Failing an interview and not getting the job is always a frustrating and heart-breaking experience. And if the last unsuccessful attempt wasn’t the only one from a long line of attempts and failures, the disappointment can take the shape of a true catastrophe. But there is light in the darkest of times, human resources experts say.
One of the greatest mistakes that may have led to your interview failure might have been your poor preparedness to meet the high standards of your recruiter. In translation, it means that you didn’t study and learn by heart the most important rules on how to get ready for a successful interview.
But let’s say you were indeed prepared. You had a well-composed CV and you paid the utmost attention to the latest guidelines on how to dress properly for your job interview. You spent a few days doing research on the company, read the job description, tweaked your answers to correspond to the potential questions. From your point of view, you were all geared up and ready for action. And yet, you still failed.
Today, some of the best recruiters out there came up with an idea: how about not letting the dark overwhelm you, but instead, learning something from the experience? Let’s take a look at the top five things you can learn from a failed interview so you can ace the next one with flying colors.
Top Five Things You Can Learn From a Failed Interview
1. Learn What You Did Right and Wrong
Usually, even if you failed an interview, the recruiter might still offer you some feedback on what you did right or wrong. Take this feedback with you and work on it step by step and then go through a thorough self-evaluation process:
1. Write down everything you think you did right and compare with what the recruiter said you did right. Do you have a match, or do you still need to work on some issues the recruiter emphasized on?
2. Repeat the same procedure with the things that went wrong from your point of view vs. the recruiter’s point of view. Do you have the same perspective on things? Did the recruiter insist on a few mistakes you considered to be unimportant?
3. Write down all questions you were asked and try to answer them again in the light of what you have learned so far. Try to come up with better answers and adapt them to the employer’s requirements.
At the end of the day you may discover it was only a matter of doing a bit more research before the interview and identifying the exact requirements for that particular position. Keep in mind that certain industries, such as banking, have very specific guidelines for landing a job in their sector, and if you don’t do your homework ahead of time, your lack of preparedness is bound to show up during the interview.
2. Learn How to Mock Up an Interview
Many people feel ready to take any interview challenge as they think they have everything prepared, from the business outfit to the most original answers. And yet, you may have flunked the job interview just because you stuttered too much, you mixed the answers, you felt uncomfortable, you had a memory block and so on.
In other words, you may have offered the perfect content in a poorly presented wrapping. Emotions, stress, lack of sleep a night before, public speaking anxiety and many more can lead to disappointing results. Recruiters love self-confidence, resistance to stress, good emotional self-management and other such qualities. If you think the emotional side was the one that lowered your hiring chances, next time do a mock-up interview.
1. Don’t do it together with a friend: he will be soft on you and you will learn little to no things about how to stay in control of the situation. You will probably end up laughing.
2. Do it with a professional recruiter and go through the same failed interview. Have the recruiter ask the questions, come up with new ones and tell you where you need a bit of extra work on your tone of voice, phrasing, stutter, pauses and so on.
3. The lesson here is to both control your emotions and learn how to answer on the fly, naturally, professionally and to the point.
4. A tip from pros: don’t give answers which are too long or too short. Each of them says something unpleasant about your emotional control and your level of professionalism.
3. Learn How to Use Your Words
One important mistake people do in interviews is the use of generalities, worn-out lines, clichés, meaningless phrases that sound good but say nothing and so on. This common error resides in the job seekers’ impression that they can outsmart the recruiters. Sometimes they can, but most often they lose points for coming up with the same old boring statements that can make any HR specialist disqualify you from the race.
1. Don’t ever again say that you are a “team player”, a “problem solver”, “good with solving crisis situations”, “perfectionist” and “result-oriented”. Recruiters have heard them so many times and they can’t stand them anymore.
2. Instead of flashing around adjectives and metaphors, use your words to thoroughly describe the actions you took in the past that prove you are a problem solver and a team player. So instead of throwing around nice words, try listing facts, dates, concrete situations, behaviors and results.
4. Learn How to Ask Questions
A recruiter wants you to want to get the job. This means you need to be more than ready, it means you need to show genuine interest in the company and your potential future job. Asking questions is as much of an art like answering them. HR specialists will judge you on looks, quality of your answers and quality of your questions. And keep in mind that good questions can subtly mask a few of your weaknesses.
1. Ask questions about the challenges of the job, its impact on the company and its relationship with the business.
2. Never ask questions in the “what’s in it for me” area. You have great chances to be turned down if you start asking about payment, benefits, vacation days and so on. You are allowed to ask such questions only after the recruiter either signaled you are a serious candidate for the job or actually asked you show up for a second meeting with the big boss.
3. In order to learn how to ask the recruiter better questions, do a few mock-up interviews with a neutral, objective recruiting expert.
5. Learn How to Transform the Interview into a Glorious Review of Your Professional Past
Some recruiters will just take a look over your CV and ask questions you already answered to on the paper in front of them. Such people are interested in checking some skills and experience boxes. Other recruiters are more interested in you, your actual performances, your reactions, emotions and sharp answers. These are the ones who will test you, right then and there. You may have failed because you couldn’t adapt yourself fast enough to such situations. What you need to learn is to turn your next interview into an overall review of your outmost performances.
1. Ask the recruiters about the major performance expectations of the job, about the envisioned results, the challenges and the opportunities it offers.
2. Always give solid and verifiable examples of work you have done in the past which are comparable with what it is asked of you.
No matter how many interviews you failed, you shouldn’t get depressed. Turn each disappointment into a learning opportunity and shine bright next time!
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