Many job interviews, no job offers

Monday, March 15th, 2010 - Blog, Job Interview, Job Interview Questions

Many job interviews, no job offers

Mary asks: I am a teacher, and am having no luck in landing a job. I am getting a good ratio of job interviews, but in 10 so far have not been offered one job. What am I doing wrong, what could I do to improve my performance?

In answer:
Firstly, congratulations. Getting interviews in this economy is tough, and it means you have past the first three tests of getting a job:

  1. Knowing yourself
  2. Finding and applying for the right jobs
  3. Getting through the telephone interview

There is a different measure in success in job interviews, in that after three you should be hitting job offers. But I am guessing that you have attended more than three interviews, and hence the concern.

Job Interview

The problem normally is nerves related, with too many leading to over verbalisation. Candidates tend to speak too much, and about that situation, not relating it eventually to the job on offer.

Like any conversation, an interview is a two way process: you are not expected to do 90% of the talking. When any question is posed, make sure you understand the question and its objective: always seek clarification “did you mean, what are you trying to find out” etc. Speak with gaps between your sentences/key points, allowing the interviewer to ask points of clarification. Never speak, unless you are presenting, for more than a minute, two minutes absolutely maximum. Try also to make three points in piece of speech – certainly no more than five. And finally, always come back to closing the circle, by showing how that experience relates to answering that question.

All of these tactics break down the conversation allowing the interviewer to seek clarification, and direct the interview. The fact you can then pick up the though train after allowing intervention shows to the interviewer that the claimed experience os real and strong.

One point as a trained interviewer I am always told to mark down on, is candidates who have done little research on the organisation I am employing for, and secondly have no questions of their own about the organisation/position. You need to have done and show your research (place it on the table when you first go it), and have at least 10 questions about the organisation/position that couldn’t be answered by reading their own literature/website. You want to be able to ask three questions at the end of an interview, and a few will be answered through the process, so 10 is always the number I recommend.

Job Interview questions and answers

My tips points Job Interview questions and answers:

  • Keep answers to the point, say what you need to cover it. Initially, you shouldn’t speak for more than one minute in any answer. If you find yourself going over that then think hard about why – and don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer if they need more detail.
  • Be honest. If you don’t know something or haven’t got a specific example of something then say so, don’t try to make it up!
  • Answer the question as asked. Don’t do the politician trick of answering a different question you wish had been asked.
  • Always always always have a good set of questions to ask about the job & company – too many people prepare one, so if it’s already been covered they have nothing.
  • Find out as much as you can about the company beforehand. In these days of the web there’s no excuse not to know.
  • Take a small but effective portfolio in with you, papers that you can produce to prove and illustrate major achievements. Rarely will you have to show one in detail, but just opening it to show you’ve got these ready is a big demonstration of professionalism.

Job interview tips

If you can afford it, get a professional to do mock interviews with you and give feedback. Many finds major gaps, improvements or tweaks to make themselves better. If you can’t afford this what about a friend who does recruitment and is willing to do this for you – anything they can suggest might be the one thing that makes a difference.

One last point: if you do get rejected, always phone in for feedback. Make it clear when you make the call that you know the job has gone to someone else, but that you would like feedback on how you could improve your job interview performance could be improved. You will hence always improve your job interview performance, and possibly even get that job: 1 in 10 successful job seekers are not at the organisation that employed them 30days after starting there, and the first candidates you always seek as an alternate are the ones who showed greatest interest.

Good Luck!


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