job interview advice

Interviewing for Jobs: So Close Yet So Far

From Top of the Pile…

Job Interview; Interviewing For Jobs; Searching for Work; Unemployment
Job Interview
Image Courtesy of Ambro

In such a tough job market, it’s a great feeling to get a job interview request to an application submission.

This means we’ve succeeded in professionally presenting our skills and abilities through a solid cover letter and resume. In other words, we’ve made it to the “top of the applicant file.”

However, the job interview process brings with it an additional challenge – many candidates vying for the same position. When the scheduled day comes, we’re given one more opportunity to make a good impression on the interviewer(s). You know this is an important step in securing the job offer.

Aware of this, prior to the scheduled interview, we prepare for our interviews as we seek to present ourselves well to those on the other side of the table. We want to be the shining star they’re looking for to join their team.

You know what I mean…right? 

Then, the day arrives. As professionals, we follow several guidelines from career advisers to aid us in making a good impression on all of the people we come into contact with. We do the following:

  • Dress Well– People notice our job interview clothing. A well-dressed professional makes a better impression on the hiring manager.
  • Arrive Early– I arrive to the interview room 5 or no more than 10 minutes prior to the scheduled time.

(Side Note: I remember arriving for an interview within this time period and hearing one of the interviewers comment I was too early. I thought interviewers appreciate this as it shows good time-management skills. Am I wrong?)

  • Arrive with Copies of Your Resume– It doesn’t hurt to bring copies of your resume to the interview, but I expect it to have been reviewed in some way prior to the interview.

(Side Note: I had an interview situation where the interviewers knew NOTHING about me until the scheduled interview. Isn’t something wrong with this?)

  • Thank You Note/Follow-Up– Based on my experience, a thank you note after the interview doesn’t influence hiring decisions. Most deliberations are done immediately following the interview. However, it shows courtesy to the interviewer(s) according to many.

To the Rejected File

So I, like many of you, prepare, follow these guidelines, and interview.

What happens afterward though? I don’t receive the job offer even in cases where the interviews went seemingly well.

Now, in my Unemployed Job Seekers: Pressure Off, You On post, I say interviewing for a job is one of the areas of the job search process within my control. Therefore, I am always looking for ways in which I can improve my interviewing skills.

My interviewing skills have improved over time. Still, sometimes, I wonder where I go wrong in the interview process.

When I seek feedback on ways I can improve as an interviewee (and someone responds), I am told something along the lines of “you were professional and interviewed well, but we chose someone else with more experience.”

This leaves me to assess these skills on my own. So, I question myself on the following:

  • Interpersonal skills. I have effective interpersonal skills in my opinion.
  • Attitude. I maintain a positive attitude throughout interviews.
  • Trainability. I consider myself trainable.

And so on.

What is the problem then?

Am I selling myself short? Possibly. I do, however, relate my past accomplishments in some way to the job I am interviewing for.

Am I missing something? Possibly so but what is it?

Recently, I came across Erica Ariel Fox’s How to Win Your Next Job Interview LinkedIn article. In this article, Ms. Fox states she passed over a candidate for a job because the candidate didn’t tell her (Ms. Fox) what excited her (the candidate) about the position.

From there, I considered this possibility as well.

I express excitement about opportunities to potential employers through my cover letters, but I might not be showing the excitement that hiring managers expect to see in the interview.

Do you think expressed excitement in a position is the determining factor of who wins the interview? I am really trying to figure this out.

If this is the case, how can calm (introverted) persons, like me, compete with other candidates in today’s job market?

I understand I must adapt to job interviews if I seek to work for someone else, but do I really have to become an actress to “nail the interview?”

Please say no.  I don’t want to pretend to be someone else.

I’ll say this: if HR Departments and hiring managers are looking for extreme excitement in interviews, you have possibly lost out on a lot of strong candidates for your advertised positions.

P. S. All of this leads to two questions for you: What happens when we’ve prepared and followed all of these guidelines with the hope of making a good impression but still don’t secure a job offer? Other than what’s listed here, what should calm (introverted) people do to compete with others in job interviews?

To my fellow job seekers:

From Me To You: Some opportunity is awaiting you. You have to keep your focus!

Additional Resource: Job Interview Preparation

If you’re interested in a more effective way of preparing for your job interview(s), the Daily Muse’s All-in-One Interview Prep Guide is a great resource for you to check out.

Disclaimer: This article contains an outgoing link to the work of TheMuse.


22 thoughts on “Interviewing for Jobs: So Close Yet So Far

    1. Thanks for commenting Interview Knowledge! I am glad that you like these tips. I agree that arriving early (5-10 minutes) makes a good first impression, so it shocked me to hear an interviewer comment about my early arrival. That was only one time though. I appreciate you reading.


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