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7 Reasons You Bombed Your Last Interview

7 Reasons You Bombed Your Last Interview

Everyone knows the feeling: You walked into an interview thinking This is it, I’m gonna wow ’em. The process went pretty much as you expected, and you were told you’d be getting a call in the near future if they think you’re right for the job. Days go by. Then weeks. Then you click over to the company’s Twitter page, only to be crushed to see a recent tweet about how happy they are to be welcoming so-and-so on board — in the position you had interviewed for.

What could possibly have gone wrong? Well, when you think about it, there are so many possible ways for things to go wrong during an interview. Don’t be discouraged and don’t give up. Just give it some thought — do any of the following gaffes apply to your interview?

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1. You were a poor cultural fit

You may be incredibly skilled, with all the qualifications listed for a position, and still not get a call back. Think about the people you interviewed with, what the typical clientele would be, and how you may or may not fit in with the overall culture of the company. It may not be anything personal, but if you’re not part of a company’s target demographic, you probably wouldn’t be able to relate to your colleagues and customers well enough to be productive. Do yourself a favor and read up on what a company is all about before you apply for a position.

2. You were overzealous

You definitely want to come off as excited when stepping into an office for an initial interview, but you don’t want to be so excited that you cut your interviewer off, trip over your words, and speak without thinking. You might really be a master at your craft, knowing exactly what the interviewer will ask and how you will respond. But, you need to take a breath, internalize the question, and craft your answer before blurting out the first thing that comes to mind. Doing so will show your interviewer that you’re calm and collected under pressure, that you are able to step back and analyze a problem before jumping into a solution.

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3. You came off as needy

Think of that “Overly Attached Girlfriend” meme. Just as being incredibly needy in a relationship is a good way to send the other person running, coming off as if you absolutely need a job is a huge turnoff for an interviewer. You should do your best to play hard to get when coming in for an interview. If you act as if this interview is the first one you’ve been on in months, that throws up a red flag to your potential employer. On the other hand, if you act like you have five other interviews lined up in the next week, that shows you’re incredibly marketable, and would be a valuable asset to any company.

4. You need training

Most jobs require at least a short time period in which you’ll shadow a veteran to learn the ropes. But, if you walk into an interview saying “I’ve used Microsoft Word in college, but never had much use for Excel,” you might as well end the interview right there — these are basics that you should already be proficient with. The training you do need should be specific to that company. For example, being trained to use their intranet system or a program that’s not used outside of that specific industry. You shouldn’t need to be taught the basic functions of your position. Regardless of how much of a “quick-learner” you claim to be, there’s somebody else interviewing that already knows how to do the job, and they’ll be the ones moving on.

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5. You suffer from “What’s in it for me?” syndrome

This may be a hard pill to swallow, but nobody in this world owes you anything unless you have something you can give back to them. Just because you graduated from a prestigious university doesn’t mean you should expect to be hired onto a company in any position higher than entry-level. The fact that you hold a bachelor’s degree simply shows you have the intelligence and drive to be a success. You’ll still have to prove yourself. The biggest mistake you can make is walking into an interview thinking you already have the job locked up with a lofty salary and two weeks of paid vacation. You have to earn it.

6. You weren’t the best candidate

There are seven billion people in this world. Unless you hold a World Record, you simply are not the most talented person in the world at what you do. This isn’t meant to be a slant against your abilities, it’s meant to bring you back down to Earth. But don’t be disheartened by it, either. You don’t know the conversation that went on behind closed doors. They might have narrowed it down to you and one other individual, and the decision came down to a coin flip — I would hope that this isn’t how major business decisions are made, but I can certainly imagine it happening. The best you can do is keep in touch with the company to make sure you stay on their radar the next time a similar position opens up.

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7. The job wasn’t right for you

Think about it: If the people you interviewed with didn’t want to hire you, would you really want to work there anyway? If they didn’t think you were a good fit for the position or the company, there’s no reason to think you’d be happy if they took a chance on you. Don’t give up hope and stop applying elsewhere. Use what you learned from the interviews that didn’t pan out to improve for the next ones. I know jobs are scarce nowadays, but if you persevere and keep looking, you’ll find the one that’s right for you eventually.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm5.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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