We don’t live in a perfect world, so we have interviews.
America today is a service-oriented culture. For hiring managers, the selection process has become more than just a checklist of who has the most skills and experience related to the open position. “Soft skills” such as graciousness, empathy, cooperation, attitude, loyalty, and willingness to compromise — characteristics that can seldom be gleaned from a candidate’s resume — play a much more important role than in times past. Consequently, the interview holds as much weight as the resume in determining a good fit.
Based on my 20+ years as a hiring manager, here are my top seven reasons I didn’t hire you for that BA position, even though your resume said you were qualified:
#1: You were late to the interview
Yes, I know it was only two minutes. But, those two minutes of tardiness spoke volumes about you:
- Your planning and organizational skills are questionable.
- You are willing to settle for “close enough.”
- You failed to recognize the importance of the task.
- You lack respect for me and my time.
You also failed to offer a reason for your lateness or to call me when you realized you were running behind so I could adjust my schedule, rather than sit fuming and looking at my watch. Your actions created a huge obstacle to your success from the onset.
#2: You didn’t know my company very well
You obviously had not bothered to learn anything about the company you are trying to convince to hire you. You displayed ignorance of even the most basic of information about my company. When I asked you, “What is your favorite attraction here at Walt Disney World?” you replied, “I love the Shamu show!” Get a clue.
At the very least, I expected you to have visited my company’s website and read about our newest venture. We are all very proud of it. You knew nothing of it.
I also expected you to at least know the name of my company’s CEO and that she had assumed the role only last month, after our previous CEO of ten years retired. You didn’t.
It was obvious to me by your lack of interest in my company that you are not likely to feel any loyalty toward your new employer if I should hire you.
#3: You didn’t dress professionally for the interview
It is common knowledge that we have a very casual dress code for our employees here. But, you are not yet an employee. I expected you to dress for the interview – not for the job. I expected to see you in a conservative business suit. I admit your shoes were shined, and you wore nice slacks and a polo shirt, but you chose to dress for your own comfort, rather than for the occasion. Were you so afraid you might overdress for the interview? You blew it.
Not dressing professionally for your job interview demonstrates:
- Your unwillingness to inconvenience yourself for my sake.
- Your lack of respect for the interviewer and the occasion.
- Your (low) level of professionalism.
- Your lack of interview “savvy” (i.e., knowing how the game is played.)
#4: Your resume had a typo
Yes. One typo.
What’s the big deal, you say?
It’s all about your passion for excellence – or lack of it. In this day of spelling checkers, grammar checkers, online dictionaries, and thesauruses, there is simply no excuse for an imperfect document. You also should have had others read your resume for errors before you sent it to me.
Sending me a resume containing a grammatical or typographical error tells me:
- You are overconfident, believing there is no need for your work to be validated.
- You are unwilling to ask for help.
If you’re willing to settle for sloppy work on a document that should be very meaningful to you personally, how much passion for excellence can I expect from you when working on my tasks?
#5: You used off-color language during the interview
Regardless of my own speech, you will not endear yourself to me in the interview by using potentially offensive language — even the now commonly accepted “damn” or “hell.” Why risk it?
No matter how much you feel we are “bonding” during the interview, you don’t know me well enough to be anything but professional in this context. Use your head — it’s not very likely you will ever be knocked out of the running because you didn’t use enough profanity during an interview.
#6: You did not choose your questions well
Near the end of the interview, I asked, “Do you have any questions for me?” It was a gift from me to you. An opportunity to regain some of the ground you lost up to that point. An opportunity to impress me with the insightfulness of the questions you chose to ask.
I had expected you to ask me something perceptive like, “Can you walk me through a typical day in this role?”, or “How would you define success in this role?” Instead, you asked, “Would I be working in a cubicle or an office?” and “Is there a cafeteria in the building?” Whatever standing you had to that point, you just went backward.
#7: You were arrogant, cocky, or smug
It was obvious in your demeanor, dress, and body language you considered your selection a foregone conclusion. You came off as self-righteous and pompous.
I know you were a superstar at your last three jobs and considered an expert in your field by your peers, but if you are going to be polarizing and alienate your co-workers, you are just not worth the trouble. I would gladly take a lesser-skilled candidate with excellent people skills over someone like you any day.