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!
I often think back to my college days and whether my choices may, or may not, have directed me to where I am today. And the answer is a resounding YES.
The beginning of my college career was interesting. I started off as pre-med / pre-pharmacy, and I KNEW I didn’t want to pursue a career in healthcare. Why I did it, you ask? Because my parents wanted me to. Not that they wouldn’t have been happy with me having a career in business, but because in their generation, a career in healthcare meant stability and job security. I struggled for nearly two years to tell them I didn’t want to pursue their dream. All the while, I was still taking courses I had absolutely no interest in.
Once I broke the news to my parents, I realized I was on my own now. They knew nothing about any industry outside of healthcare. I was left to navigate the rest of my adult life… by myself. Scary!
Over the second half of my college years, I found a major that was broad and useful in many aspects of “business”. I had two minors where I explored interests I had – like real estate, property management, and language skills. In that time, I took internships in the hours I wasn’t working or in school. Some of those internships were absolute disasters; I’d go home hating my life and dreading the next 2 hour day I had to work. Some of those internships really piqued my interest, and I continued searching for positions in the same category.
In the end, my decisions absolutely led me to where I am today. What I didn’t realize when I was 20, I realize now. They say “hindsight is 20/20”, and that couldn’t be closer to the truth.
- Things are going to be hard. Sometimes, very very hard… and both physically and emotionally draining. And when you think you’re going to give up. Don’t. You have the capability to push through any tough phase because that’s all it is – a phase.
- Don’t study/pursue something just because someone else “wants” you to, or tells you to. Your interests are your own. You are a unique individual, and no one can tell you what you’d be good at. Figure that out on your own.
- Take a personal finance course. Once you realize you don’t have the financial support of anyone else but yourself, you have to know how to best utilize your assets.
- Take a social etiquette course, where ever you can find one. You may think it’s ridiculous to learn how to fold your napkin when you walk away from a table, but you will likely have many business dinners in your future where this will come in handy.
- Take a course in interviewing / resume writing. Believe it or not, interviewing is a skill that can be taught. And just as you learned how to write essays in middle-school, it’s time you learn how to draw up a great resume.
- Start networking. And never stop networking. You never know when the person you are talking to in your 20s, will be the next-big-thing’s CEO.
- If there is only one thing you take away, make it this. This is a marathon, and not a sprint. You are not going to accomplish what you want without a few bumps along the way. But each speed bump is just a reminder to keep yourself motivated, and to keep pushing forward.
Click here for article – What Every College Student Should Post on LinkedIn
As I source through LinkedIn profiles every day, I come across recent college grad profiles that are blank. Absolutely BLANK. Their profile has nothing more than their name. And so many recent grads come to me and ask, “Why can’t I get a job?”.
I’ll tell you. LinkedIn is vital to your job search these days. Recruiters use LinkedIn to find you through searching for keywords, location, job titles. If you don’t have words on your profile, you are being overlooked. So, yes… you have to have pertinent information in your profile to get found.
While we are on the topic of Social Media….
These days, it’s so much more than a resume and/or a cover letter. It’s about your social media presence. What are you posting on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google +, LinkedIn? Are you posting anything at all? Recruiters and your future employers are watching (not to sound creepy…). You are who your social-media portrays. Take down (or make private) your college photos, clean up your Twitter language, put up a LinkedIn profile that represents who you want to be seen as.
This doesn’t just target the “recent graduate” audience, but, rather, everyone.