Not getting past the interview phase is a bummer. You might find yourself wondering, "Why do interviewers like my resume enough to call me in for an interview, but don't like me enough to give me the job?" Bad as it feels, try not to focus on the rejection. Seize the opportunity to hone your interview skills and polish your presentation. In the meantime, think of all those interviews as practice for your dream job.
Assess the Issue
Think back over your interviews to try and figure out what’s gone wrong. Maybe you tend to be nervous and avoid eye contact, or perhaps you don’t do enough research beforehand and so your answers aren’t specific enough to the company’s needs. Be as self-critical as possible to find out why you can’t make it past the interview phase. If you can’t come up with anything, consider calling a few of your old interviewers and ask for performance feedback. It might hurt your ego, but their advice could help make you a stronger candidate in the long run.
Participate in mock interviews with mentors and other trusted professionals to get some honest answers about your interview skills. If you don’t know anyone who can help, seek help through professional courses offered at community colleges, or join a job recruiting agency that will help prepare you. During your mock interview, go the whole nine yards -- dress the part, bring a copy of your resume, and conduct yourself as if you were interviewing with a real company.
Do Your Homework
The next time you go on a real interview, know your stuff. Research the position you’re applying for to gain an understanding of what your role would be within the company if you get hired. Learn all about the industry, including commonly used terms and concepts. For example, if you’re interviewing to teach an after school program, find out the approximate standardized test scores, cultural demographics and income level of the students you’ll be teaching. Find out the school’s teaching philosophy, as well as its track record with student improvement; hone in on the strengths and weaknesses of the school's approach. For each interview, know the company’s specific needs and walk in knowing how you’ll meet those needs.
Prepare Your Answers
For a successful interview, you should have a well-thought-out answer prepared for the following question: Why do you want to work for this company? Tip:The answer should relate to what you like about the company and what you can bring to the table -- not the paycheck size. Other common interview questions include, “What would your former employer say about you?” “What are your greatest strengths/ weaknesses?” “How do you handle conflict?” and “What is your leadership style?”
Always ask questions at the end of your interview, to show you’re really interested in the position (and aren’t just going through the motions). Examples include: What do you like about this job? What are some of the challenges of working for this company? Do you promote from within? How do you think I would fit in here? What would a typical workday consist of?
Email a thank-you note right after the interview, to show appreciation for the opportunity. Not only will the note keep you fresh in the interviewer’s mind, but it will also give you a chance to reiterate why you’re the best woman for the job.
Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.