Picture this: You’re a job candidate up for a role in a coveted organization. You’ve got the experience and referrals, and you’ve even managed to land an interview. So, come interview time, you’re pretty confident about your chances. Weeks later, you still haven’t heard from the interviewer or the company. What gives?
Despite your interview skills or level of experience, many candidates find themselves in a job search black hole. Although it’s easy to blame interviewers — after all, they may receive more than 100 applications per opening — you may be inadvertently raising some red flags.
When this happens, it’s time to take action. To help, we’ve compiled a list of everything interviewers want to say to unprepared interviewees — and how to prevent them from thinking that about you.
1. “Why didn’t you come prepared?”
From failing to research the company to not being able to tell your interview story, inadequately preparing for a job interview is one of of the biggest mistakes possible. For instance, not being able to relay industry information or not referring to a recent organizational change may show the interviewer you’re not serious about the job — or that you weren’t interested enough to do your homework.
Before the interview, research like crazy. Find out what’s new with the company, the interviewer and your industry. In addition, tailor your answers to your findings. For instance, if the company recently added a new department, say something like, “I saw that you added a new department, which shows your commitment to growth and sustainability — both of which I admire in a company.”
2. “I’ve heard this response a million times.”
Some responses are generic for a reason; they’ve been used over and over to the point where an interviewer may be numb to them. For example, stating you’re a great candidate because of your stellar work ethic isn’t new or unique. Your interviewer wants to be wowed — so responding with a run-of-the-mill quality like good work ethic may not bode well for you.
Show how your work led to accomplishments. If you created an advertisement that increased page views by 15%, make sure to say so. Results signify you achieve success, which is what most employers seek.
3. “These responses don’t reflect who you are online.”
65% of employers check out your online presence to see if you present yourself professionally.
65% of employers check out your online presence to see if you present yourself professionally. Although posting those party photos or bashing your old employer may have seemed like a fun idea at the time, your interviewer may think otherwise. Who you are online may eventually represent your future employer — and if the lines don’t align, the interviewer may question your authenticity.
Clean up your online presence early. This means taking down any inappropriate content and enabling privacy settings. Next, start posting professional updates, such as industry news or your opinion on the company’s latest thread. This shows that your online and offline stories match.
4. “That outfit is not appropriate.”
Your physical appearance reflects who you are. If you show up disheveled or inappropriately dressed, your interviewer may not think you’re professional enough for the job. In addition, not dressing well may seem like you don’t care about the organization or the job — certainly not the impression you want to convey.
When in doubt, overdress. Suits, ties and collared shirts are all great options. But put some personality into your outfit, like a shirt with a pop of color under your blazer or a piece of statement jewelry.
5. “I’m bored.”
Did you know 21% of candidates report their interviewers seemed bored during the interview? This may be because you’re not giving memorable responses. Look at it this way: Interviewers likely go through hundreds — if not, thousands — of applications and meet with many candidates. If you’re aren’t a shining star from the get-go, why should they pay attention?
Create a game plan to stand out. This can range from bringing up a funny anecdote to producing a creative resume. Whatever you decide, make sure you do your best to nab the interviewer’s attention from the beginning. Then, the interviewer will be much more enthusiastic about your prospects at the company.
What are some other pointers for job candidates? Share your advice in the comments below.