You only get one shot to make a great first impression. Often times, that “one shot” with an employer is at a job interview. It’s a pretty simple formula, right? Prepare for the interview and put your best foot forward and you’re much more likely to land the job.
But it’s not always that easy.
Many of us have left job interviews feeling like a million dollars, certain that we are going to receive a job offer…only to get turned down (or never hear back at all). Sometimes the reasons are out of your control; however, a strong interview is critical to increasing your chances of getting the call.
Look out for these signs your interview isn’t going well
Keeping your eyes and ears open during your job interviews can help you identify trouble and steer clear of it – potentially saving your opportunity at the job. These three signs can most often signal that an interview isn’t going well >>
- No one tries to sell you on the job. Today’s job market is incredibly competitive. Employers know they have to effectively sell you on their opportunity and company as much as you’re selling your skills and background! If you’re doing a solid job highlighting key parts of your background but the interviewer isn’t trying hard in return, it could mean trouble. Not sure what to look for? When interviewers start to take about company culture, growth opportunities, office technology and other job perks, it’s a good sign they’re interested.
- The interviewer doesn’t mention “next steps.” If you’ve ever applied for a job before, you’ve probably heard about “next steps” frequently during interviews. Those next steps could be signaled by anything from salary requirements/history, references or even scheduling follow-up interviews. Some interviewers will give you a timeline to expect follow up >> these are all good signs. If you don’t hear a peep out of your interviewer, it could mean things aren’t going well.
- You’re in and out of the interview quickly. Hiring for the right fit puts a huge burden on interviewers – make the wrong choice and it costs an organization significant time and money. That’s why many job interviews can take 20 to 30 minutes or more. Today’s interviewers are asking more detailed, behavioral questions than ever to gauge things like culture fit, ability to navigate challenging situations and emotional intelligence. Job interviews should rarely (if ever) be quick and easy. If you haven’t been asked any difficult or detailed questions, the interviewer might not be interested.
How to turn around a bad job interview
All’s not lost if you recognize some of the above signs that an interview isn’t going well. Keep these tips in mind to try and turn it around:
- Be upbeat. Nerves can get the best of all of us. If an interviewer picks up on negativity or stress, it could send the wrong message and result in an interview that feels like it’s going downhill. A cheery disposition and genuine enthusiasm for a company and role go a long way toward impressing interviewers. Skills can be taught, enthusiasm and drive cannot – employers know this, so show them that you are excited for the opportunity.
- Ask thoughtful questions. Don’t just wait until the interviewer asks you if you have any questions. This usually comes at the end of the interview and there isn’t much you can do about it at that point. Listen to what the interviewer is saying and explaining, think about questions before you answer them, then ask thoughtful follow up or probing questions yourself. Prepare some questions ahead of time, but also try to think on your feet and ask questions that demonstrate genuine interest and knowledge of the company and role.
- Watch your body language. Nervousness really can make a big impact on the message you convey to interviewers. It’s natural to have some nerves, but be sure you’re overriding them and avoiding body language miscues like slouching, which can convey disinterest. A few other body languages “musts” include the basics like smiling, nodding and making eye contact.
Before you can ace your interview, you have to land one! Here at Helpmates, we work with top employers across Southern California. Search our available jobs or contact your nearest office to take the next step in your career.