Top 10 Reasons You Won’t Get The Job – Part 1

Over the years, I’ve done quite a bit of hiring and the things that people do that negatively impact their chances of getting a job are sometimes pretty astounding. I understand that you are nervous – it’s OK, we’re all human. However, there are some key mistakes that I’ve seen over and over again that I have compiled into my Top 10 Reasons You Won’t Get The Job.  Since these are kind of long, here are the first five:

10 – You Didn’t Prepare

If you have gone through the trouble of finding the job posting, writing a cover letter, submitting all of your documents, and passing a phone interview why would you not prepare for the actual in-person interview?! Before you step into that room you should have done you research on the company.  Find out their mission statement, goals, strategic objectives, position in the industry, and key operating information.  What have been their latest successes? Failures? Find out everything you can about the position.  Use networking tools like LinkedIn and GlassDoor to talk to people that already work there about the job duties, supervisor, and work environment.  You should also find out how this company likes to interview.  Is it going to just be you and a few HR and technical people?  Does this company like to bring in panels of 10? In this age of information there is absolutely no reason to go into these situations blind. There is also no bigger turn off to a hiring manager than to have you ask questions for things that would’ve been easily answered with a small amount of research.  You need to be just as interested in working for the company as you want them to be interested in hiring you.

9 – You Didn’t Sleep

So you spent the night before your interview tossing and turning in bed.  By getting yourself all worked-up and nervous, you have cheated yourself out of the rest that you needed to perform well in your interview and make a good first impression. If you have followed #10 then you should be prepared and feel confident that you can walk into your interview and have the knowledge to succeed.  If you are nervous, it’s OK!  Just take the steps needed to relax and get some sleep.  A hot shower, herbal tea, favorite movie – whatever it takes.

8 – You Show Up Late

You cannot believe the number of people I’ve had show up late to an interview! Not only does this show that you have problems with your organization skills, but it could also means that you now lack the time with your interviewer to demonstrate your skills.  Being late also means that you may become more nervous and flustered.  As if showing up late could ruin a first impression any further than now wasting the interviewer’s time with a poor interview.  Look, those of us on the hiring side of the desk understand that everyone is human.  If you are having a completely hectic day and have been faced with a flat tire, unexpected babysitter problems, or another situation that means you cannot perform at your best – call us before your interview and reschedule.  It is highly unlikely that we’re going to say no.  We want you to show us your best!

7 – You Give One Word Answers

No matter what is going on in your interview, never give one word answers. Even if the question could be answered with a yes or no, find a way to provide more detail or insight.  For example:

Interviewer: I see you worked at XYZ company for 4 years?

You: Yes


Try phrasing things like this:

Interviewer: I see you worked at XYZ company for 4 years?

You: Yes, I started in 2010 and held two job titles during my time there. I primarily worked with ABC technology during my time there.

See the difference? This way you are providing more insight into your skills and giving more conversational answers.

6 – You Lack Details

Like the above, you need to be able to articulate the answers to questions and help the interviewer see why you are the best candidate.  Show your problem solving approach and don’t be afraid to think out loud when given hands-on problems or puzzles. Demonstrate how this job relates to your strengths and connect all of the dots for the interviewer so they can have confidence in choosing you for the job.


This wraps up today’s list.  Check out the final 5 

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