Top 10 Reasons Job Seekers Fail At Interview

Top 10 Reasons Job Seekers Fail at Interview

Nedbaylo Maks

There are many reasons why promising candidates who are shortlised for jobs fail to impress prosepctive employers at interview, but there are 10 common reasons. Knowing what they are and how to overcome them is vital. 

Remember that employers are looking for three things in the people they want to hire; the skills to do the work, the motivation to do the work well and the ability to work well with others as a team.  You must convey these three things at interview with a confident, but not arrogant, summary of your skills and achievements, genuine enthusiasm and positivity and the ability to adapt and work constructively with others.

Employers hire people to solve problems:  the delivery of a service, increasing of profits, cutting of costs to name a few. All problems must be tackled with confidence, talent and resilience.

If you don't demonstrate these qualities and attitudes, you will fail and here are the most common reasons why:


#1 Failure to express interest in the job and the company / organisation.  Companies want to hire people who are motivated and enthusiastic about the job and want to work for them. They look for positivity and interest. If you cannot say convincingly why you want to work there, you communicate that you're shopping around and aren't serious about the opportunity. 

Always convey to the interviewers that you have researched the company / organisation and are really keen to join. Also show interest in the key responsibilities of the job. Have some insightful questions prepared to ask at the end of the interview.

#2 Failure to communicate your talent, skills and achievements. You must be able to summarise succinctly your key skills (relevant to the job, of course), major achievements and talents. Don't boast, but give the interviewers the impression of competence and the value you can add to their organisation. If you don't do this effectively, people may not get an understaning of your abilities and competencies.

#3 Lack of confidence. Responding to questions with your voice going up at the end, conveys doubt. Speaking too quietly, not making eye contact, not emphasizing points, and not conveying energy all communicate a lack of confidence. Remember the key points you want to make and state them with confidence and positivity. 

#4 Hiding pertinent information. If you've lost a job, over stated your skills or experience, or failed to mention a challenging relationship with a former senior or colleague, it will come back to bite you. It is always best to disclose any issues at the outset and deal with them up front. Failure is a potentially fertile learning experience and not something to conceal.

#5 Negativity. Speaking negatively about your former job instead of focusing on what you've learned and can apply in a new situation conveys that you're closed-minded. Success and failure are both feedback opportunities and ways to learn what has worked and what has not. Always focus on what failure has taught you and how you have adapeted to adversity.

#6 Bashing former employers. Badmouthing former co-workers or employers raises the question of whether you'll do it again. People want to work with colleagues they can trust and are easy to work with. Be positive when discussing past employers and colleagues.

#7 Arguing. Acting defensively during an interview or arguing with the interviewer may be a sign that you're a rigid thinker, confrontational or a difficult person to work with. Make your points firmly but avoid getting into a dispute.

#8 Dominating. Not listening during an interview and dominating the conversation with your point of view communicates that you may not be a good team player. Alllow the interviewers t o take the lead.

#9 Sounding desperate. Telling the interviewer that you'll take any opening in the company because you want to work there conveys a lack of belief in the value you can bring to a specific function or role. Have a clear idea about your areas of competence and the right role for you.

#10 Too many demands, lacking commitment. An interview is, first and foremost, an opportunity to convince the employer that you're the right person for the job. You have the skills, motivation and energy and are a great team player. Yet many candidates don't effectively do that and arrive at interview with a shopping list of demands. Your wants and needs are not the employer's main concern and your exclusive concentration of these will suggest lack of commitment to the role.


If you can avoid these mistakes and stay confident, focused, poistive and motivated then you should have success!