What Might Have Gone Wrong in the Interview

Don’t you wish you knew why you didn’t get that job?  You worked so hard on your resume, got through the phone interview and was called in for the in person interview. You think you’re on a roll, but you never hear back from the interviewer.  What happened?

Here’s a peek behind the interviewer’s desk.

They saw something promising on your resume and decided to call you for a phone interview. That went well—you handled yourself well on the phone and answered the basic questions they asked.

Something happened when they met you in person.

Each interviewer is different, but here are some common reasons why you may not hear back from them.

You weren’t dressed appropriately for the position or company.  Think about the way others at the company were dressed, and the status of the position you were interviewed for.  Were you “dressed to impress”?  One time I interviewed someone for an account manager position that might be a bit of a stretch from what he was currently doing.  I was willing to give him a chance.  However when he showed up for the interview he was dressed pretty casually and didn’t even bring a notebook to take notes during the interview, or a pen to write with.  I needed him to show me that he was going to project a professional image without my having to follow him around to remind him to bring a notebook when he meets with a client.  I expected him to look more pulled-together, and that he was hungry for this job.  I didn’t see that in him, and was turned off.

Your body language was a turn-off.  Did you maintain eye contact with the interviewer?  Not in a creepy-staring contest kind of way, but in an honest, sincere, and interested way?  Did you look comfortable?  Were you jumpy and nervous?  Did you talk very quickly?  What was your interviewer’s facial and body language while you were speaking?  Try to be objective about how you were presenting yourself.  You want to learn from each interview, not perpetuate your problems because you refuse to admit what you do wrong.

You just weren’t a good fit for the organization or with the interviewer.  Remember that they need to work with you day in and day out.  If they think that you’ll be irritating—for whatever reason—unfortunately it’s their prerogative to not hire you.  Period. End quote.  It isn’t fair, but better that they eliminate you now, than you get on each other’s nerves after you are hired.   There isn’t anything you can do to improve your chances if it was just a personality-thing, but just hope that you will have a better fit in your next interview.

So why don’t you hear from an interviewer after the in-person interview?  Consider the possible reasons I’ve outlined above and then imagine yourself in the interviewer’s position.  Would you rather have them cite one of the reasons above, or give you a polite but inaccurate reason, or not reply at all?  There isn’t a best answer, but those are the choices most interviewers are faced with.  So send your followup email, but if you don’t hear back from them, just move on with your search and try to improve your performance in your next interview as best you can.