When Bad Interviews Happen to Good Candidates
Going through the motions of a bad interview is like peeling
back the layers of an onion. Sally learned this lesson the hard
way, hands-on during an interview that should have been a piece
of cake. Sally applied for a position that fit her
qualifications perfectly. When she received an invitation to
interview, Sally believed she was a shoo-in for the job.
Feeling confident, she approached the interview in a lax
manner. She didn’t prepare and prematurely celebrated an offer
she was convinced would be extended.
The day of the interview, Sally was surprised by the level of
anxiety she felt. Her apprehension began to build and she began
to prepare for the interview at the last minute. By the time
she arrived at the interview, she was visibly shaken.
learned:The time to
collect your thoughts is prior to an interview, not on your
way to one. If you arrive to an interview bewildered, the
recruiter will take notice and you run a high risk that you
will not get the offer.
The interviewer entered the waiting area and introduced
himself. To ease the tension, he asked a common icebreaker
question, “Did you have trouble finding us?” Sally has never
been a smooth small talker and she answered the question
candidly. She confided that she doesn’t have a good sense of
direction and coupled with the fact that she was anxious, she
passed the building entrance quite a few times. The interviewer
smiled politely and proceeded to walk towards the interview
room. Realizing she goofed, Sally hesitantly followed the
you say and do during an interview is scrutinized; from the
instant you walk in, to the moment you walk out. An innocent
question doesn’t exist during an interview and a careless
misstep is seldom forgotten. Choose your responses
was escorted to the interview room, she was surprised to see
a panel of interviewers. She was only familiar with the
“it’s just you and me, kid” type of the interview – the
the start of the interview, she quickly realized that it was
going to be a challenge to manage that interview.
are unpredictable. One never knows the broad range of topics
that will be covered and the type of formats that may be
presented. Familiarize yourself with all interview
was not ready for the series of questions, Sally tripped
over her answers. She focused on issues that weren’t
relevant and provided little information on what was
pertinent. She began to ramble and appeared under-qualified
for the position.
that she was interviewing poorly, Sally began to lose
patience with the process. She failed to maintain eye
contact and began to fidget. The enthusiasm she felt for the
position and the company slowly diminished as she witnessed
the blank looks on the faces of the panelists. She withdrew
mentally from the interview, and as a result, appeared
interviewers expect candidates to be nervous during an
interview, and they rarely will forgive you if you fail to
demonstrate a sincere interest in working for them. Most
hiring decisions are based on whether the interviewer feels
a connection to you. The failure to establish a bond
immediately is usually beyond repair.
interview Sally realized that the questions she had been
asked were not difficult. She had been overwhelmed by
nervousness and that had clouded her ability to communicate
clearly and to the point effectively.
learned:Even if you
have the “right stuff,” nothing is guaranteed. Don’t get
caught off guard; prepare for interviews; do your homework.