It’s seriously hard not to take a job rejection personally. Sometimes the reason you didn’t get a job is personal. But there are circumstances beyond our control as well.
That said, there is always something to learn from an interview. Similarly, your job search and interview skills can always be improved.
Check out these seven signs that you need to improve your interview skills, as well as practical tips for upping your interview game!
See related: Five Signs You Shouldn’t Accept a Job Offer
You undersell yourself
Bragging is generally considered rude. However, in order to land a job you need to be tooting your own horn!
Selling yourself is one of the most important aspects of the interview. In a recent survey, 64% of employers said candidates failed to successfully connect the current job with their past experiences.
That’s why you need to spend time practicing answering questions before the interview. Analyze the job description. Study your resume. Make direct connections between the skills and qualifications the employer is seeking and your relevant job-related successes.
If you don’t drive home why you are the best candidate for the job, the interviewers will be left unconvinced.
You oversell yourself
If you come across as arrogant in an interview, this can be a major turn off to an employer. There is a delicate balance to be had in terms of being under vs. over-confident.
Again, practice makes perfect. The more you practice answering interview questions, the stronger your interview skills will be. Your confidence and personality will shine through.
Rather than sounding arrogant, you will sound convincing. Instead of appearing all-knowing, you will strike the perfect mix of humility and self-assurance.
See related: The #1 Interview Question You Should be Asking
You share too much
I once sat on a committee and we were interviewing a stellar candidate. She answered every question perfectly. Her resume was immaculate.
But then we had a casual portion of the interview where the staff got to ask her some personal questions.
She rattled on and on about her life. Unfortunately, the candidate revealed a little too much about herself. It was a major turnoff for our team. It demonstrated a lack of communication skills on her part. Although she aced the rest of the interview, that slip up killed it and she didn’t get the job offer.
Do not overshare. Even if the staff is chatty and casual, remember that your every move and word is being judged. This is one of most important interview skills to master!
You don’t give enough detail
Did you answer each question thoroughly? When you’re sweating through an interview, it can be hard to tell.
That’s why using the STAR acronym is useful. It stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Using this acronym ensures you give enough detail and end your answer strong with a positive result.
I’ll give you an example below to the question Tell me about a time when you were faced with a difficult challenge.
Sample answer using STAR:
I was working as an assistant manager at ABC Company shortly after college. (Situation)
My supervisor assigned me a big project overseeing the onboarding of three new interns in addition to my regular job. (Task)
Although I felt overwhelmed at first, I made sure to communicate with my supervisor regularly. We met weekly to discuss the progress of the employee training. It was great to bounce ideas off each other. The extra communication strengthened our working relationship. (Action)
Eight out of ten of our interns have transitioned into full-time hires since I started overseeing the training program. (Result)
See related: Five Signs You’re Ready for a Major Career Change
Speaking poorly of a former boss, co-worker, or company is just an all-around bad idea. Whether you’re doing it in an interview or on social media, it will reflect poorly on you and will prevent you from landing a job.
Even if you’re pissed about the way you were treated in a prior job, keep your negative feelings to yourself.
If you are asked a question about a difficult situation or person, you’ve got to keep things positive. Always stress your responsibility in the situation and don’t lay blame on others. Also stress what you learned and what you will do differently moving forward.
See related: Five Career Changes That Require Little Experience
One way to demonstrate your excitement about and interest in a job is to prepare a list of well thought-out questions. At the end of the interview you will most likely be asked “Do you have any questions for us?”
The absolute worst response to that question is “Nope, I think we’ve covered everything.”
A lack of curiosity or questions can make you look indifferent, bored, unprepared, or unenthusiastic.
You do everything right
Sometimes you do everything right. Your interview skills are polished. You are authentic, well prepared, and you kill it. But you don’t land the job.
An internal candidate might have been chosen. The company decided to wait on hiring. Perhaps the team felt like you just weren’t the right “fit.”
Maybe it just isn’t meant to be.
If one or more of these seven signs rings true for you, you’re not alone! Regardless of how strong your interview skills are, there is always room for improvement. The most important thing you can do is to keep practicing and learning.