Being human, we all make mistakes. In a job search, unfortunately, we will make mistakes. I once mailed a letter to a CFO and had the wrong name in the letter! We all do it at some point. Go ahead and get it out of your system and make the mistakes, then the key is to learn from them. I only made that mistake once!
You only have to be 10 minutes late for your interview or have bad grammar or spelling errors in your resume to learn you will never do that again. We become quick learners when those mistakes occur. The more common mistakes we all make come when meeting with a recruiter, a phone interview, an in-person interview, follow-up correspondence, a cover letter and much more.
Chances are, and you need to know everyone makes them, it comes down to mistakes we make with personal interaction related to an interview. Here is the good and bad news at the same time: since every person is different, every interview is different. The bad news is no 2 people are alike and therefore it is difficult to know exactly what the hiring manager really is looking for in a candidate. The good news is when you don’t receive a call back, you get to have a fresh attempt with someone new.
There is a tendency to believe if we can just get the interview we will land the job. But too often the interview is where most people struggle. Somehow we believe that we can walk in and ace the interview almost automatically. Sure we prepare, but we still believe we can perform extremely well the first time and every time.
Yet, conducting a successful job search uses the same mindset and perspective as when attempting to achieve any new goal. Whether climbing a mountain, learning a new skill or your first attempt at bowling, no one gets it right the first time. I have had my share of mistakes through the job search process. In fact I feel like I have made most all of the ones you can make. There was one company where I had always wanted to work, and on interviewed with them on two separate occasions. Neither time was good. On one occasion the interview with the HR person lasted no more than 15 minutes – I knew something was wrong then! This particular company had a very unique culture, and on my second attempt the position I was interviewing for was a step up for me. I ended up being intimidated by both scenarios and hence did not do well.
After the pain of many interviews I learned the value and importance of understanding the mindset of people and human behavior. This understanding helped me transform my job search although it took some practice.
Don’t get down on yourself because you didn’t get a call back on an interview, especially in hindsight if you can determine what you should have said or what you probably should not have said. Share your answers with someone and get their reaction. The key is to learn from the process and not be angry or disheartened. Once I truly factored into my interview process that every person is different, I learned the keys to on how to connect with each person, especially the hiring manager.
A job interview – talking with someone, especially in person is just as much of an art as it is a science. Even if done via Skype, there is still a personal connection to be made. Having great answers to 100 questions is important, but unless you understand the “art” of the process, it will be a challenge to personally connect with the hiring manager. One of the keys I learned was that I stopped trying to be someone I wasn’t. Instead, once I understood that there was much value in just being me, I was much more relaxed, confident and able to convey my expertise and skill set in a convincing manner.
While everyone is focused on key words in their resume and profile, keep spending more time focused on the key words you use in your interview and the key words you hear from the hiring manager. Learning how to listen and learning to interpret what you hear, including reading body language as you probably are discovering, are essential to a successful interview.
View each interview as an opportunity to learn and grow and you will land that job offer because you have become a great candidate. When you become poised and confident in the interview gained from your mistakes in previous interviews you will quickly become the perfect fit for the job.
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