I never heard back. Why?

There comes a time when everyone thinks, “I thought I interviewed well.  What happened?  Why didn’t I get through to the next round?”  I think it’s human nature to always be asking “why”.  Let’s split this into a few scenarios:

You submitted your resume, but never heard back.  Why?

  • Before I make the decision to email/call you back, I look at your Facebook page, your Twitter profile, your blog posts, your Google+ page.  I Google you.  I have seen the rants about your job, how much you hate your boss, how you can’t wait for the day to be over.  I have seen the, sometimes, “unclassy” pictures of your drunken stupor from last weekend.  Would you hire you after seeing these things?
  • Your grammar.  Did you pass 2nd grade?  If so, I expect you to know the difference between “their”, “there”, and “they’re”.  Not only is this a poor reflection on you, but I risk my reputation as a recruiter as well.
  • Your resume is hard to read.  Why is it not in chronological order?  How long did you work at XYZ Corp?  When did you leave XYZ Corp?  Why is the font so small???  
  • Your resume is lackluster.  I can tell when you just copy a job description into your resume.  That’s great.  But tell me what YOU did in that role.
  • Your resume lacks information I want/need to see.  You’re in sales, and you don’t tell me how AWESOME you are at closing deals?  Why not?  Are you not proud of your accomplishments?  Things that make me go “hmm” will quickly put you in the reject pile.  

I had a phone interview with the recruiter, but never heard back.  Why?

  • You didn’t do your research.  Tsk tsk.  Always – ALWAYS – do a little reading on the company you’re interviewing with beforehand.  Know what their offerings are, know who their target clients are, know what questions you want to ask.  What else can you research?  The recruiter.  Find out where they went to school, their career history… use it to your advantage.  Build rapport with them off of any commonalities you might have.
  • You talk too much.  Long-winded answers rarely get you anywhere.  Why aren’t you listening to questions I’m asking?  Why aren’t you answering my question directly?  What are you dancing around?  Nerves are hard to overcome in interviews, I get it.  But you have to listen for cues.  What is the recruiter asking of you?  What kind of information does the recruiter need to evaluation your background? 
  • Your answers sound rehearsed and redundant.  Are you telling me the same thing using different words?  Have you said these sentences/phrases over and over in front of a mirror, and in every interview?  We can hear these nuances.
  • You don’t follow directions.  I found you on LinkedIn, I already have access to your profile.  When I ask for a resume, please send it to me.  Don’t direct me back to your LinkedIn page.  Not following an “ask” is a tell-tale sign of how much you want something.  
  • You interview poorly.  I have said it a million times, “interviews are just conversations”.  We are here to learn about each other.  I talk to some candidates where I feel like I’m trying to pull teeth.  Brag about yourself!  Be confident in your abilities.  Ask questions right back at the recruiter.  Just as we’re interviewing you, interview us!

I had an interview with the hiring manager, but never heard back.  Why?

  • Lack of detail.  By the time you’ve gotten to the hiring manager, they are looking for details on why you’d be great at a job.  If you can’t back up statements like “I’m a successful sales rep” with things like “I achieved 200% of my quota YOY by continuously prospecting my territory, fearlessly hunting and cold calling, and continuously analyzing my plan of attack”, the hiring manager isn’t going to be able to assess how well you’d do here.   
  • You didn’t send a “thank you”.  Call it what you will.  Some hiring managers don’t care.  Some do.  Some make it a “mandatory”, while others are just a “nice to have”.  But, why not increase your chances by taking 2 minutes out of your day to email them?  Show them you want it!

Job searches are hard.  Some would say, interviews are harder.  They’re stressful, they put you in a position of vulnerability.  Approach your job search like you would any other tough situation in life — head on!   

Remember… head down, chin up!  



Questions to Ask in an Interview

Interviewer:  Is there anything I can answer for you?
Candidate:  No, I think I know everything I need to know.

Let’s face it.  Do you really know EVERYTHING you need to know about the company you’re interviewing at?  
You should assume that every interviewer will allow you an opportunity to ask questions of them.  I urge you to ask them!  Engaging the interviewer shows them that you are a part of the conversation, and that you are interviewing them as well.  After all, you will have to be working with them.  On top of looking like you are genuinely interested in the company and the team, it shows you came prepared.  
Below, I list some of the types of questions you can consider asking your potential-future-employer:
  • Future of the industry (ie: cloud technology, solar, potato powered cars)
  • Growth of the company over the past few years
  • Planned future growth of the company
  • Company culture
  • Team structure / hierarchy 
  • Opportunity for growth
  • The interviewer’s career path
Things you should avoid asking:
  • Salary (unless the interviewer brings it up)
  • Benefits (unless the interviewer brings it up)
  • Soft benefits
  • Paid Time Off / PTO
  • Sabbaticals
  • “Bring your dog to work” day
At the end of the day, remember that an interview is just a conversation.  It should never be question-answer-question-answer.  Make it interactive; make it a give-and-take.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions mid-interview.  Don’t be afraid to interject if you are confused about the job duties.

Just as much as the company is interviewing you, you are interviewing them.

We Are Always Watching…

Social media outlets provide great insights to a potential candidate.  Let’s say I find someone on LinkedIn Recruiter that I think looks great for the position I am looking for.  I will be the first to admit (and many recruiters will) that I am not only looking at your professional profiles, but I am going to look at your Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Yelp, and/or any blogs you write for or own.  I not only want to get a sense for who you are as a professional, but I want to see how you will be as an employee.

People make assumptions.  Lots of them.  How many times have you looked at someone’s Facebook profile and said to yourself, “Joe Shmo is always partying” or “Mary Jane’s updates are always her complaining about something”.  I’m sorry to break it to you, but recruiters are doing the exact same thing.  We are people, after all.  If we see something we don’t like, it may cost you an interview – or worse, a job offer.

So, what’s killing your social networking profile, you ask?

Inappropriate pictures.  Mentions of excessive use of drugs and/or alcohol.  Complaints about work, or your boss.  Bad grammar.  

Employers are trying to get a picture of who you are as a professional, who you are at work and outside of work, how you interact with your colleagues.  Ultimately, they are trying to figure out whether you will be good for the culture, or whether you will be a parasite for it.

My suggestion:  Google yourself.  See what pops up.  Would a future employer be pleased with what they see?  Would you offer yourself a job?