May 22, 2018

Have you ever failed a job interview?

Employability Consultant Paul Cannons

You have done your research, made a successful application and been invited to interview, only to fail at the last stage – you were not successful in being offered the post. From the feedback you came across as a strong candidate answering all the questions with thoughtful responses.  Sounds familiar? There is a lot of frustration out there among just such candidates who are pipped at the post.

The immediate reaction is to think you have failed in some way. From the feedback you received you may think you need to alter your personality in some way. Perhaps you have been told you were too jovial, overly business like or too serious and ‘corporate’ in your style. At your next interview you decide to  ‘fake it’ and change your personality.  This is dangerous thinking because you may be successfully hired on this fake personality only to be fired because you cannot keep up the pretence of being someone you or not!

Such temptation at the next interview to assume a different business style is a strong one. But it fails  to take into account that the next interviewer is not the same as the one you previously encountered. By ‘faking it’ you acting on the previous interviewers feedback rather than responding to the present situation.

Remember all interviewers are different and come from many backgrounds. Some are highly skilled at interviewing, but some have little or no interviewing experience. Some rely on competency based structured interviews and some go with gut feeling or a combination of both. Either way interviewers are fallible and in some cases have a tendency to ‘mirror’ ie recruit in their own image.

So the key message is be true to yourself and assume a business style that you feel comfortable with; just  be yourself as Interviewers will pick up that you are relaxed and  more easily relate to you. It will also benefit you in the long term. You will end up working with a manager and company where you feel comfortable and allow your personality to come across and shine.

The other key message is to remember interviews are a  two- way process. You are interviewing the employer as well as the employer interviewing you. So t is appropriate to clarify what you expect from the job and remember you will be working in a team not on your own. It is important to probe the interviewer along the lines of the culture of the company and the attributes he or she is seeking in a potential employee.

So the conclusion is listen to all feedback with a critical mind. Some interview feedback may be of value and some may not be applicable to the next context you find yourself in. There is a job , role and manager that will work for you and bring out your personality and allow you to add value to an organisation. It may take time and patience before being interviewed by the recruiter and company where you feel you could best fit in.  Above all avoid being a corporate chameleon changing every time you meet a new potential employer. Remain firm in selling your brand and personality out there in the graduate market.

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