I Had a Great Interview! Why Didn’t I Get a Callback?

By Alan Carniol 

It happens often. The interview went well. The conversation flowed. You were poised and presented a very strong case. You even got along on a personal level with the interviewer. Weeks have passed though, and there hasn’t been a callback. What could have happened?

There is always the possibility you may have misread the positive experience, and even those times when the internal candidate was basically guaranteed the offer. Still, sometimes candidates lose the job offer because of the interviewer’s experiences after the interview. What could change your interviewer’s mind?

Here are a few to note:

Failing to follow-up

According to a CareerBuilder survey, nearly one in four hiring managers will bypass a candidate who did not send a thank you, believing these candidates won’t follow through with work or aren’t serious about the position. Now, you’re manager may not be part of that one in four, but why take the chance? As I’ve heard from many job seekers, it may just tip the scales in your favor.

Next time: Thank the interviewer for the opportunity, even if it was a phone interview, quick coffee meeting, or an informal group setting. What should the note say besides thank you? A few things to consider are: memorable parts of the conversation, reasons you’re excited to work for the company, and places where you would create value on the job. A thank you note keeps you connected to the organization and creates a stronger relationship between you and the interviewer.

Poor online presence

The Internet has made it easier for us to communicate on a broad scale. However, it also puts us at risk of association with inappropriate content. Employers have also taken this into account: 65 percent of companies like to see if candidates present themselves professionally online. Many companies do not want to hire someone who could present the organization in a bad light, which may happen if your name is associated with inappropriate content.

Next time: Clean up your online image before the interview. Research your name in a search engine. Enable privacy settings. Put the correct social media links on your resume or portfolio so the interviewer knows exactly where to look. Make sure your name is not associated with anything that may make the organization question your professionalism or your ability to perform. These tactics will help you to stand out better online, instead of steering your name in the wrong direction.

Unreliable references

No matter how impressive you are in an interview, the words of others have a dramatic impact. Good references enhance how you presented yourself. References that are unreliable or unresponsive may harm your chances. For instance, a reference who cannot remember your accomplishments or when you worked for the organization does little to prove why you’re right for the job. It may do the opposite because your experiences are left unconfirmed.

Next time: Proactively reach out to your references to inform them they may be contacted. Let them know which accomplishments or points you highlighted in the interview. Give them a briefing on the organization, the position, and the interview as whole. This helps your references be prepared no matter what the organization throws at them.

You just weren’t a good fit

You may have walked into the interview believing it was your dream job. However, the interviewer can quickly tell if you’re right for the position based on your professional background. Company culture also plays an important role in the hiring process. It’s hard to face, but you may not be compatible and landing the position would not work well for you in the long term.

Next time: When performing your job search, focus on organizations that match your strengths, knowledge, values, and motivations. Understand why you would be a good match. Investigate how your professional background would aid in the mission a company. When you are aware of why you would work well in an organization, you’ll be able to target your job search and interview better.

Though many candidates are disappointed when they don’t hear back from a company, it’s vital to understand some key reasons behind it. Ample follow-up, your online presence, references, and being the right fit are all reasons why you may have not received a callback. Take these factors into account as you continue along your job search.

What do you think? What are some other reasons why you didn’t receive a callback?

Alan Carniol is the Founder of Interview Success Formula, an online training program that helps job seekers deliver powerfulinterview questions and answers that prove why they are the right person for the job. Follow Alan and Interview Success Formula onFacebook,Twitter, andLinkedIn

How to Perform a Job Search Overhaul This Holiday Season

By Alan Carniol

It’s that time again. The weather is colder, decorations have been lighting up the streets for weeks, and we begin to evaluate the year that has passed. Unfortunately for some, this year may have not been the best.

The unemployment rate has been on the rocks in 2012. According to Gallup, without seasonal adjustment, the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent for the month of November. With seasonal adjustments, the rate was 8.3 percent. No matter which number we’re looking at, one thing is clear: many Americans are still out of work.

However, with the holidays comes a time of reflection and the chance to start fresh. So, for those who are still looking for a job, I challenge you to do something this holiday season: overhaul your job search so you won’t be in the same place this time next year.

Here are some ways to do it:

Use new ways to show off your strengths online
The power of social networks are undeniable. According to some reports, 1 in 6 job seekers found their last job through one. However, with such heavy competition, what are some additional ways to stand out? A few suggestions include the following:

  • Start an online campaign that highlights why you’re a candidate to watch. (Here’s a great example.)
  • Highlight or pin your status updates so the most important ones are always at the top of your profiles.
  • Connect with thought leaders and dream companies and start a conversation.
  • Participate in Twitter chats to get your name out there.
  • Manage your online reputation by cleaning up any questionable posts or photos and replace them with content that reflects positively on you.
  • Always backlink to your personal website, LinkedIn profile, and/or online portfolio.

By showing off your strengths online, you begin to stand out from the sea of job seekers who are doing the bare minimum on their social networks. With nearly 2 in 5 companies using social networks to research candidates, it’s in your best interest to do so.

Make your profiles SEO friendly 
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a tactic used to help you stand out in search engines. From creating catered content to inputting keywords, SEO becomes important as more companies begin to research candidates online. Why not use the strategy amplify the power of your profiles?

For example, a job description will typically list some important details about the position. You can use the tactics of SEO, such as inputting essential keywords, into your online profiles. If the position is an advertising executive in Orlando, you could note these words in your LinkedIn headline. You can also use the same method in your Twitter bio, Facebook “About Me” section, Google+ page, or personal website. So, if an employer searches for a candidate using these keywords, your profile should pop up.

Evaluate your interview style
Many job seekers fail to connect their motivations, strengths, values, and accomplishments with the position, therefore stumbling in an interview. Take the time to evaluate your interview style, how you present yourself, and how to relay your desire for the job.

There are a number of steps to take in order to do this. First, understand the position through and through. Next, evaluate why you are right for the job, such as linking past accomplishments to the needs of the organization. You should then try to polish off your interview skills by taking an online course or practicing with a friend. You can also record yourself and then assess what works and what doesn’t. By doing so, you get to the root of your desire for the job, which will help you to be a more confident, well-versed candidate when the real interview happens.

So, as this holiday season winds down, do more than play in the snow or eat too much food. Overhaul your job search so you’re the getting the phone call, nabbing the interview, and landing the job.

Good luck!

What do you think? What are some other ways to perform a job search overhaul this holiday season?

Alan Carniol is the Founder of InterviewSuccessFormula.com, an online training program that helps job seekers deliver powerful answers that prove why they are the right person for the job. Follow Alan and Interview Success Formula on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The Top 10 Things To Always Bring Up In an Interview

By Alan Carniol

The job interview might be the only thing left between you and the position of your dreams. Even when you’re the most qualified candidate with references galore, a poor interview performance can leave a lousy impression on a potential employer.

Yet, you can avoid nearly all interview mishaps if you prepare the right way for your interview. This means always knowing which talking points to bring up — and why these points are important in determining if the position is a good fit for you.

Here is a checklist of 10 things to always bring up in an interview:

1. The work
The most fundamental goal of the interview is to determine whether you have the skills to do the job. Still, your interviewer may not even know how to figure out if you have what it takes. You must be ready to do it for them. Be prepared with a list of your top selling points so the interviewer is completely aware of your advantages over others.

2. The company
In a 2011 survey by AccountTemps, 38 percent of managers said the number one interview mistake they encountered was little or no knowledge about the hiring organization. Don’t let that happen to you. Do your homework ahead of time so you are ready to say why you want to work at that job and for that company.

3. The culture
The work environment can determine whether you love your job or hate it. Address the work culture with your interviewer to make sure your values align. There’s nothing worse than landing a job only to realize the organization is not a place where you would feel comfortable working.

4. Industry knowledge
Want to “wow” the interviewer? Show off your knowledge of the industry. Talk about recent newsworthy events or the company’s newest products. Thoroughly understanding your industry proves your passion for the field. In addition, having this knowledge suggests you have a deeper level of expertise than the average candidate.

5. Past experiences
Your past experiences demonstrate how you would perform if you landed the job. So, you want to be prepared to describe past experiences where you had a big impact. If you have numbers to back up your claims, that’s even more persuasive.

6. Portfolio
A portfolio is a visual representation of your past work. It not only shows off your accomplishments, it also gives you added value. While a portfolio may not be essential for many positions, having physical representations off your work that you can share upon request will make you look good because you went that extra mile.

7. Your plan for the position
Your interview needs to show the company what you can do for them. Lay out what you’d do, should you get the job. This plan doesn’t need to be detailed–it just needs to illustrate how you would positively contribute to the position. For instance, presenting how you would reduce customer turnover is an easy, yet beneficial way to show an employer why you would do well.

8. Your referral (if you have one)
There’s nothing wrong with name-dropping if the person helped you land the interview. If you were referred to the position, be sure to remind the interviewer. This connection may put some legitimacy behind your candidacy, as well as spark a positive conversation between you and the interviewer.

9. Thought-out questions
Always make sure you have questions at the end of the interview. From queries about the interviewer’s role to thoughts on the history of the position, questions show your desire for the job. They can also give you more insight into the role, which may not have been addressed during the more formal portion of the interview.

10. Next steps
Understanding the next steps in the interview process is essential. Always ensure you’re aware of what these are. It may be a second interview. It may be giving the company a list of references. It may mean you won’t know the outcome for a few weeks. By asking about these next steps, you’ll know what to expect and gain some peace of mind. You’ll also show your enthusiasm for this position.

As you can see, job interviews can be a much smoother process if you use this checklist. Do your research, emphasize why you are the best candidate for the job, and always leave on a good note. You’ll find the outcome of the interview will be much more positive if you do.

What do you think? What are some other things to always bring up in an interview?

Alan Carniol is the Founder of Interview Success Formula, a program that helps job seekers to deliver powerful answers that prove why they are the right person for the job. Follow Alan and Interview Success Formula on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

How to Avoid Awkward Interview Situations

By Alan Carniol

Interviews can turn into an awkward experience for any job seeker. They can be difficult to get through, impersonal, and make you feel stressed. At times, it can even feel like a bad date or a painful trip to the dentist.

You may feel out of your element. The interviewer may seem like he’s speaking gibberish. You may not understand what your next move should be. The hiring manager could be a jerk or show no emotion at all. Nerves can make it hard to speak.

Just the thought can make anyone cringe.

Even worse is the fact that those situations can prevent you from proving why you are the right fit for the job. However, there are some common ways to avoid those awkward interview moments in order to come out on top. Here are a few to note:

Do your homework beforehand

Before any type of interview, it’s important for you to do your research so you aren’t stumped by certain questions from the interviewer. For example, do you know who the CEO of the company is? What are some recent news events to note? What makes the organization better than its competitors? And most importantly, why do you want to work there?

Ample research helps you put some substance behind your responses. You’re able to position yourself as a candidate who has done your homework and understands what’s needed to do the job well. This combination can decrease the awkward factor since you’ll feel more confident.

Elaborate on your responses

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as an interview “conversation stopper.” Most of the time, it’s because the candidate is not being thorough enough or they are giving one-word responses.

An interview is not the time for yes or no answers. It’s the time to elaborate on your achievements, show through examples what you can contribute to the organization, and essentially be a salesman for yourself.

For instance: If the interviewer asks if you admire the company, don’t just say “yes.” Instead, elaborate with specific reasons. Say why you follow the company, perhaps by referring to recent events or organizational practices which impress you. Help the interviewer to understand why you want the job and to see your passion.

Know when a question is off-limits

Did you know there are certain questions that are off-limits for employers? These include your religious or political affiliation, your marital status, questions in regards to your gender, and any debt you may have, among others.

When you’re asked these sorts of questions you may feel very uncomfortable, but may also feel obligated to respond. Remember, if it’s not legal, you don’t need to answer.

If you do face such an off-limits question, counter it with alternative answers. According to Forbes, if the potential employer asks whether you’re thinking about starting a family soon, you can steer the conversation towards company career paths or your commitment to professional growth. By doing so, you put the focus back where it belongs and avoid providing information that is too personal.

You may come across your fair share of awkward interview situations. Just remember to always do your homework, elaborate on your responses, and understand when a question is off-limits. In the end, you put yourself on the fast-track to nailing the interview, and of course, landing the job.

What do you think? What are some other ways to avoid awkward interview situations?

Alan Carniol is the Founder of Interview Success Formula, a program that helps job seekers to deliver powerful answers that prove why they are the right person for the job. Follow Alan and Interview Success Formula on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

What Your Interview Style Says About You

By Alan Carniol

According to the Wall Street Journal, recruiters spend an average of 9.5 hours screening resumes and applicants for a single job opening. Even then, there’s no guarantee the person is right for the job, especially when certain interview styles raise some red flags.

With tight competition comes the need for quick decision-making, even if those judgements have to be made based on the candidates personality or overall demeanor. When it comes down to it, the real challenge for candidates is to avoid some not-so-attractive interview styles and counter them with their own personal strengths.

So, here are some common interview styles that may not be the best way to land a job — and some solutions to solve them.

The Bragger
Otherwise known as the name dropper, the bragger is the type of candidate who seems to give off the vibe that they are better than everyone else. This may be because they know someone in the industry or have more experience than the position requires. Either way, it can turn-off the potential employer quicker than the candidate can suggest they are too good for the job.

Instead: Emphasize your accomplishments and show how your past experiences can assist your potential employer in the future. As an alternative to “I’m better than everyone else,” try speaking about the key moments in your career where your success would be applicable to the company. That way, you’ll stand out in the mind of your potential employer without bragging your way to the “no” pile.

The Underprepared
The underprepared candidate is just that. Whether it means forgetting their portfolio, not remembering to bring up a key moment in their career, or failing to answer interview questions in full, being an underprepared candidate doesn’t bode well. It also shows the employer two things: first, they’re obviously not ready. Second, it seems as if they don’t care enough about the organization or the position to really show a vested interest.

Instead: Always do your research before you walk into an interview. This includes looking into company information, who’s going to be doing the interviewing, recent news, as well as materials you need to bring into the interview. When you walk into an interview mentally prepared, it will show in your responses, your confidence, and most importantly, your desire to nab the job.

The Rambler 
The rambler may suffer from interview nerves, employer intimidation, or just stage fright. As a result, they may take it one notch too far. This includes giving long-winded responses which eventually lead to disconnect between themselves and the interviewer. Though they may feel as if they’re giving more than what’s required, they’re really just making it look like they can’t get to the point or answer questions properly.

Instead: If you suffer from nerves, you’re certainly not alone. The cure? Practice, practice, practice. Take some interview courses, go over why you want the job, and do a run-through of common interview questions. That way, you’ll not only know when to end your thought, you’ll also be able to give concise answers which likely appeals more to your potential employer.

The Bad Dresser
The bad dresser may also be known as the candidate with an unkempt appearance or too much makeup. No matter which one they may be, it’s obvious if someone walks into an interview looking less than stellar. Unfortunately, the employer may take that messy suit or the uncombed hair and deem the candidate as unprofessional or unfit for the job.

Instead: Even if the company is casual, it doesn’t mean your appearance needs to be. Invest in some professional attire, avoid harsh smelling perfumes, and make sure your grooming and hygiene are top-notch. In addition, don’t forget to put some personality into your appearance. This can be done by wearing a colored shirt or a subtle piece of jewelry. In the end, you may be working at the organization, so you want to show off who you are in some capacity.

Going into an interview can be difficult for any job seeker. However, if they avoid these common interview blunders — bragging, being unprepared, rambling, and dressing badly —  those struggles will likely turn into the ultimate reward: the job.

What do you think? What are some other interview styles to avoid?

Alan Carniol is the Founder of Interview Success Formula, a program that helps job seekers to deliver powerful answers that prove why they are the right person for the job. Follow Alan and Interview Success Formula on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.