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Move up in your career

You’ve done several interviews over the past few months. You’re always close to getting the job. In fact, you can probably feel it. Your answers were direct and confident. The interviewers seemed to like your answers. You were in control.

But for some reason, you’re not getting the job. You are coming in 2nd place.

If you always seem to be close to closing the deal but still not getting that callback, here are 4 things that you can do to get that job offer after your next interview. 

If you keep coming in second, that means your resume is good enough to get your foot in the door. The problem probably isn’t your resume. Instead, it could be your interviewing style. Here are several things you can do to fix that. 

1. Reflect on your answers to common questions

If you go to enough interviews, you’re probably getting some of the same questions, over and over again. For example, many hiring managers ask about your strengths and weaknesses. Or at the very end of the interview, many will ask if you have any other questions for them

Your ability to effectively answer these types of questions is crucial.

Your strengths should not come across as overly-confident. And, your weaknesses should be real and genuine, not fluffy or arrogant. At the end of the interview, always have a couple of questions ready. Saying “I think you already answered my questions” is not a good answer.

“I think I am equally strong in all areas”, or “I care too much” are generally not good answers to a question about your weaknesses. Instead, be honest. Make your weaknesses actual weaknesses, not strengths disguised as weaknesses.

2. Ask yourself: Are you coming across as stubborn or negative?

A big part of an interview is about personality, or your “EQ”. You might have the technical chops to do your job, but how well you would fit within the office is equally important. In fact, your personality might actually be more important than your ability to do your job in many organizations.

After all, jobs can be taught. But, it’s very difficult to change someone’s personality.

If you come across as agreeable and generally happy, you’ll boost your chances of getting a callback and maybe even a job offer. If, on the other hand, you exhibit signs that you’re stubborn, are overly confident, or maybe even just unhappy, the interviewers will see this and consider it a negative EQ trait.

Your mannerisms, agreeableness, and propensity to smile could be killing your chances of getting a callback even if you are the most qualified person for the job. 

Your ability to effectively answer these types of questions is crucial.

Your strengths should not come across as overly-confident. And, your weaknesses should be real and genuine, not fluffy or arrogant. At the end of the interview, always have a couple of questions ready. Saying “I think you already answered my questions” is not a good answer.

“I think I am equally strong in all areas”, or “I care too much” are generally not good answers to a question about your weaknesses. Instead, be honest. Make your weaknesses actual weaknesses, not strengths disguised as weaknesses.

3. Pay attention to slight body movements

Interviewers can easily tell if a candidate is overly nervous (or outright lying) based on their body movements. Fidgeting and a lack of eye-contact are telltale signs that something isn’t right.

Not to worry, virtually all of us are nervous during an interview. It’s okay to be nervous. But, certain body movements (such as your hands, eyes, and complexion) can indicate deceit, not just nervousness. Are you exhibiting some of these movements without noticing?

4. Ask for candid feedback

If you personally know someone on the team (or if you are friendly with the hiring manager), politely asking for feedback about why you weren’t chosen may be a good way to figure out what’s going on. You might be sending up red flags that you are not aware of (for instance, your body movements).

If you personally know someone on the team (or if you are friendly with the hiring manager), politely asking for feedback about why you weren’t chosen may be a good way to figure out what’s going on. You might be sending up red flags that you are not aware of (for instance, your body movements).

Note: Be careful asking for feedback. Be extremely polite. For example, don’t call the hiring manager and demand a reason for why you didn’t get the job. Instead, approach it from the standpoint of feedback and improving yourself.

For instance: “I respect your decision to hire someone else. But, I’m wondering if you could give me any candid feedback about how I interviewed so I can improve before the next interview.” Note that some hiring managers will be unwilling or unable to provide this feedback, but in some circumstances, it might be worth a shot. 

— Steve Adcock

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This article originally appeared on Ladders.

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