The interview went well. You confidently answered all of their questions. You dressed to the nines and brought extra copies of your resume. And yet…they didn’t hire you.
Why not? How is that possible? I did everything right!
As a recruiter, day in and day out, I work with strong, sharp, and very well-suited individuals. They’re perfect on paper, present themselves well in an professional setting and heck, from afar, they could be considered one of those purple squirrel unicorn things. But whether they are currently employed or actively looking, they can’t seem to make it past the first or second interview.
This weird intangible barrier to employment – what could it be?
Well, I’ll tell you what it is: You didn’t care enough.
“But Devan, of course I care. I took time out of my day to interview.”
Let me rephrase then: They couldn’t TELL that you cared.
This is what’s happening: The hiring manager(s) go through tens, maybe hundreds of resumes. After a while, like college applications, all of the qualifications and experience start to blend together and the only thing left to separate candidates are the soft skills and personality traits. Imagine, they pull out YOUR resume and find great joy in your background and alignment with their company and mission. They set up an interview, bring you in, only to find a neutral to sub-par interest in the position. A lackadaisical attitude. The “I’m passively looking” or “I’m interviewing other places” mentality.
It’s like…you’re on a first date, right? You go out to dinner and half way through, they tell you how they’re seeing other people and this is just another date for them. Yah, ok, that definitely could be true but you don’t say that to them! And if you do, you’ll probably find yourself eating dessert alone.
Whenever you interview, you have to articulate very clearly your interest in working with them, almost to a literal sense. Companies want people that WANT to be there, not just another stepping stone in their career. If it’s evident that you aren’t engaged in the interview or truly interested in the position, the team will feel sense that almost immediately. It’s important to share not only your excitement about the role itself, but being a part of the company’s mission and long-term goals.
This post comes from daily experience with this phenomenon. It’s insane the countless phone calls and emails we get from hiring managers sharing “We really liked John’s experience but we didn’t feel a lot of passion or interest in working with us.” or to some effect.
UGH. REALLY?? That purple squirrel unicorn was perfect on paper though…
Moral of the story?
When interviewing for a job, whether it’s the first phone call or final in-person, maintain a high level of passion, excitement, and interest in the position AND company. And if you’re not “into” the opportunity during any point of the interview process, it’s OK to not continue forward.
Now go out there and nail that interview!