It’s so discouraging, isn’t it? You think the interview or performance review goes great, and then you get passed over for the job yet again. Are you starting to wonder why you aren’t getting hired?
My friend Jennifer works in the Human Resources Department for a large network of hospitals. She conducts the first stage of interviews for her company. She recently told me how surprised she is at how hard it is to fill some of the positions. She has no shortage of applicants with great resumes for many of the openings. The problem? The interviews don’t often go so well. She can’t hire people with a terrible bedside manner. And if someone can’t communicate well across a desk with her, she can’t trust them with patients and families.
Maybe your problem is similar. Maybe it’s not about your qualifications, what diversity you bring to the team, your experiences, or your knowledge – maybe it’s your attitude! There may be some subtle but deadly things you do in an interview or during networking that are killing your chances of getting hired.
To transcend what people tend to see on the surface – race, gender and age, be aware of these things to improve your chances of getting the job you want:
Listen. Networking is a great opportunity to show you are a great communicator. And great communicators spend more time listening than they do talking. Take the time to hear what the interviewer is looking for. Listen to the people you are connecting with, not only to find out what they can really offer but to show them you value them and what they say. Good listeners find themselves walking through more open doors just by taking the time to hear what is being said and looking for opportunities to help. Take the time to value others by letting them do the talking.
Be honest. Don’t inflate your resume or your qualifications. Be sincere. If you lack authenticity, it will be obvious. Likewise, when it comes time to communicate your qualifications, do it with calm confidence, not overwhelming cockiness. Find the balance between showing passion but not being obnoxious.
Be aware of simple etiquette. Jennifer told me she is shocked at the number of people with terrible social habits. Are you chewing gum? Interrupting your interviewer? Making eye contact? Lunch meetings can be a minefield of dangerous offenses. Talking with food in your mouth, chewing with your mouth open, drinking too much alcohol. Be aware of bad habits that are no big deal to you but can be highly unpleasant to others and leave them with a bad impression of you. Etiquette also extends to your attitude! No one wants to hire someone who doesn’t show passion for the job or is full of negativity and cynicism. You could be the utmost expert and if you have a bad attitude, it negates everything you’ve worked hard to learn!
Take the time to say thank you. Always follow up with the interviewer or the person who introduced you. Whether it’s an important interview or a casual networking meeting, make sure you let the other person know you are thankful for their time. Communicating gratefulness to others shows you value them as people and the time they invested in you. Showing your gratefulness goes a long way in showing your awareness of others and your willingness to be a team player.
Find out how you can sell yourself better! If you are feeling brave, take the time to ask why you didn’t get the job. Listen to the feedback and take it to heart. Make the changes you can in order to present the best version of you!