Why Did I Fail the Job Interview?
It happens to all of us. Try to see it as a learning experience and an opportunity to find out how you can improve yourself and your interview skills. Sure, you made plans and hopes, but you mustn't lose the big picture. It doesn't mean that you are not good enough. It means only that something went wrong during the interview. So let's find out what was it.
Were you late?
A job interview is like a train. If you are late, you can say goodbye to it. You might get lucky and be still in the game but try to arrive in time next time.
Is your CV a reflection of who you are?
I know, writing a CV and especially writing a cover letter to each and every job you apply for can be a pain in the neck. But whether you get the job or even whether you are invited to the interview depends mostly on your CV and cover letter. Make sure you highlight in them all your relevant experiences and qualifications, but never exaggerate. If the candidates are required to speak a foreign language don't say you are fluent German speaker unless you really are.
Are you qualified for the job?
To stick to the previous example, if you are not qualified for the job you'd better not apply for it. It can be a good experience but most probably you won't get hired. It is a somewhat different scenario if you are overqualified. The recruiter may think that this job is only a stepping stone for you and that you will look for a more suitable job sooner or later. Unfortunately, more often than not, the result will be the same: you will be rejected.
What impression did you make? Would you hire yourself?
Did you seem insecure and unapproachable? Did your attire, answers and questions suggest that you didn't do any research and preparation for the interview in question? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, than you could do with a little bit of practice. First of all, researching the hiring company and reading carefully the requirements of the vacant position is considered to be a must. You are supposed to want the job only if you feel absolutely sure that your place is within their team. Don't take for granted that your experience will be enough. Think ahead and prepare your answers to the most common interview questions. It will help you to stay relaxed and create the impression of a competent applicant. Finally, practice. Practice in front of a mirror or with the help of a friend. It will help you to boost your confidence as well.
Were you enthusiastic enough?
It is a stressful situation and you have to concentrate on so many details to shine, so try to have a good night sleep before the interview. If you are tired, it's very hard to express your enthusiasm. Be calm and collected by all means, but never fail to show how interested you are in this job. The recruiter will more likely chose you, if he is convinced you think of this job as a beginning of your career rather than just a way to earn your living.
Did you jump on the salary negotiations too soon?
This issue is related to the previous question. Even if you are perfect for the job, the interviewer will have second thoughts, if he thinks that this job is only a paid work for you. To avoid creating the image that you are interested only in getting a job... any job, let the recruiter start the money talk.
Are you willing to relocate or work overtime?
If the job is in another city and you were reluctant to say 'I wouldn't mind relocating' than you can kiss goodbye to this job. But if you wouldn't want to work in another city anyway, the rejection won't be such a heavy blow. If the working time is flexible, you can count on being asked whether you are willing to work overtime when needed. Make up your mind beforehand to avoid long silences. But keep in mind: whatever job you get, you'll have to work hard and sometimes overtime to prove your commitment (especially in the first few months).
Everything seemed to go according to your plans?
No matter how much experience you have and how good you are at giving great first impression, there always might be a candidate who is more qualified or better at selling himself or herself. So if you think you did your best then don't start doubting yourself. To have an objective feedback you can also make the recruiter aware during the interview or in your thank you letter that you welcome any feedback. It will imply that you strive to be the best and/or improve in whatever you do.
Regardless of how well or bad you performed, don't despair, it was just one interview. Draw your conclusions, learn from your mistakes, polish your skills and move on. There will always be new opportunities.