"I’m Not Getting a Second Interview! Why?" - 07/06/22 Edition
Stephen Says Column

Dear Stephen,

I keep going on interviews for positions and not landing the job. I don’t want to pretend that I don’t have an idea of what I’m doing wrong, because after being rejected so many times I reach out to the hiring manager, or the recruiter in some cases, and the feedback is pretty consistent. I’m told I’m not getting past the first or second interview because I haven’t “done enough homework” or asked enough questions about the position. If I don’t have any questions, what am I supposed to do – just make them up.
Typically, I look at a company’s website and I’ll look at the LinkedIn profiles of the individuals whom I’m dealing with. What in the world are companies expecting today from candidates? I always come prepared to the interview and have more than enough to talk about. But something just isn’t working – I’m starting to feel like maybe I’m just no good with first impressions.

I’m frustrated because I do want to change jobs, and I feel like I’m doing all the right things but clearly, I’m not. What are your tips for acing a job interview and asking the right questions?

Dog Ate My Homework

Dear Homework,

Preparing for a job interview these days is much more complicated than reading a company’s website and viewing the LinkedIn profile of the people you’re going to interview with. These are important steps but it’s much more than that. If you really want the job, be sure you have a written copy of the job description in hand at the interview. If you’re interviewing in person, my clients tell me that they are always impressed when candidates bring that job description with them and have it marked up. Highlight areas where you may have questions – it’s a visual aid that hiring managers love to see! And when they answer your questions, let them see you take notes – write down their comments and answers. Again this “shows” you giving the impression of being interested.

When you’re viewing the LinkedIn profile of the individual you’ll be interviewing with, go beyond their current professional experience to see where they’ve worked in the past and even where they went to college. Many times, having a school or previous employer or industry, or even a college in common is an important bond. When it comes to studying the website, really read everything about it. Decide what you like about the website in advance, and share that with the hiring authority. Even “Google” the company to see if there is a new product or hire announcement or there is something “in the news” you should know about.

No guess what? If you genuinely have absolutely no questions about the job you’re interviewing for, chances are it’s not the right job for you! That’s because, when a job is a good match for you, the questions should come to you organically – just as you’re thinking about your future workday, new career and how you can make contributions to the company. Don’t think about it like they’re just “questions” but rather a genuine conversation based on your enthusiasm for the job!  If those questions or conversation are not perking away, it’s okay if it’s not the right job for you, don’t force your interest. 

There are other tips that may not have to do with “homework” for the interview: are you making eye contact with the person you’re interviewing with? Did you bring a list of written questions? Do you look interested? Are you sharing a little bit about the personal you? Remember, people like to hire people that they like and can relate to, not just credentials. Share who you are - without oversharing. Oh! And For Goodness Sake, don’t forget what you look like. Appearance is very important. Dress appropriate to the company and the position. Look like you want the job. Make sure your phone will not make any sounds during the interview and DO NOT take it out of your purse or pocket - it is extremely rude to even glance at your phone in the middle of an interview - unless you need it to answer the interviewer’s questions.  
When you take an interview for granted because you’ve done a lot of interviewing and feel like you have it “down,” chances are you’re going to do terrible. Approach every interview like it’s the first time you’ve ever interviewed, and you want to do your very best. If you approach each interview with a fresh enthusiasm and follow these tips you will do great, I guarantee it.