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Job Interview: Beat The 10 Common Reasons People Fail - Project Mgt PMP|Event Mgt|Digital Marketing|PR|HR|Trainings

The Learning Edge’s recruitment agency, Edge Recruiting Agency has been offering staff placement services for many years now. We have noticed many individuals who despite how smart they are, end up failing in many a job interview.

When an individual is invited for a job interview, they get excited. The excitement is as a result of that feeling of “this might just be it!” Walking into the premises of the firm will either heighten or dampen that excitement, depending on the perception the environment sells the applicant at first sight.

While a little is determined by this up or down surge of excitement, there are other factors that may result in the failure of an individual. Some of them are

1. Getting intimidated by other candidates

Looking at the way other candidates are dressed, what they drive, and how they carry themselves make some people to lose their hope of getting the job. If you go before the panel with this mindset, your lack of confidence in yourself will show. This is a very good way of losing the fight before it even starts.

2. Not paying attention to details

Going through some people’s resumes will make you wonder if they actually went to school. Many candidates go to
cybercafes or business centres to have their Curriculum Vitae done for them by semi-literate computer operators.
These computer operators only changes the names, qualifications and references. Then they will copy
something from somewhere and paste it under an heading they call “career objectives”. That’s all!

The candidate does not check if the timelines on the CV are uniform. They don’t check to see if there are typos. They don’t check for grammatical errors. They just print and take off.

3. Using same approach for every interview

Each interview is unique and should be handled so. The fact that the panel of one interview you went for liked a
particular thing you said does not mean that the next one will like it. What you say to a management job interview panel should be different from what you say to a technical job interview panel.

The way you craft your CV for both jobs should also be different. I advise people to even have different CVs for different kinds of jobs.

4. Lack of understanding of the role & organization

Imagine sitting before an interview panel and you are responding to their questions using the same terms that
those who occupy the role use. Imagine speaking the “language” of those on the interview panel. Imagine using
terms like ROI, Cost of Quality and so on during the interview. Only a proper understanding of the role will help you to know which terms will resonate with your interviewers.

A proper understanding of the organization and what they stand for will also help you to get the job. Imagine
dressing based on their dress code while going for the interview.

5. Depending on their certificates & certifications

Many candidates think the moment they have certain certificates and certifications, they will be able to ace any interview. This is why many PMP, GHRP, ACCA and even Masters Degree holders do not have jobs, despite being told that these certifications will help them to get jobs. No one will employ because of your certificate, so get over
yours. Your certificate will get you through the door but you will have to do the remaining. As a matter of fact, the higher your qualification, the more likely you will disappoint the interview panel. This is because the interviewers will question you based on your perceived knowledge. But unfortunately, too many candidates don’t live up to their certificates.

6. Being cocky

For whatever reason, many candidates come before an interview panel being very cocky. They are over-confident
and make it look like the interview panel is beneath them. I once interviewed a very young guy who was very cocky. On probing further, I noticed that his over-confidence was a result of the fact that he graduated quite early, at 20. I’m very sure he had people who are up to 30 graduating alongside him. Well, I wasn’t looking for someone who graduated early. I was looking for someone who can solve a problem for me. And instead of convincing me that he can solve the problem, he irritated me. A candidate should be confident, but over-confidence will cause him to fail the job interview.

7. Lack of confidence

If you appear weak to the job interview panel, you will not get the job. A few things can destroy the confidence of some candidates. We have mentioned one above already – feeling of intimidation by other candidates. However, the
most common reason for this is a lack of proper preparation. But there are a few exceptions where the candidate is prepared but lacks confidence as a result of past failures and fear of failure. If this is the case for you, you need to speak to a career coach for help.

8. Portraying a Lack of Focus

Imagine a candidate applying for the position of Management Trainee and his CV shows that he has worked as a teacher, cook, shoe seller, restaurant assistant and so on. All these positions are NOT homogenous at all. A portrayal of lack of focus in your words and on your CV will definitely lead to failing the job interview.

9. Not looking presentable

How you look when going for a job interview is so important because that is the first impression the panel gets of you. They form an opinion of you even before the interview starts. For example, putting on a pair of Jeans and a shirt while interviewing for a managerial job is folly.

A suit is the most appropriate for such. If it is a technical company, then a nice jacket on that pair of Jeans and shirt will definitely do some good.

A word of advice: It is not nice to carry a backpack when you put on a tie and suit. The effect is not always good on your clothes.

10. Not Fighting

When an interviewer is asking you too many questions and drilling you in an unusual way, it means that they likely
want to hire you. The drilling and pushing is just a way to see if they are right about you. When they do this, fight back with humble confidence because the job is almost yours. If you get uncomfortable and chicken out because of this, they will go for another candidate who knows how to be subtly fiery.

So, those are some of the most common reasons people fail interviews.

Kindly leave a comment below.

The Learning Edge Writer


  • Olayemi

    June 30, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Great article. I learned a great deal. Thanks.

  • Mathew Edigbe

    July 27, 2016 at 6:09 am

    Well, these are interesting facts and observable in different interview. However, what I want from you is to always get back to applicant you have not selected.

    Send sms/email notifying applicant or feedback. Applicant can also know their faith after the interview only if they are told instead telling them “you will hear from us”.


    • The Learning Edge Writer

      July 27, 2016 at 6:14 am

      Thanks for your comment Mathew and also for the suggestion. We already do that anyway. Have a great day!

  • Ben Egunmwedia

    December 4, 2016 at 1:55 am

    Thanks for your fair selection process. I’ve finally resumed work after being out of job for almost one year.

    • The Learning Edge Writer

      December 4, 2016 at 2:41 am

      Congratulations Ben. We do our best.

Comments are closed.

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