The Fatal Job Interview Mistake You Won’t Realize You’re Making
Everywhere you look you see articles warning job-seekers about mistakes they can make on a job interview, like saying the wrong thing or giving an incomplete answer to a question.
It’s easy to become so fearful of doing or saying the wrong thing at a job interview that you lose track of the bigger picture.
Here’s the brutal truth: the biggest danger you face at a job interview is the danger of being forgotten altogether!
I was a corporate HR leader for ages. I used to walk around the building and ask the department managers “How did your interview with Melissa [or Xiao, Charles or Mohammed] go yesterday?”
Often they would say “It was fantastic! Melissa really understands e-commerce. I want to get her back in here as soon as possible to meet our VP.”
However, many other times a department manager would say “What?”
ME: Your interview with Melissa — how did it go?
MANAGER: Who, now?
ME: Melissa Sanchez — about thirty years old, my height, curly black hair — she had a green jacket on. She works at Acme Explosives. You don’t remember her?
MANAGER: Honestly, I don’t.
ME: You met with her for an hour yesterday. Carla from HR brought Melissa to your office. Carla said you told her that your brother broke his arm playing basketball. Is he okay?
MANAGER: He’s fine — just a little sore. I remember the conversation with Carla.
ME: Well, Melissa was standing right next to Carla when you had that conversation.
MANAGER: Oh, yeah, that’s right! Honestly, Melissa left almost no impression on me. Now I remember — green jacket. She sat there. Maybe she was nervous. She gave me three-word answers. I couldn’t get anything out of her.
ME: Oh, what a shame! Melissa and I had such a great conversation last week. She was energized and bubbly and full of ideas then.
MANAGER: Well, I didn’t scare her intentionally! You always get people to talk.
ME: Listen, we have way more intimidating managers than you around here. It’s okay. I’ll let Melissa know.
After a conversation like that I would have to call Melissa and explain that while it didn’t look like there was a great match between her and the position she had interviewed for, we might have other positions coming up that would be a better fit.
I would also coach Melissa to ask a few friends to help her practice her interviewing skills so that she would come out of her shell a bit more in future interviews.
A lot of people have the same problem Melissa had. They disappear into the chair in a job interview. They think their assignment at a job interview is to answer the interviewer’s questions “correctly.”
There is no correct answer to a job interview question! Even if an interviewer scowls at your answer, that doesn’t mean anything. They may change their mind overnight as they think about the soundness of your reasoning.
Your assignment at a job interview is not to please anyone, but to show your brain working. In the best case, you’ll get to see your interviewer’s brain working, too!
Way too many smart and capable people miss out on great job opportunities because they try so hard to play the part of the Good Little Sheepie Job Seeker. That approach will not help you, but will hurt you instead!
Not everybody will resonate with your personality, but so what? You wouldn’t want to work for someone who doesn’t get you, anyway.
Bring your full personality, your humor, your amazing story and your mojo to a job interview, every time!
Why play the part of a person who isn’t you? The real you is a million times cooler, and won’t be forgotten the way poor Melissa was!
Want to learn how to interview like a real person, and get the job? Join Liz Ryan and Molly Campbell in a FREE Webinar, “Get the Job Every Time — Interview Secrets That Work” on July 27th! Register at the link below!