The Single Interview Mistake that Costs You a Job

So you’ve attended countless of job interviews but yet to receive any response? You are not the only one. Many job seekers have, at least once, experienced the frustration of having a pending job application status.

Since it’s common that employers don’t respond to all candidates after the interview, it’s often a “myth” as to why your application is unsuccessful. However, there is a certain pattern that helps us understand why you don’t get a call back:

You focus too much on yourself and fail to address the employer’s needs.

Hear us out. Although the goal of an interview is for the recruiter to assess your employability, without a strong connection, you won’t be able to go far.

Most of us approach an interview as a chance to highlight our skills and how we make the perfect fit for the job. In reality, anyone can be the perfect fit for a particular role as we all have the same skills and even the same qualification. The only way for you to stand out as a potential hire is to address the needs of the company and how your contribution can fulfil those needs.


Connection is key.

Researching about the company shouldn’t be limited to learning about its business model, products, its mission and vision and so on. You must understand its challenges and opportunities as well. The more in depth you understand about the company, the more likely you’ll be able to build rapport during the interview.

There are many ways you can develop an interview that enforces a two-way communication, through which the recruiter can get to know you more personally and how you can fit right in the organisation. A rule of thumb is to navigate your answers to match with the company’s needs from an employee’s point of view.

Say, you are applying for a marketing job in a tech company that focuses on B2B business, to answer the common question “Tell me about yourself”, you may say: “I’m a business development executive with two years of experience, currently specialised in telesales. I have a degree in business administration and I’m interested in building my career in the field of sales and marketing.” Well, that’s not enough to make a strong impression on the recruiter of who you are. You may even elaborate on your work experience as followed: ”My responsibilities involve researching and contacting potential clients to promote our marketing solutions, ranging from online to offline services. Some of the biggest deals I managed to close include ABC, XYZ companies. On top of that, I also assisted the customer support team with after-sales service.”; but yet, that still lacks a personal touch to convince the recruiter.


Why not shake things up a little?

Take note of the following details when you research about the employer:

  • Do they have social media accounts? If yes, what is the dominant tone of voice used?
  • What are the achievements that the company have acquired in the past?
  • Does the job description mention about the working environment (casual or formal, etc.)?
  • Who are their customers? (look at the product’s target consumer)
  • Do they have reviews or customer testimonials (customer reviews or employee reviews)?

From there, you can roughly interpret the company’s performance in the market, the team culture and even its future prospects. This kind of information enables you to assess your suitability in terms of cultural fit and to determine in what way your skills and expertise will bring positive impact to the company. It’s a critical step to prepare for a job interview in order to find the connection between you and the company.

Here’s an alternative to the above answers: “I am passionate about the tech industry because I believe in the benefits of technological advancement in the future. With a degree in business administration, I aim to help organisations launch innovative products that will improve people’s lives. I chose to specialise in sales as my first job because the role allows me to build connection in the industry and on top of that, to gain an in-depth understanding of the product that I myself interested in, which is marketing solutions.” While highlighting your passion and experiences, this answer tells the recruiter that you understand what’s in for you and what drives you to work every day, and it happens to be the reason why the company exists too! Naturally, a personal story makes your answers more authentic and purposeful (just don’t fake it).

Another thing that the majority of candidates don’t recognise is that most interview questions are scripted, which means the chances of someone repeating the answers are very high. That’s why a job interview can be dull and meaningless at times if you only focus on right or wrong, while what matters more is the connection. Don’t make the same mistake like everyone else. Remember, for a certain question (we’ll get to this in the next article) that you are asked, if possible, try to turn it into a mini topic of discussion to make the whole session alive.

Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *