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GET HIRED! Actual Feedback From Job Interviews

Updated on June 10, 2012

GET HIRED! Actual Feedback From Job Interviews

I have completed a few previous hubs on job interviews, and seen countless others published on the topic as well. I recommend reading as many as possible, as well as checking out any other online resources you can find. There is a lot of information out there about how to have a successful interview, but not much of it is written from the perspective of a hiring manager.

This week, I have been conducting interviews to fill a position on my team. To ensure that I hired the best applicant, I invited my senior level employees to join the interviews, ask a few questions, and provide some feedback on the candidates.

Below are some of the actual responses that I received after we completed our interviews. This might help give you a good idea of some of the things that go through the mind of a hiring manager as they talk to candidates and assess their background and skills.

“… my concern is that he would feel bored and maybe feel that he is wasting his time…”

“…. he seems brilliant but I think he would be a difficult person to train…”

Perception is everything, regardless of its accuracy. In the first interview above, the young man gave good answers, but he showed no excitement or enthusiasm for the interview or the job. He seemed very distant, established no rapport with his interviewer and gave the perception of being disengaged with the interview. Perhaps he thought that he resume would be enough to convince a hiring manager. It rarely is. Your resume doesn’t get you the job -- it only gets you the interview. Once you get into the interview, you have to convince the interviewer that you are the best person for the job.

The second example offers another look at how perception matters. One of the questions that was asked invited the applicant to share how he best learns new material – by reading a manual, watching someone, trial and error, etc. He stated very unequivocally that he prefers a manual so that he can see the step by step process of everything that he’s doing. Unfortunately for him, our team doesn’t have a manual to give him. Maybe someday we’ll have one written, but for now, we don’t, and since he showed no flexibility in using alternate ways to learn, we gained the perception that he would be difficult for us to train. Two days later, I sent him a notification that he was not being considered for the job.

“… she seemed a little nervous and tentative…”

“… was not impressed, did not seem very confident…”

“… although it may not be obvious from the initial meeting, there must be some decent brain power in there that we could harness..”

The cardinal rule in real estate is Location, Location, Location. In job interviewing, the cardinal rule is Practice, Practice, Practice. It is natural to feel nervous in a job interview. It can be a scary process where you are submitting yourself to be judged by a total stranger. But to be successful, you have to be able to turn nervousness into confidence. And the best way to gain self confidence in your interviewing skills is to practice. Conduct practice interviews with friends and family and solicit honest feedback, or rehearse your answers by yourself in front of the mirror and pay attention to your own body language and non verbal cues. Maintain eye contact and good posture, and speak with confidence.

“… while I thought his resume was impressive, I wasn’t impressed by his interview at all, especially his answer that he often has trouble dealing with people in new situations…”

“… didn’t particularly like his answer that he missed 10 days of class and then wanted a better grade. If you can’t show up for class, I have to question if you can show up for work…”

In the first feedback above, we see the pitfalls of questions like ‘What is your biggest weakness.’ The applicant answered the question, but then he didn’t do anything to alleviate the concerns that arose from the answer. He could have left a very different impression if he had gone on to explain how he is working to improve on his weakness, such as getting involved in new groups at church or in the community or seeking leadership roles in groups which requires him to build better relationships.

The second example, however, has no good way of spinning it into a positive. Clearly, the applicant has an issue with regular attendance. And the entitlement that it shouldn’t be held against him (in affecting his grade), shows that he doesn’t believe that he should have consequences for his actions. I would recommend that he completely scrap that answer for any future interviews. Think hard about what examples you offer in your interview – some things are better left unsaid.

“… not dressed professionally…”

“… typo on resume is instant turn off for me…”

“… a resume with spelling and grammar errors is always a no for me…”

There are a lot of things that you can’t control at a job interview. You can’t control what questions are asked, you can’t control the abrasive personality of your interviewer who has already spoken with ten other candidates and is ready to go home, and you can’t control the fact that ten seconds before he met you in the reception area, your interviewer was just chewed out by his boss and he is now in a foul mood. But are there are a few things that you can control: You can control having a carefully edited resume that has no grammar errors or typos. You can control dressing professionally for an interview and making a good first impression. You can control how you project yourself in a professional and confident manner that will impress the hiring manager.

If you are going to lose a job opportunity because of your interview, make sure it’s because of something that you can’t control.

YOUR THOUGHTS?

Do you have examples of feedback you have received from a job interview?

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