Failure gets a bad reputation. When most people fall short of their objectives, they internalize that failure and act as if it reflects upon them as a person. Yet fixating on failure in that way diminishes the lessons that job seekers gain when their interviews fail to go according to plan.
The truth is that no experience is wasted if you learn something from it. So, next time you have a bad job interview, take some time to reflect upon the lessons you’ve just been given. They might just improve the odds of landing your next job.
1. There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Research
Job interviews are not only an opportunity to showcase what you know, but to convey your ability to expand upon that knowledge. Most of us know not to ad lib a job interview, however, some job seekers are still unclear about how deep research should go.
Even in a bad job interview, most IT professionals have an idea of the technical side of a position and what a company does. Yet a lack of knowledge in many other areas can prompt awkward situations or deflate the sales pitch. Here are some details that aren’t always widely researched that can help give job seekers an advantage against their competition:
- Company’s Leadership Team – Job seekers informed about a company’s leadership can slip in conversational references about the hierarchy and also make sure they don’t unknowingly interact with any of those leaders in improper or lackluster ways. A leadership page or LinkedIn company page can clarify this critical information.
- Mission Statement – The weight of a mission statement varies from one organization to the other. Some use it as a nice guideline while others treat it as an unbreakable vow. Until you get into an interview, it can be difficult to tell its true importance. To avoid making comments that will alienate them, job seekers need to know the mission statement and mirror it in their responses.
- Company Pain Points – What is tormenting your interviewer’s company? Job seekers often overlook that question and miss a chance to further prove their problem solving skills. Explaining how certain skills and experiences address challenges can better align candidates with their interviewer’s organization. The answers lie in any details you can find about a company’s new growth, divisions, product lines, or leadership.
And these three instances are only the start. Plenty of core information gets overlooked by candidates using the briefest Spark Notes approach. Explore their website, press releases, and social profiles to get all the information available.
2. The Interview Is Longer Than You Think
In our minds, there are clearly defined beginning and end points for the job interview. And they are wrong. The lines are much fuzzier, which has the potential to transform an otherwise promising interaction into a bad job interview.
So when does the interview start? Safety says the minute you leave for your interview. There have been instances where job seekers have cut off their interviewer in traffic or in line at the coffee shop, only to see their victims a short time later, smirking at them from the interviewer’s chair. Always maintain good etiquette throughout your day to avoid unintentional acts of self-sabotage.
Job seekers also need to remember their interview includes everyone they meet at a company. Good team chemistry contributes to healthy company cultures, so be professional with every employee you meet. Moreover, administrative assistants and future teammates tend to catch job seekers at their most candid, which means they’ll be debriefed for good insight. Make sure everything they report back is positive.
3. Your Body Language Sends Hidden Messages
Not every bad job interview stems from an uninformed response or a poor choice of words. Much of the way we communicate is non-verbal, meaning our body might be sending signals that are contradictory to our core message. Unfortunately, this happens all the time.
CareerBuilder conducts an annual survey about common interview mistakes and always lists a number of body language faux pas among their findings. This year, what employers are reporting as the most common are eye contact (reported by 67 percent of employers), the failure to smile (39 percent), and the act of playing with something on the table (33 percent).
The assumption from these body language cues are that a job seeker is not interested in a position or is nervous about the role. Making a conscious effort to maintain eye contact, smile, and limit fidgeting can prevent any misconceptions about your confidence or interest.
4. Almost Any Weakness Can Be Improved
Everyone has their Achilles heel. Improvising responses, weak eye contact, nervous ticks, bad posture, ill-timed jokes, and an endless list of other mistakes can undo an otherwise promising interview. Fortunately, most problems are fixable.
Difficulty improvising can be overcome by extensive preparation and practice with a partner. Weak eye contact and bad posture can be corrected with conscious effort. Are you making bad jokes? Avoid humor completely. The process of preventing bad job interviews, at its core is about being perceptive and taking action.
Since the corrections needed to alter these common interview mistakes are not life altering, your interview success should improve quickly.
Another Tip to Avoiding a Bad Job Interview
Not every bad job interview is necessarily because of a mistake you made. Sometimes, it’s because a job seeker has applied to an incompatible company. In those cases, the lesson is to find opportunities that fit your career goals and ideal culture. We can help you out.
We connect IT consultants with exciting positions where their skills are trusted and their values matter. Contact us today to improve the success of your job search.