Becoming one of the finalists while interviewing for a desired position is exhilarating. Falling short is disappointing. Continually being the runner-up is very discouraging. So what can you do about it?
You’re the best – You may be one of the best candidates but not get the job because of internal politics, favoritism, a change of mind or a number of other factors you can’t control. When it happens, don’t get discouraged. If it happens too frequently, read on.
There are some common mistakes that put you in second place that can be corrected. These are the items that you can control. Some of them are:
PREPARATION – I’m amazed with candidates who go into an interview cold or with minimal groundwork. You want to know as much about them as they know about you. Research the company, products/services, history, and culture through reports, articles and periodicals. Research the names of your potential boss, plus past employee comments.
ATTITUDE – If you’re unsure, it will show up in your interview. Play the role as if you really want the job and are fully qualified, even if you have qualms. The more you interview the better and smoother you become. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.
TOO ANXIOUS AND TENSE– Try not to have your first interview for a job that you really want, as you’ll be less skilled and more apprehensive. Confidence comes with preparation, practice and attitude. The more prepared and confident in your abilities, your nervousness with diminish. Practice with a mentor or friend who is at the same level as the hiring manager. If you’re the right person for the job, the interviewer will also want you to be successful.
DISCONCERTING QUESTIONS – Some interviewers purposely ask stressful questions. Don’t be alarmed, but be prepared. Try not to say, “I don’t know” but rather a neutral response like, “I’m not sure, but I’d check out assumptions and dig into alternative solutions”. When asked if you’re a team player or an individual contributor, say “ I’m a team player that likes to contribute my unique skills as an individual to the group result”.
THE HIRING MANAGERS PERSPECTIVE – If you’re the interviewer, you’re looking for two opposite conclusions: 1- Are there any knockout factors that will diminish the candidate’s performance? 2- Can this candidate perform at a high enough level to solve my immediate problems, plus grow into more responsibilities? The hiring manager will bring on board the candidate that will fit the group in place, can do the immediate job well, and can assume more responsibility as time goes on.
The hiringmanager does NOT want to hire a disruptive employee, who needs an unusual amount of training to do the current job, and is questionable to take on more tasks.
If it’s not a comfortable fit for you, move on. You don’t want to be on the market again.
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