In a job market where virtually every opening receives dozens – or hundreds – of applicants, it can be difficult to be the ONE who makes it to the finish line and receives an offer. In fact, it can be very difficult to even be selected for an interview.
However, if you have been getting a number of interviews at a variety of companies, and still have not received an offer, it would probably be a good idea to figure out what’s been going wrong.
- It may simply be that in each case there have been better technically qualified applicants that you’ve been competing against.
- You may have been pursuing the wrong kinds of jobs, that aren’t necessarily a good fit for your background.
- You might have been interviewing at companies that weren’t a good culture fit for your personality.
- You may not be projecting the professionalism they would expect!
When a hiring manager considers an applicant, he or she is not only looking for specific experience and skills, but rather, looking for “the whole package.”
The whole package is someone who can not only do the job, but who will also:
- represent the department (and the employer) well
- work well with others in the organization
- help raise morale rather than bring it down
- be responsive to others
- communicate effectively
All of these things, and more, are components of professionalism.
Particularly in a job market where there are many available candidates, it’s usually not difficult for a company to find people who can simply do the job. It’s all of these other factors (above) that determine which candidate is hired. [See How Employers Judge Professionalism for more.]
Evaluating Your Impact
So take an honest look at yourself! If you’ve had a number of interviews but no offers… is it possible that you’re not presenting the most professional package?
Ask yourself some questions. Be honest, and look at yourself as an employer might see you.
- Do you make a good first impression?
Are you dressed appropriately, and neatly? Do you greet them with a smile? Do you offer a confident handshake?
- How well do you interview?
Are you well prepared, or do you fumble for answers? Are your answers direct and concise, or do you ramble? Do you engage them in a 2-way give and take, or do you simply answer their questions and wait? Do you have relevant questions for them? Do you appear attentive, or never engage them in eye contact? Do you project optimism, curiosity, and make an impression that you’re coachable, or do you seem set in your ways? [See Preparing for Job Interview Success for more.]
- How’s your follow up?
After an interview, do you send a professional Thank You email or card, or send nothing? Are you pleasantly persistent in continuing to pursue next steps, or do you simply wait, or do you press too hard to the point of being annoying? Do you project an interest in the work, or in simply getting a job? [See Avoid Common Follow-Up Mistakes for more.]
In each of these areas, consider the impression you make to an employer that is likely seeing many candidates… some of whom will be prepared and exude a great deal of professionalism. How do you compare?
Before your next interview, take the time to press your clothes, practice your greeting, and your handshake. Prepare and practice your interview answers, your demeanor, and your questions. Check your attitude and determine to be upbeat, direct. You may find that taking a look yourself from the employers point of view, and preparing better will make all the difference in the world!
About the author…
Harry Urschel has over 25 years experience as an independent recruiter in Minnesota. He currently operates as e-Executives, writes a blog for Job Seekers called The Wise Job Search, and can be found on Twitter as @HarryUrschel and on LinkedIn.