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 have gotten this interview question a few times in my career, and every time I thought to myself, “Well, that’s negative, isn’t it?” But, as you take a step back and think about why the interviewer is asking it, you begin to realize exactly what they are trying to figure out.
If you ask me what my biggest career move, this is how I’d answer:
Out of college, I entered the world of sales. I was good at it and made a lot of money. I made a natural progression into Recruiting. But, there came a point where I wanted to see what else I could do. So, I left sales/recruiting and was hired as the Executive Assistant to the CEO of a biotech company. It was a role completely foreign to me, but one that I wanted to explore. I wanted to see what else I was capable of.
Within a few months, I knew that I had made a huge mistake. I was miserable, and immediately started my job search. It had absolutely nothing to do with the company or the people I worked with. It was me.
I quickly learned that I was a proactive employee. I like being responsible for my day. I like knowing that I will “fail” if I don’t continue to put in work. I like knowing that the work I put in today, pays off tomorrow. I learned that some people are reactive employees, and like being given projects to be done on a deadline. I was not that person.
Being proactive is like a game to me. I’m competitive by nature and can’t just stand by and watch things happen. And, that’s how I landed back in Recruiting. My work is measurable and defines my success.
So, my “mistake”? Going outside of my comfort zone.
The real question behind the real question?… What lessons have you learned along the way?
As always… head up, chin down! GOOD LUCK!
I am an optimist. I always try to find the best in people… Until I encounter something ridiculous. I am always surprised by what I encounter on a weekly basis as a recruiter.
When interviewing with a company, the rule of thumb “don’t burn bridges” applies greatly. I had a candidate who was interviewing for one of my open positions. Seemingly great background, good personality match, and he and I had a great conversation. But, we aren’t moving forward with him… And here is why:
- Hung up on his interviewer. He was mid-conversation with the Hiring Manager (HM) when the HM asked a tough question about management, who he works under, etc. Understandable question since HM used to work for this candidate’s current company. The candidate must have been terrified because he quite literally hung up on the HM, and was not reachable after that.
- Was misleading about their employment. As mentioned above, the HM had previously worked at the candidate’s “current” company. I put current in quotes because the candidate was no longer an active employee. Naturally, we (recruiters) will find out as much as we can about a candidate through means of our own. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts… We know people, who know people.
- Hit on the recruiter. Check out the final email I received (below). This is not ok. Ever.
My advice? There is a way to bow out of an interview (or anything, really) gracefully. Don’t burn bridges; you never know when you will need that network.
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?