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  • Writer's pictureMatt Chung

3 Biggest Reasons Why You (Might) Not Be Passing Your Job Interviews

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

If you are frustrated with failed interviews but unsure what you’re missing, you need to read this post.

Suppose you’re not passing the interviews even though you know you’re qualified, or you make the 2nd/3rd rounds but find yourself repeatedly passed over. In that case, you’re in the right place because in today’s article, I’ll reveal the 3 most common reasons why qualified job candidates miss out on offers they deserve. Let’s go.

  1. Not preparing for your responses beforehand.

  2. One common misconception many job seekers have | is that they are supposed to just show up at and interview | and say whatever comes to their mind on the spot. They think that this is being genuine and authentic.

  3. But let me humbly submit to you, that is a terrible idea!

  4. If you had an important presentation or a business meeting that could change your career trajectory, would you make sure to prepare for it as best as you can, or will you just wing it? Of course you will prepare! An interview is the same – in fact, it’s probably more difficult.

  5. Think about it with me. An interview is around how long? About 30-60 minutes (max right?). And remember, the interviewer doesn’t know you at all in most situations. You have to make enough impact and convince someone you never met before that you are the ideal person for the job in just 30 to 60 minutes!

  6. Do you think being intentional about what you will speak, what you will emphasize will be crucial?

  7. Yes of course! And you only get one chance!

  8. OK, sure, maybe you will be able to get by in the first round even if you were not so intentional. But as you progress through to the subsequent rounds | and compete with other people who have also passed the previous interviews | how focused and strategic your response and stories are (and as a result, how convincingly you present yourself) will directly impact the result.

  9. How many times have you thought after the interview, “oh man, I should have said this instead of that!” “I should have talked about this, why didn’t I?” “Oh, the last example I used was terrible. Why did I even bring it up? These are all regrets that we make as a result of lack of preparation and can easily be solved with a little bit of work beforehand.

  10. Remember, only one person gets the job. At the end of the day, the employer can only choose one person to hire! Your job is not just to make decent answers, your job during most interviews is to convince that you are the ideal, the number 1 candidate, better than everyone else in contention.

  11. If you only make decent, OK responses throughout the process, you may still proceed to 2/3rd rounds but will not be the person with the offer. At least not for the dream job at an ideal employer of your choice.

  12. The Good news is that there are only about 10 to maybe 15 questions you need to know to cover 80%+ of questions you’ll face in pretty much any interview.

  13. Some examples of these questions include, “tell me about yourself, what are you strengths and weaknesses, what are your career goals, why are you interested in this role”, etc.

  14. Besides working on these questions, you should also decide beforehand the stories/experiences that you will bring up (with clear achievements and stats) so that you won’t miss your most impactful selling points and stay focused the whole time.

  15. Lack of confidence

Picture this with me. You just bought your dream home. You have worked so hard for this moment, you have amazing ideas and you’re looking for an interior designer to create an incredible blueprint. You’re having a meeting with a potential designer to decide if you want to go with this person.

How would you feel if she, from the moment you meet her, hardly makes eye contact, speaks so softly you can barely hear her, and sounds unsure about everything she’s telling you?

Contrast that with another person who confidently starts the meeting with a firm handshake. She seems calm and poised clearly explains to you what can and cannot be achieved for your home and why. She doesn’t come across arrogant but seems fully convinced she can deliver everything she says she can do for you.

Which person would you trust your precious time and hard-earned dollars with? The answer is obvious!

In the same way, when you show up for an interview, the employer is looking for someone who can do the same for them! Someone who can help them and meet their needs. The only reason a company would hire someone is because they have an important initiative, a problem to be solved, major projects, and things they need to improve. And they are looking for someone who can help them meet those needs, solve their problems and deliver the desired results.

As they interview different candidates, who do you think will assure them that they can do the job for them? Someone who is nervous, speaks with no authority or conviction, and doesn’t seem to believe in what they are saying? Or someone who is composed, confident in herself and engages the interviewer with energy?

I mean, who would you like to work with?

Of course, the big question is, how can I have more confidence? It’s not like I want to be nervous on purpose right?

A great question. I posted a blog about this topic previously, so I won’t get into too much detail, but here are 2 super effective tips.

  1. The first tip is: Preparation

  2. Instead of talking on the spot in a highly, highly tense environment where you are constantly being judged or assessed, preparation (or sufficient preparation) can significantly relieve the pressure.

  3. Improvisation is hard | and most people (even seasoned professionals) will find it nerve-wracking | if they had to respond on the spot |at an important meeting or presentation.

  4. By preparing beforehand, having gathered the necessary information, understanding what the employer is looking for, having thought through what you need to cover and what you should not bring up, AND practicing your delivery, you will find that your confidence will be at a completely new level as a result.

  5. And the second one is: shifting the focus. Mindset change

  6. Another big reason why we find ourselves nervous is because of the focus on self. Because we are focused on ourselves during the interview and are bombarded with thoughts like: oh, I really want this job, I wonder how I’m doing, what are they thinking of me?, oh no I made a mistake, etc.

  7. A useful trick we can use when we start feeling the lack of confidence is to shift our focus away from ourselves and making it about the other person. In this case, the employer.

  8. You see, as much as we want the job, it’s just as true that the employer needs help too; they have real needs and problems that need solving. And they are hoping that you would be the person to help them.

  9. During the interview (and especially when you start feeling nervous), make a decision that you’re not there to prove yourself, but instead, you’re there to help the interviewer and the employer.

  10. When our focus is helping other people, we are not as nervous. And you’d be surprised at how this technique of changing your mindset will help you get over the nerves.

  11. Not only that, as you keep setting the goal of the meeting as how you can help the company (instead of what you get from them), they will, in turn, recognize you care about their needs first, | and as a result, also be drawn to you | that much more.

  12. Communication skills

We all intuitively know that our communication and delivery matter. But just how much? Well, according to well-respected and accepted research, the answer is 7, 38, and 55.

What do these numbers mean? These numbers represent how meaning is conveyed through spoken word, tone of voice and body language, respectively. In other words, 7 percent of meaning is communicated through spoken word, 38 percent through tone of voice, and 55 percent through body language.

Now we may argue how accurate these specific figures are. But one thing is clear: your communication skills have far greater impact than even the words you say.

The fact is that people remember how you made them feel much more than what you said to them. And this is true in interviews, too. At the end of the day, employers are drawn to people who make them feel assured and convinced that they are the right person.

And how do we induce such emotions? Mainly through the way we communicate.

For example,

  1. How often do we use Filler words

  2. Our Vocal quality

  3. Facial expressions

  4. How we make eye contact

  5. The way we stand or sit

  6. And others.

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