When you think of the term “fail,” no doubt you’re conjuring up images of an applicant failing to coherently respond to the interview questions. Or perhaps your mind runs to more illustrative possibilities—an applicant spilling hot coffee on the interviewer or showing up in their pajamas.
It doesn’t require a grand performance to fail an interview. Rather, many hiring authorities routinely share their dismay regarding how highly qualified professionals (including internal applicants) fail to impress.
But you want to know how to NOT fail your next interview.
So let’s look at this from a reverse lens starting with the three most common ways to fail and interview and how you learn to avoid these pitfalls.
The first, and perhaps the most common of the three, is failing to offer concrete examples of successes. Applicant’s may claim a skill, but often fail to back it up with relevant achievements. For example, take the question “Have you ever had to manage any difficult accounts?” By responding with a simple “yes,” or telling a story about a difficult customer, fails to educate the employer on the successful turnaround and how it resulted from your efforts.
You can avoid this fail by understanding the goal of behavioral interviewing—the trend of interviewing which prompts applicants to give a C.A.R. (Challenge, Action, Result) response. Regardless of the behavioral response acronym, this answering technique is all about walking the interviewer through the process of how a challenge has been met with successful results and how it will be managed in the future. Be prepared for the most common interview questions that should set you up nicely to offer examples of your professional successes.
Secondly, an applicant may fail to succinctly identify their strengths and skills and then fail to demonstrate how these, coupled with their accomplishments, transfer productively into the new position. By simply claiming that you’re a dedicated worker, hardly educates the employer as to how this “skill” would contribute to on-the-job success. Additionally, the statement is subjective, in other words your opinion.
You can avoid this fail by presenting your skills and strengths with fact-based evidence. Start with your skill and/or strength then objectively support this claim by how you successfully utilized it. Then outline how you would implement that skill again in a way that proves that hiring you is a good investment. By finding opportunities throughout the interview to illustrate how your skills and background seamlessly transfer into this new role, ensures a solid understanding of the organizational and position particulars; and more importantly that you’re ready to step into the challenge.
Third, lack of energy is a sure fire way to fail the interview. Showing energy and focus during an interview doesn’t mean offering a happy jig, flamboyant gestures or booming vocals into the dialogue. What it does mean is showing interest and enthusiasm. I’m always amazed at how often an incredibly talented candidate fails to show that they care. They let ego or nerves get in their way and unfortunately, it translates into boredom, arrogance or disinterest. Sure, everyone’s nervous, but that doesn’t mean you should tamper down any excitement about this new possibility.
You can avoid this fail by displaying energy and drive. Let them know you are eager to face new challenges, lead a new team, make an impact and leave a legacy. You can doing this by establishing focus and building a connection. Even if you’ve discerned mid-way through the interview that the position is not right for you, be sure to leave the interviewer with a positive impression. Body language—including good eye contact, a smile and leaning forward from time to time—all demonstrates enthusiasm. Another way is to ask for the job. If you can do it, and you want it, no doubt they will want you too!
Fourth, be prepared. Sounds simple, but please don’t take this chance at success for granted. Prepare great answers to tough interview questions and always look for ways that you can demonstrate how you will add value to their organization. To help you be succinct, positive and professional with all of your interview responses, ask your coach to run you through a few mock interview sessions. Even if you’re at the C-Level, get ego out of the way. You’re never too experienced to prepare.
If you’ve been searching for a complete guide to help you ace your next interview, then grab your copy of Secrets to Interviewing Success here Couple this with coaching, and you’ll establish your fail proof interview plan that will also position you for ongoing opportunities.
How To Be Career Happy? Master Your Fail Proof Interview Stragies