I’m Struggling With Interviewing. How Can I Succeed?
“I don’t get it. Ten interviews and nothing! Why am I not getting to the finish line?”
Interviewing for jobs can be tough. Let’s first acknowledge how mentally and emotionally taxing it can be. Whether you’re unemployed or simply searching for your next move, juggling multiple interviews is exhausting. So, when you finally find an opportunity that seems perfectly suited to your skills and experience, how can you maximize your chances of success?
Interviewing is an art. There are many variables at play that are out of our control. But, with thorough preparation and a healthy dose of self-awareness, it is possible to walk away from your next conversation with the confidence that you crushed it – regardless of whether you receive an offer.
Strike a balance
How badly do you want the job? Could it be starting to show?
A job interview is either won or lost based on two essential qualities: confidence and enthusiasm. The challenge with both? A little bit too much of either may cause you to miss out on the role. Confidence can easily become arrogance. Over-enthusiasm may look desperate or disingenuous.
Striking a careful balance between “too much” and “not enough” of these elements are key for your success. Both parties need to walk away from an interview feeling confident in each other and certain that moving forward makes sense for everyone.
Shake it off
It’s incredibly discouraging to schedule interview after interview and have none of them pan out. But you need to find a way to shake that off.
You need to avoid carrying all the past rejections into your new conversations. Forging a mental break between your last interview and the next one is necessary. Yesterday’s conversation can’t linger in your mind – especially if you’re excited about today’s interview.
Instead of dwelling on the past, do your best to focus on what you do have. Your skillsets and strengths. Your accomplishments and accolades. There are companies out there looking for you and what you have to offer; you just haven’t connected with each other yet.
Harness your network
Do your former colleagues, managers or employers know you’re looking for a job? Would any be willing to share honest advice on how you come across in interviews and to the market?
Your in-person network should be your go-to spot in scenarios like this. Not only are personal and professional contacts more effective at helping you find opportunities than your resume, but they are also best at offering candid advice. Consider reaching out to a trusted few to let them know you’re looking and to gain feedback. Some may even be willing to hold a mock interview to help you prep.
Quantify your accomplishments
One of our top pieces of advice for hiring managers is to pay attention to a candidate’s contributions and results. A stand-out candidate will show evidence of growth, backing up their claims with concrete, quantifiable accomplishments.
Can you back up your high-level employment overview or buzzwords with tangible proof? Can you go beyond surface-level conversations, sharing stats and steps toward your achievements as well?
For example, you could say you’ve…
- > Increased website traffic by 15% within 6 months by overhauling the entire SEO strategy and saving $5000 in consultation fees
- > Helped multiple companies with 75-150 employees build and grow marketing departments and reach over $3M in annual revenue
- > Created and carried out an email marketing strategy that increased open rates by 30-40% and led to a $100,000 increase in sales within the next quarter
Be prepared to walk the interviewer through how you achieved these goals, what you learned from the experience or what you might do differently. Articulating your achievements and how they helped the company’s bottom line will set you apart from the rest.
Develop tailored questions
Did you put in time to understand the company, their values, selling points and PR?
Study the company’s newsroom, press releases and/or media coverage. If the business’ annual report is available online, look through it. Review their social feeds, see what stories are being told. Use this information to craft well-thought-out questions about the organization to sprinkle throughout your conversation. (And if you want a few suggestions to get you started, we share a few to consider.) For extra bonus points, pull together a few points about any opportunities you saw where your skills could help elevate their brand/campaigns/website, etc.
Hiring managers end up underwhelmed when it’s clear that interviewees don’t do their research before conversations begin. Preparation is time consuming, but it may be what puts you at the top of the list.
So many variables factor into final hiring decisions. We wish we had a magic wand to make it all easier. Instead, we offer our best advice, gleaned from years of recruitment experience and a whole slew of post-interview hiring manager feedback.
Taking time to go through each step won’t guarantee you get every job you want. But by putting in the work to prepare for each conversation, you can walk out of each interview with your head held high, knowing you gave it your best effort.