Troubleshooting Your Job Search After Unsuccessful Interviews

Troubleshooting Your Job Search After Unsuccessful Interviews was originally published on Ivy Exec.

It’s happened again: you made it through the screening interview with a company, then the interview with the hiring panel.

But then you receive a call from the recruiter about the status of the position, and they tell you that “they’ve had a competitive hiring and chose another candidate.” 

Another rejection. This has happened with several other companies: you were invited to interview, but in the end, you didn’t land a job offer.

Sometimes, this endless interview cycle can feel even more disappointing than applying without hearing anything back at all. 

You might also wonder if you’re doing something wrong in your interview that may cause the hiring manager to choose someone else over you.

Here, we’ll talk about some common interviewing missteps that may be the reason you haven’t been able to land a job offer. 

You’re not demonstrating effective interviewing skills.

Sometimes, you may feel that if you’re asked to interview, you have the job in the bag.

Or you could believe that you still have no chance. The first belief will make you overconfident, the second too timid. 

Your perception of yourself and the way you act in an interview is key to making a strong impression. We would suggest consulting with a colleague or coach to identify if you’re exhibiting behavior that may be off-putting to an interviewer. 

“Are you listening? Are you interrupting? Are you too loud, too quiet, too arrogant, too shy? Do you seem enthusiastic about the position, and have you done your research on the organization by the time you show up for the interview?” Workopolis noted.

Your resume and your interview responses don’t match.

Your resume is what helped you land the interview in the first place. So, if something in your interview doesn’t quite line up with that resume, your interviewer might start to wonder. 

Mark Swartz, writing for Monster, calls these “yellow lights.

In other words, incongruencies between your written documents and verbal presentation can be off-putting for recruiters and hiring managers. 

“The first yellow light is when you seem to be much different than your written material. This can occur when your resume or cover letter is written by someone else, without regard to how you speak. Inform the interviewer if they remark on the discrepancy,” he said. 

You should also make sure you’re explaining gaps in your resume or anything that may come across as confusing on your materials.

Even if your interviewer doesn’t ask specifically, be prepared with explanations you can naturally work into the conversation. 

You aren’t focusing on the company culture or connecting with the interviewer.

As much as we might think landing a job offer is about skills and fit, this isn’t the case.

Rather, recruiters and hiring managers want to connect with you on a personal level.

This isn’t just about how friendly you are, either, but rather about deciding if you’re a strong fit for the team. 

“The focus then is on how well the interviewers believe you fit in with the team culture and other aspects of the job. Pay attention to your rapport with the interviewers and the question behind the question,” Larry Boyer, president of Success Rockets LLC, said.

You haven’t sold yourself.

It can be intimidating for a lot of people to feel like they have to “sell” themselves in an interview.

So-called “humble-bragging” is a no-no on social media, but in an interview, the whole point is to talk about yourself. 

So, in your quest to come across as someone who doesn’t toot your own horn, are you instead failing to talk in enough depth about your successes? 

“Have you been glossing over key accomplishments at past jobs to come off as humble? … Study your behavior, and if you find that you’ve been selling your skills short, pledge to change. Otherwise, you’re likely to remain stuck in your current fruitless cycle,” wrote the Glassdoor team.

You haven’t prepared for the interview, even if it’s just an initial screening.

Many candidates invited for interviews just wing them, thinking they will just need to talk about themselves.

Even if you’ve just been called in for a screening interview, this is the wrong tactic.

Instead, you should research both the company and the hiring manager before the interview so you can tailor your responses and ask smart follow-up questions

“Make these questions about the company, the interviewer, or the competition…not about the benefits you may receive! Never-ever ask what the company does, know what the company does,” said career coach Jeffrey S. Ton.

You didn’t move beyond your resume to tell a story.

Similarly, candidates who simply repeat their written materials in the interview are missing an opportunity.

While you want to keep your interview answers consistent with what you’ve written in your resume and cover letter, you also should elaborate on your responses, offering examples or specific situations. 

In other words, what kind of story do you want to tell about yourself? 

“Your skills and qualifications got you in the door. Now, you need to be able to weave this data into a narrative that shows the hiring manager how you’ll use your abilities to solve their problems,” Jen Hubley Luckwaldt wrote for PayScale. 

How to Interview to Land a Job Offer

It can be frustrating to do interview after interview without landing an offer.

But if you’re landing interviews, you can rest assured that your resume and cover letter are in good shape.

Now, it’s time to re-evaluate your interviewing.

Are you too shy, or do you come across as cocky? Are you connecting with the interviewer and “selling” yourself as a candidate? 

If you’re still not sure where you’re going wrong, consider connecting with one of Ivy Exec’s career coaches.

In a mock interview, a coach can help you identify if you’re doing anything wrong or failing to fully “sell” yourself.


By Ivy Exec
Ivy Exec is your dedicated career development resource.