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Taking cues from what didn’t click at an interview

Taking cues from what didn’t click at an interviewImage Credit: Supplied

Going to job interviews that don't yield an offer can be frustrating, but you may turn this into a rewarding experience that can help polish your interviewing skills. To do so, you must exert some conscious effort to dwell on the details of your application and the interview despite the fact that you were not selected.

This post-mortem analysis of your unsuccessful interviews requires an open mind and a good amount of honesty. That is the only way you'll be able to benefit from your experiences and build on them in a way that enables you to navigate future interviews without a hitch.

Here are few steps to get to conclusions:

* Alienate theories

If you were not selected for the job, you may be inclined to resort to blame the employers for example for being discriminatory or not serious. Although some of these scenarios may exist, you must be realistic about the reasons you were deemed not the best fit for the job.

Compare your qualifications with the job requirements, mentally review your performance during the job interview, and think about how you handled yourself in the communication, follow-up, etc.

Honesty is a key factor not only in determining what went wrong, but also in guiding you to apply for jobs that are right for you in the future. If you opt always to blame your failure to get the job on some big conspiracy against you, you probably will continue to repeat the same mistakes over and over.

* Qualified, but...

The reason you didn't get the job could be well beyond your performance. It can be as simple as your availability date or your location. Finding out that the reason has nothing to do with your qualifications or skills could give you a big self-esteem boost despite the fact that you still didn't get the job.

You even may be over-qualified for the job, a factor that many employers will be conscious of to ensure long-term retention and satisfaction.

How would you know? Ask. If you're unable to pinpoint the reason you were not selected, you can always reach out to the hiring manager and ask why. The answer may be generic and not very useful, but it also can provide you with some insight into the selection process.

* Review your resume

Many people think that if they were invited to an in-person interview, their resumes are perfect and can't be blamed for the end result. That is not always true. Resumes remain a reference for employers throughout the hiring process. If your resume doesn't back up your claims and clearly state the experience relevance, it may be working against you in advanced interviewing phases.

Remember, many employers conduct more than just one interview. Your resume should pull its weight with those who are higher up in the organisation and who typically enter the interviewing process in advanced phases.

* Clash of cultures

In this case, you may yourself have felt the lack of chemistry during your interview. You just don't fit there. You may still have wanted the job, but you somehow have been worried about the office environment.

If so, your hiring manager may also have felt that disconnect between your work style and personality and the corporate culture. Although this may seem to be an unfair reason for not hiring you, the concern about how you will get along and function within a team is valid.

If you think this was why you were not selected, you should look into the type of company and job you're seeking. This could be an issue only with this one individual employer or with an entire career path that you're trying to pursue.

If you're in the latter situation, don't overlook this red flag which may be detrimental to your progress.

* Sweat the small stuff

In your review, you may stumble over small stuff that went wrong — wearing the wrong attire, asking too many questions — or too few, etc. Although these may seem to be insignificant and you may have no way to verify how far they impacted the employer's decision, it is important to note them.

Taking these small points into consideration going forward will only help you set yourself in a better light and improve your standing. By doing so, you are learning something from an unsuccessful experience that can help you win a future job.

- Turn failure into improvement:

* Review your unsuccessful interviews.

* Check your performance and skills.

* Ask about the selection factors.

* Improve your future performance.

Source: Rania Oteify, Special to

Rania Oteify, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor