5 Reasons You Aren’t Advancing to the Next Interview

“I’m sorry, but we’ve decided to go in a different direction”.  How many times have you heard this from an employer? This is the textbook dismissal when they want to cut you loose, without giving you a second interview or an explanation why (which is, let’s be honest, about 99% of the time).

In their defense, they can’t tell you why.  For one, you could sue them (reason enough?).  And B, it opens back up a conversation that they simply want to close.  They are moving on with someone else, and don’t want to spend any more energy on you.  There you have it. It’s like when your high school sweetheart broke up with you when she went off to college and you stayed at home. With your parents. And went to Jr. College.  She moved on, and she wasn’t interested in giving you tips for how to be a better, cooler boyfriend to someone else.

But we do (not help you become a better boyfriend – the other part).  We can tell you all of the blunders, gaffes, idiot things both large and small, that candidates do all the time, without even realizing it. 

So here goes, our top 5 reasons why you aren’t getting hired. We truly hope that this helps you elevate your game!

  1. Bad first impression:  Your audience makes split decisions about you, when they find you on LinkedIn.  If you don’t look like the nice, professional person they want to hire, there’s a good chance they won’t give you the chance to prove otherwise.  Pro-tip: Smile. Don’t stand in a shadow. Don’t stand with your drink in hand. Don’t stand with your PC plaque. Or with a fox, or in a box. Just a headshot. No props. Keep it simple.
  2. Social Handles:  Same as above, your audience is evaluating you with incredible scrutiny, before you even have your first live conversation.  We aren’t suggesting you become paranoid about posts from Friday night’s out on the town, but just exercise common sense about the content that is shared, and what conclusions may be drawn.
  3. Recruiter Etiquette (or lack of it):  The recruiters you work with, are trusted advisors to your future boss. Think about that for a second. When you blow them off, you can very likely ruin your chance at an interview. Recruiters hold power. Savvy candidates get this, and leverage their recruiters, earning them VIP privileges (think: first dibs on prime interview slots, coaching on interviewer’s sweet spots and so on).
  4. Failure to Prepare:  Is preparing to fail.  When you go into an interview, whether it’s with a recruiter or a CEO, and you’re not prepared to intelligently discuss the opportunity, you’ve likely blown your chances.  Trying to play it cool like they’re lucky you’re even there, is just dumb.
  5. Follow Through:  You had a great interview.  You felt it couldn’t have gone any better.  You’re waiting for the call back. It never comes.  What happened? What happened, is that the interviewer is waiting to see what kind of follow through you have.  The in-person interview is only ½ of their evaluation. The great interviewers consider the follow through to be the other ½.  If you don’t follow through, or send some generic thank you letter – you’re missing an opportunity to separate yourself from the pack.  

There are so many more, but this list captures the worst we’ve seen.  And trust me, we’ve seen some pretty big foul ups.

If you’ve heard “Sorry, but we’re going in a different direction”, tell us about it below.  What other blind spots am I missing? We want to hear from you!