Why is it that sometimes the candidates who are clearly more qualified and have more relevant experience often get interviews, but not jobs? Or, what goes wrong when you make it to the top two and then lose the offer to the other candidate? It’s within this place that we often hear candidates talking about age, race, gender, or any other type of discrimination.
As much as we all like to spend most of our energy concentrating on how we will prove we have the most relevant work experience and qualifications, it’s a rare day when hiring managers will choose one candidate over another simply based upon one candidate being more qualified to do the job than the other. In fact, less qualified candidates often get the job offer, leaving the more qualified ones feeling relatively perplexed and distressed.
I am not going to say that no discrimination takes place because it does – as illegal as it is. But that’s not what is going on in most of these cases.
To explain this more clearly, please follow along with this scenario.
Let’s say you are married and are planning a trip of a lifetime – just you and your spouse. If there is a place in the world you really want to go but you fear you may never get the chance, that’s exactly where you are going. You plan the trip a year in advance and you are staying there for three weeks. Imagine yourself talking about this trip with your friends and family.
As you share the details, picture the excitement that you will have in the tone of your voice (or that will pour out in exclamation marks as you write) and the passion that would exude out of every energy channel in your body. You likely end these conversations with, “I can’t wait!!!”
Now imagine that three months before you leave on your trip, your spouse tells you that he or she wants to separate. This is very unexpected and devastating. However, you realize there is a chance you two could work it out, so you aren’t canceling the trip – yet. Although if you can’t work things out, the trip is off.
You decide that outside of 2-3 very close friends, you are going to keep this under your hat and not talk about any of it. You want to work on things and don’t need the world to know.
In the upcoming days and weeks, many people are asking you about your trip. Of course, you doubt it is still on, but you aren’t saying anything so you just play along in hopes that everything works out.
Just last week, you were talking about and saying things like, “Oh yeah! And we are staying three nights in this awesome hotel then going here and staying at this cool place, then we are going to be here where there is a pool off our balcony! I can’t wait!”
What does it sound like now?
Probably something like “Ahh… yea… it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s coming up soon… really looking forward to it…”
Even though you didn’t tell that person that you may not even be going, he or she may now become suspicious that something is up just based on you expressing yourself with much less emotion.
#1 Reason You Get Interviews But Not Offers
And that should help you understand why a person who may be less qualified than you gets a job you don’t get. It’s all in the presentation. Oftentimes, you say all the right things but if your presentation is flat, it will fall on its face. If you don’t really want the job or you aren’t excited about it, it shows even if you say, “I want to work here more than any other company.”
Can The Hiring Managers ‘Feel’ Your Words?
Enthusiasm, presence, and passion – these qualities excite hiring mangers and they will always tip the scale in someone else’s favor if you don’t show up with them in your interview. When you are expressing those qualities, people can’t help but love you and be engrossed in everything you say.
Most people know these qualities are important and say they have them, but if you don’t really feel excited and are putting on a show, it won’t come off as authentic - especially when compared to someone else who authentically does have them.
This is especially important to remember when you consider that many hiring managers conduct back to back (or close together) interviews. I cannot express in words how often candidates get tossed out of the candidate pool simply by deficiencies in their overall presentation that only become apparent when running multiple interviews back to back or close together.
There have been many times I have thought a candidate interviewed well and was a good fit for a job – but only up until the next interview where that candidate’s presence blew me away making the previous candidate appear flat.
The truth is, if you don’t come off with a positive attitude exuding with those three qualities, hiring managers don’t even tend to think you have a neutral attitude. They tend to err on the side of caution and assume you might actually have a negative and bad attitude. Never underestimate the power of a positive attitude. Hiring managers will almost always say they would rather train hard skills than try to train an attitude.
People can feel other people’s true passion and excitement and you simply can’t compare to someone who walks in with a ton of passion and excitement if you do not – even if you have more skills and qualifications than that person has.
Be conscious of how you think as you prepare for your job interview (and make sure you really do want to work for the company!) Before your interview, take about 10 minutes to sit quietly and don’t think at all with your head about what you will say or not say.
To help chase your thoughts away, take six slow deep breaths and only concentrate on your breath going in and out. Then, imagine yourself working at this company and experiencing all the good things you think you will experience there. Let yourself truly feel the excitement you would have if you got the job. Visualize it, feel it, and get immersed in it.
Now that you have done this, when you go to your interview and are waiting to be taken in, take some deep breaths and mentally put yourself back in those thoughts and in that place. Focus on staying there and when you get in your interview just start speaking from your heart. There is no excitement, enthusiasm, nor passion that can come out of your head – it all comes from your heart. If hiring managers can feel that energy coming from you (not just hear words) it will give you a huge edge in winning the job offer.
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