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    • gonthemicrobe
    • By gonthemicrobe 18th May 17, 4:34 PM
    • 47Posts
    • 26Thanks
    Can't get Through Interviews
    • #1
    • 18th May 17, 4:34 PM
    Can't get Through Interviews 18th May 17 at 4:34 PM
    Hi all

    I've been applying to quite a few jobs in my field lately and have not a bad strike rate of getting interviews, but I just can't seem to convert them into hires.

    There's no exaggerations on my CV, I do my research, always have my own questions for the interviewers and often get a chatty rapport going, but have been for 5 interviews in the past year and have succeeded in none of them. I've also bombed a couple of phone interviews (and truth be told have never passed a phone interview in my life)

    On the rare occasion I get feedback it's usually positive (came across well, good candidate but someone else had the edge etc) but this just feels like standard fobbing off.

    Anyone else had this problem? Is it just a numbers game?

    For a bit more context I'm currently employed in the same field I'm applying to and it tends to be one that gets loads of applicants per position. Looking back across my career over the 4 - 5 years I've been in this industry I'd say I've attended around 20-25 interviews and only succeeded in getting 3 job offers.

Page 1
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 18th May 17, 4:54 PM
    • 15,118 Posts
    • 14,796 Thanks
    • #2
    • 18th May 17, 4:54 PM
    • #2
    • 18th May 17, 4:54 PM
    Yes its a numbers game, but also if others have the 'edge' it could be because they are doing continuous development outside of work and / or qualifications.
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 18th May 17, 5:41 PM
    • 2,680 Posts
    • 4,342 Thanks
    • #3
    • 18th May 17, 5:41 PM
    • #3
    • 18th May 17, 5:41 PM
    Do you know anyone who could give you a mock interview and honest feedback? Maybe a friend/relative in a senior position (doesn't have to be in your field).

    When I did this, it turned out my body language made me look a bit feeble and indecisive, even though my answers were good. It was a revelation - and I aced the next interview I had.
    • IAmWales
    • By IAmWales 18th May 17, 5:55 PM
    • 1,860 Posts
    • 3,925 Thanks
    • #4
    • 18th May 17, 5:55 PM
    • #4
    • 18th May 17, 5:55 PM
    A good handshake (not weak, but not Trump grabby) makes a positive impression. Also little things like standing if someone enters the room. Very subtle but if you can get down to the final two that first impression could swing it for you.

    What type of interview are they - competency, technical, cv based? Also have you had three jobs in the past four years? If so, that will be a negative to new employers, but one that you will overcome with time and commitment.
    • gonthemicrobe
    • By gonthemicrobe 19th May 17, 6:54 PM
    • 47 Posts
    • 26 Thanks
    • #5
    • 19th May 17, 6:54 PM
    • #5
    • 19th May 17, 6:54 PM
    Thanks for the replies...

    Not had 3 jobs in 4 years only 2, but I was offered 2 jobs at the same time and had to decline one of them.

    In terms of body language that might be the problem, though I wouldn't think I come across as feeble because in general I don't get all that nervous. I'll look into that one though!

    Interviews have been a mix really, it's the competency questions that trip me up as you often have to give detailed answers to vague questions like "How do you handle working in a team" etc!
    • Fireflyaway
    • By Fireflyaway 19th May 17, 7:18 PM
    • 1,734 Posts
    • 1,884 Thanks
    • #6
    • 19th May 17, 7:18 PM
    • #6
    • 19th May 17, 7:18 PM
    I'm similar. 3 interviews and nothing so far, but when I used to apply 15 or more years back I was always offered on the 1st or 2nd go so I think it is harder today.
    I know interviewers make an opinion in the first minute or so. I've seen some interesting clips on this. If you are fat or have scruffy shoes you are more likely to be overlooked. Woman who wear too much makeup or revealing clothes can do well if its a man on the panel and worse if its a woman. A man without a tie or someone with lots of tattoos or piercings might struggle. Stupid but true!
    It might be none of this though. You might be more reserved and not 'selling' yourself enough. I hate it because I don't want to sound boastful but if the next person is confident and tells them that one different thing that you didn't, you could lose out. I know of some companies that don't hire woman of childbearing age and another that only wants staff under 40! They are finding anyway to get rid of over 40's! Nobody would admit it of course but it happens. Try to stay positive its unlikely to be anything personal.
    • barbarawright
    • By barbarawright 19th May 17, 10:06 PM
    • 1,712 Posts
    • 3,258 Thanks
    • #7
    • 19th May 17, 10:06 PM
    • #7
    • 19th May 17, 10:06 PM
    Practise is really important. You need your anecdotes illustrating what problems you've overcome or how you've approached change to be really polished and to end confidently rather than trailing off into silence. Also, an example from outside work might make you stand out rather than just stories about how you rearranged the office filing system or whatever. Are there any interview practise courses you can go on, even if you have to pay?
    • abernathy
    • By abernathy 20th May 17, 6:00 AM
    • 14 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    • #8
    • 20th May 17, 6:00 AM
    • #8
    • 20th May 17, 6:00 AM
    I have been invited to 6 interviews in my life and have been offered every single job. My advice..
    • Find a list of typical interview questions beforehand and think of an answer in preparation.
    • If being interviewed by more than one more person, direct your eye contact AND your answer to both/all (changing mid-sentence), regardless of who asked the question - you want to leave an equally positive impact with every person interviewing you.
    • It's better to overdress than underdress - always wear a suit/formal interviewing clothing.
    • Firm handshake, always engage with every person on an interview panel not just one person.
    • Be confident, plenty of eye contact, sit up straight, don't do anything weird.
    • You have to make the interviewer believe you are almost too good for the job. Provide plenty of anecdotal examples.
    • When answering questions, explain how YOU can BENEFIT the company - what you can offer that will be useful and/or unique.
    • When leaving, always thank them for THEIR time.
    • Bring along your C.V, covering letter and any relevant training certificates/qualifications in a presentable folder.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by abernathy; 20-05-2017 at 6:03 AM.
    • Fireflyaway
    • By Fireflyaway 20th May 17, 7:40 AM
    • 1,734 Posts
    • 1,884 Thanks
    • #9
    • 20th May 17, 7:40 AM
    • #9
    • 20th May 17, 7:40 AM
    Reading the other posts has reminded me to have anecdotes up your sleeve. Anyone can give generic answers so giving an example to prove you have experienced x is important. My last interview was made up entirely of ' tell us about a time when you did x' .To be honest it was hard to recall good examples under pressure. Also I've decided to keep a little log. Each time I encounter something new or achieve or conquer something noteworthy, I will jot it down to use in interviews!
    Abernathy you have a very impressive record. Could you go in disguise on my behalf?!
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 20th May 17, 6:05 PM
    • 2,680 Posts
    • 4,342 Thanks
    And in the meantime, look back over all your previous interview questions, and think about what you wish you'd said. And write it down. Most interviews run along similar lines, particularly if they are for similar jobs, so over time you will build up a library of fab answers to all the common questions.
    • marlot
    • By marlot 20th May 17, 6:17 PM
    • 3,417 Posts
    • 2,537 Thanks
    • When answering questions, explain how YOU can BENEFIT the company - what you can offer that will be useful and/or unique.

    Originally posted by abernathy
    Some excellent tips there. This one is particularly important. The STAR technique can be helpful.
    • Planet Switzerland
    • By Planet Switzerland 21st May 17, 12:24 AM
    • 153 Posts
    • 112 Thanks
    Planet Switzerland
    I've been in a similar situation, but it worked out in the end. You may find you get the job at your next interview and be glad that was the job you got rather than the other 5.

    When I decided I wanted to move to London several years ago, it took me 7 interviews and over a year until I got there. It was very frustrating and was losing hope I'd ever get there, but it worked out well in the end. This is how it went for me:

    Interview 1 - Borehamwood (Yes I know, not London or anything like London, just saw it was inside the M25), was a disaster, but seemed a depressing place to work.

    Interview 2 - Central London, thought interview went well but afterwards the recruitment consultant at the agency who was calling me constantly prior to the interview was now always unavailable to talk when I called so assumed I didn't get the job.

    Interview 3 - Richmond, they decided to phone me rather than e-mail me afterwards to tell me I did well but the other candidate beat me on experience.

    Interview 4 - Central London, small company who's MD interviewed me, he was an idiot, not a good interview.

    Interview 5 - Central London, did a test which I aced, interview seemed to go ok but apparently my experience wasn't quite what he was looking for.

    Interview 6 - Southwark, had been a few months since last interview, job was paying a couple of grand less than I was looking for but was desperate. Did test first, got 100%. Interview went well, but someone who had been made redundant in that exact role for a competitor was given it, but was told I would have got it if that person hadn't come along.

    Interview 7 - Central London, did a test, realised I'd screwed it up and didn't have time to put it right. Explained what I should have done in interview, end up getting the job.

    Obviously I didn't want jobs 1 or 4 and just wanted 6 out of desperation. Job 3 seemed ideal to me, but Richmond, although a nice area, is quite far removed from the rest of London, plus I found out a year or so later that the founders sold the company and reviews on glassdoor say that made it a terrible place to work.

    Given the choice between the other two jobs and the one I got, I would have chosen the one I did get.
    • Sanne
    • By Sanne 29th May 17, 9:08 AM
    • 349 Posts
    • 315 Thanks
    I have interviewed a lot of people for one position recently and, from the other side of the table....
    1. Don't constantly talk about what the team achieved or did - focus on what your contribution and responsibilities were. So many people talked about what their team did but it was hard to figure out their role
    2. Be enthusiastic about the role and company and explain why you want THAT job and work for THAT company. We've had a lot of people who couldn't say why they wanted to work for us or why they applied for that role in particular. What attracted you, what do you find interesting about the role/company/industry
    3. If you don't know something say so and don't make stuff up. It's better to admit you aren't sure but think it is xyz than comfortably saying oh, yes, I have loads of experience, it's blah - and then come out with an answer showing that you have no clue
    4. Body language. Yes, while I remain open I have a first impression of someone the moment I greet them. Not getting up to say hello, only focusing on my male interview partner... nope, not good. Also the way you start the interview - thank them for inviting you etc.
    5. Not answering our questions. Goes back to if you don't know say so but don't blubber on about completely irrelevant stuff. Also, if you say you have done something or can do something I'm looking for examples - ideally not always the same or from 20 years ago
    6. If you can't make the interview or you're late, phone in yourself. Don't make your husband or wife call for you. (Yes, happened three times)
    7. Don't rattle down text book answers. I try not to ask too many text book questions but if I do I don't want to hear what every book says but what the interviewee has to say.
    8. Don't b******. Ever. I'll find out during the interview when drilling down further and it's embarrassing if you tell me you have huge experience with something and it turns out you have barely heard the term
    9. Body language. If you say you're really interested but you're looking really bored.... well, figure...

    That's just some of the reasons that come to my mind why we didn't make job offers.

    Also, at the end, confirm that you are really interested and say why before asking for next steps.
    • seven-day-weekend
    • By seven-day-weekend 29th May 17, 11:52 AM
    • 30,585 Posts
    • 57,779 Thanks
    Thanks for the replies...

    Not had 3 jobs in 4 years only 2, but I was offered 2 jobs at the same time and had to decline one of them.

    In terms of body language that might be the problem, though I wouldn't think I come across as feeble because in general I don't get all that nervous. I'll look into that one though!

    Interviews have been a mix really, it's the competency questions that trip me up as you often have to give detailed answers to vague questions like "How do you handle working in a team" etc!
    Originally posted by gonthemicrobe
    Be prepared for these sort of questions and give them an example of good practise of you working in a team (doesn't have to be employment based) and what YOU personally did to enhance the teamwork.

    Same with 'how would you cope in an emergency?' and 'how would you deal with an irate client' -type questions. Have your answers prepared, with examples of what YOU did to enhance the situation.

    For your examples, remember the acronym STAR. An example below:

    S = Situation (Customer says their energy account shows an
    T = Task (To find out if there is an error and correct if so)
    A =Action ( Go through customer's account and match it with
    payments and bills. Find and correct error)
    R = Result (Explain the results to the satisfied Customer ).

    Don't forget, it's all about what YOU did!

    Also, if the question is' what do you see as your weak points', turn them into a positive ' I can sometimes get too immersed in a task, but I understand this and now make sure I take a break occasionally'. 'I sometimes suffer from lack of confidence, but I am aware of this and tell myself that I am more than up to the task'. (I have used this one myself in a phone interview.)

    As regards phone interviews, I find it helpful if you dress as for a face-to-face interview and don't forget to smile down the phone

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by seven-day-weekend; 29-05-2017 at 12:06 PM.
    Member #10 of 2 savers club
    • ACG
    • By ACG 29th May 17, 11:59 AM
    • 16,829 Posts
    • 8,780 Thanks
    I can not help much, but part of the reason I went self employed was because I was useless in interviews.

    One thing that did help was getting feedback. I went to an interview for halifax bank once and the bloke called me up at the end and basically went through it with me. Some of the advice he gave me I took into the next interview and got the job.

    I was on a night out and my manager was basically saying I crashed and burned the interview but the roleplay was the bit that did it and that was because I implimented what the bloke from Halifax told me.

    So ask for feedback, it may help. It may not, but no harm in trying.
    • gonthemicrobe
    • By gonthemicrobe 1st Jun 17, 4:23 PM
    • 47 Posts
    • 26 Thanks
    Still no luck for me on this.

    5 interviews since April, failed them all. Had standard "you interviewed well but another candidate..." feedback from those that bothered to get back to me.

    Really at my wits end now. Any further assistance welcome!
    • Malthusian
    • By Malthusian 2nd Jun 17, 11:16 AM
    • 4,084 Posts
    • 6,399 Thanks
    Not sure why you're at your wits' end when you knew that your strike rate was just under 1 in 6 (3 job offers from 20-25 interviews) and you've only done 5 interviews. Based on those odds you only had a 50-60% chance of getting an offer from five interviews - not much better than a coin flip.

    There may be technique involved as well but interviewing is a numbers game and those are the numbers.

    1 in 6 sounds like a perfectly decent strike rate to me. I was interviewing for a new job recently and I had at least 6 interviews before I had a success. I could have obtained a job much sooner, but the reason I wanted a new job was to progress my career, so I was being picky and rejecting jobs that would have been a sideways move. But this also meant I was always a long-odds outsider - there was always likely to be a candidate who had experience at a more senior level or the next level of qualification. I don't know why you want a new job, but you said you were currently employed on the same field so whatever the reason you're bound to be more picky than if you were on the dole.

    The annoying thing about being the long-odds outsider is that if you have already rolled the dice five times without getting a six, it doesn't mean you've only got to do it once more - your odds are still 1 in 6. You just have to keep doing the right things. The important thing is that you're getting good feedback and there's no reason to believe the numbers aren't in your favour, providing you stick at it. "You interviewed well but another candidate..." is not standard feedback, it's very good feedback. Neither recruiters nor HR departments have hesitated to tell me what I was doing wrong when I was doing it wrong.
    • macca1974
    • By macca1974 2nd Jun 17, 11:36 AM
    • 213 Posts
    • 185 Thanks
    Interviews are all about selling yourself and what you can do for the business. I haven't had an interview for a while, but do remember a while back going through the process for one role and then blowing it completely because I was nervous. This then made me realise that you need to attend the interviews with confidence and a decent amount of front.

    The only way that I could approach the interviews this way was to be really well prepared. So all of the things stated above (dress well, good handshake, research on the company etc). The key one was the competency based questions and I remember getting a list of these from a recruiter and then spending a fair amount of time preparing answers. Finding scenarios throughout my career that would put me in a good light and then writing down my answers and then practicing them until they flowed well.

    The key though is that is like any type of selling and that is that you need to be asked a question, sit back as though you are considering the answer and the providing your pre-prepared answer as though you have just thought of it. The only way I could do this was practice.

    Think back to the questions that you have been asked throughout your various interviews over the past 12 months, there must be a lot of common questions asked and then build some really good prepared answers for them. The key is the delivery and presenting the persona of somebody who is relaxed, in charge of their brief (i.e. selling yourself) and looks like they are going to be a good addition to the team.
    • lantanna
    • By lantanna 2nd Jun 17, 1:53 PM
    • 2,546 Posts
    • 18,798 Thanks
    Its not just you don't worry. I have had 5 this year and like yourself haven't gotten them. I'm getting down to last 2 and getting piped to the post. My feedback where given is also good. The best piece of advice someone gave me last week was people pick people, try and make a connection with the panel, be friendly and warm. I have a very straight face where I can come across as stand offish so I know I have to work on that. I have 2 more interviews next week and I am hoping to try and connect more with the panel. Do keep us updated on how your search goes! It is hard work and rejection is never easy to take but I do believe we will get there. Incidentally when I was in my 20s I had a good run for years where I got every job I went for. When I do get my next move I will be very appreciative of it!
    3 stone 13.5 lbs to target

    • paddyrg
    • By paddyrg 2nd Jun 17, 4:59 PM
    • 13,108 Posts
    • 11,182 Thanks
    If you can't make the interview or you're late, phone in yourself. Don't make your husband or wife call for you. (Yes, happened three times)
    I go a step further - MAKE the interview. If you have to walk to the door, then go for a local walk for an hour, then arrive 10 minutes early and ask the receptionist if there's a loo you can use to primp and polish before your 'slot' - DO THAT instead of catching a bus that gets there late, or being unable to find the office. If you mess the company around before you even work there and are on best behaviour, it does not bode well.
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