview questions
- Lack of knowledge about the employer
- Boring/rambling responses to interview questions
- Speaking negatively about former bosses/employers
- Providing too much – or too little – information about accomplishments/qualifications
- Failing to ask questions of interviewer
- General lack of enthusiasm/appearing disinterested/disengaged
- Appearing too desperate/willingness to accept any job
- Texting/answering phone during interview
Finally, I want to suggest a powerful strategy that will enhance the core of your interviews. Brainstorm and develop accomplishment stories that you can use to showcase your qualifications and strengths in job interviews (and networking). I also want you to develop stories for responses to common interview questions – strength/weakness, tell me about yourself, why do you want to work here, why should we hire you, and the like.
Storytelling done correctly will make you more memorable. People remember stories more than they do facts and figures. Make yourself the hero of your stories, remembering to include a beginning, middle, and end. Try to keep all your stories on a consistent theme – a consistent narrative that showcases your career brand.
Unfamiliar with storytelling and job-search? Lucky for you, this year’s Job Action is all about storytelling for career success – and we have articles covering the entire gamut of job-hunting, from networking to interviewing. Learn more, and find links to all the articles and tools, here.