What’s Going Wrong in the Interview?


Andrew writes:
I was curious how familiar you are with the process the HR or recruiting department
goes through prior to making an offer?
Reason is I have left a couple interviews with confidence I would get an offer. After a couple a weeks I received an ambiguous rejection letter. I am in middle management and would transfer as a Director or VP.
What do they check? Should I run a background check of myself based on what you tell me to see if there is anything out there hurting me?


The Career Doctor responds:
There could be any number of reasons why you have not had the success that you thought you would have in these interviews. Here is my list of the things you need to review:

  • Think back to those interviews. First why did you feel so confident? Was it rapport? Was it the answers you gave to the interview questions? Second why were you interviewing with the human resources department and not someone in upper management? Were you getting a courtesy interview or were you being screened for the next round of interviews? Third think back to your body language and other nonverbal cues (such as how you were dressed hand gestures eye contact etc.) — were you sending the right message?
  • Did you do any kind of follow-up after the interviews? Did you send thank-you notes/letters to all those who interviewed you? Did you call the people who interviewed you and ask them about the next step in the process? Were you proactive or reactive in your approach?
  • Do you have something in your background that could hurt you? How are your references? Do you have bad credit or other personal problems? (There are places that run background checks for you and give you the results — for a fee.)

Without knowing more about your situation my guess is that you failed to be proactive and follow-up with these companies/positions. In job-hunting you cannot wait for things to happen to you — you need to be aggressively pursuing the job/career opportunities that interest you. But there could be other issues that you need to address so please spend some time reviewing my list of things you need to review and make sure you are doing all that you can do to get that new job.
You may also want to read our article Job Interview Post-Mortem: Deconstructing Your Job Interview’s Highs and Lows.