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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

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Published on January 7, 2021

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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  1. Respect deadlines
  2. Understand the work-flow plan
  3. Build in time to mess up

1. Respect Deadlines

Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

3. Build in Time to Mess Up

You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

1. Learn to Listen Well

You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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3. Follow Rules

Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

4. Take Notes

Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

9. Minimize Distractions

It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

10. Take Breaks

It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

11. Make Time for Reflection

At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

Final Thoughts

Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

Reference

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