June 6, 2022
Final Interview Mistakes That Can Cost You the Job
by Kris Gibson
A question I get asked a lot is “How many interviews will there be?”. While there is no set rule, I’d say three is the most common, but again, it varies. The best piece of advice I can ever offer for people entering the interview process is this: remember that the goal of every stage, not just interviews, is simply to make it to the next one. You don’t get the job in any one interview, test, assessment, or conversation, but you can lose it in one.
Interviewing is a little like dating. As you move forward it becomes reasonable to assume the parties like one another, often to an increasing degree. Of course, like dating and relationships, that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily safe.
While seeing a person “blow it” in a first interview is certainly more common than seeing it happen in a final interview, that isn’t to say the latter is too rare. But how? How on earth do you get through a few rounds and then see it all undone?
Remember that it’s like dating and relationships. Often it’s new information coming to light, many times in the form of someone changing something significant. “I actually don’t want to get married” or “I want to live in the city” are the kinds of things that, when they come as changes of heart, can derail a relationship.
Did you misrepresent something about your past experience? Have you changed anything in your ask or expectations along the way? These are generally where things break down in interviews too. A candidate said they were comfortable relocating early on, only to change their tune later in the process. A resume said they have worked with large accounts but as they progress and things get into the technical stage, it becomes clear they have not. Initially a candidate was looking for $75,000 in salary and now, as they prepare an offer, the person says $85,000.
Inconsistency, or anything that is akin to or perceived as dishonesty, is never a good thing in a job search. When you craft your resume, you want to hit highlights and cast yourself in a positive, competent, and capable light, but be sure not to embellish. It is good practice to assume everything you put on there will be fact checked. In many cases, it is. Will what you outlined hold up?
You also want to sit down at the outset of your search and determine your search parameters, goals, and expectations. Write them down. Then, use what you wrote down to hold any new position and/or employer to them. Are they willing and able to provide what you need? You also use what you wrote down to hold yourself accountable. Are you sticking to what you said matters? Compromising too much is a recipe for dissatisfaction later on, so be honest with yourself and avoid it.
Be consistent and honest and it will help you avoid blowing an interview, or even an offer, late in the process.