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Dozens of job interviews, and no offers? Are you too old, too young, over-qualified or just out of luck? Are hiring managers so incompetent and biased that they can’t see that you’re qualified as a chemist, electrical engineer, CAD designer, construction manager or network administrator?
The truth is, if you’re getting rejected time after time for jobs that you are qualified for, the problem is most likely with you. Hiring managers and recruiters don’t get paid to reject people. Their job is to find qualified people to fill vacancies.
If you’re not getting invited back, ask yourself “why?” Most of the time, the problem is with the way you are presenting yourself. That’s not surprising because job interviewing is an infrequent activity for most of us. You need to critique your interviewing presentation the same as you would your on-the-job-performance. Here are ten reasons why you may not be getting a job offer:
1. You’re not qualified. It’s true, you have nothing to lose by applying for every job that looks even remotely like it might be a match. On the other hand, if you overstate your qualifications, it will come out during the interview. Sometimes the interviewer doesn’t properly screen job candidates, and it’s not until the interview is well under way that it becomes obvious that the candidate lacks the necessary skills or experience. There’s not much you can do about interviewers who don’t do their homework. However, think twice before you set yourself up for failure by applying for jobs that are clearly outside your level of expertise.
2. You may lack enthusiasm. You don’t have to emulate Zig Ziglar or Richard Simmons, but you must express enthusiasm for a job if you don’t want to be weeded out early in the interview process. Not everyone is effervescent in his or her personality, but if you can’t manufacture enthusiasm during a job interview, a hiring manager has to wonder how good your attitude will be after you’re hired.
3. Failure to establish your worth to the prospective employer. When you give the impression that you are only interested in “what’s in it for me” without regard to what you have to offer, a job opportunity is often lost. The hiring manager wants to know what you can do for him or her. Candidates who fail to establish their worth are quickly eliminated. For example, if you have eight years of progressively responsible experience as an application engineer, you will want to make sure that the interviewer sees the value in your experience. You establish your worth by the specific things that you say in answer to his or her questions.
4. Unclear job goals eliminate many candidates from further consideration. If you10. are an electrical supervisor and you don’t know what you specifically want to do, are not sure if you want to supervise again, or can’t communicate your interest during the interview, you’re in trouble. If you’re going through some soul-searching as we all do on occasion, keep it out of the interview or you run the risk of losing a job opportunity. Employers are not interested in hiring people who don’t know what they want to do.
5. Bad mouthing previous employers. There is no faster way to be cut from further consideration than by saying something negative about your current or most recent employer. It may be that your former supervisor really was a technically weak boss. Maybe he or she was frequently late in following through on assignments that in turn impacted your work. Regardless of the situation, think twice before you talk about it. It’s better to put a positive spin on your job search, saying you’re looking for better opportunities when asked why you are making a change. Employers want to hire people who are going places, not those who are refugees. What you say tells the listener more about you than about the person/company you are talking about. As tempting as it may be to tell the interviewer how badly your previous employer treated you, keep your negative thoughts to yourself.
6. Poor personal appearance. The key here is that you must fit in with the way others in the company dress. Hiring managers don’t want to hire anyone for their team who would be a distraction to others. And keep in mind that if a manager hires you with a nose ring, his or her judgment will be called into question, regardless of how well you do your job. A poor personal appearance can eliminate you before you open your mouth.
7. Unprepared for the interview. Preparing includes practice answering interview questions as well as researching the company. Interviewers are always impressed when you know something about their company. If due to a lack of practice you stumble with your answers, it will be clear that you are unprepared. Be ready to answer the question: “What can you tell me about yourself” in two minutes or less. It’s obvious to the interviewer when a candidate hesitates to answer a question that he or she is not prepared.
8. You may lack interpersonal skills. On paper you may look great. On the phone you are impressive. Your references look fine at a glance, but face to face you fail the test. If there is any hint that you may not get along with other members of the engineering team, it’s a deal killer. Suppress your desire to say anything that would suggest that you’re weak in the area of interpersonal skills including a comment that you are shy or would rather work with machinery than people.
9. Revealing your weaknesses will usually end your chances for getting a job offer. The hiring manager’s number one job is to determine the candidate’s weaknesses. He or she will do this by asking tough interview questions that you must be prepared to answer without revealing your weaknesses. Practice answering the question: “Can you tell me about one of your weaknesses and what you are doing to improve?” Take it one step further and decide what you will say when the interviewer asks you for three weaknesses that you are working on.
10. Failure to sell yourself. Your responsibility during the interview is to sell yourself and that includes carefully tooting your own horn. You may not have had to do much of this in the past, but times have changed. And don’t forget to follow up with a telephone call three or four days after an interview. It’s a great way to reinforce your interest in the job as well as ask a question or two that you may have forgotten to ask.
In conclusion, there are many reasons why you may not be getting a job offer. These ten reasons are among the most likely. Regardless of the reason, it’s your responsibility to make sure that you avoiding anything that would prevent you from moving forward in the interview process and ultimately landing the job.