Sometimes, it's the small and meaningless details that prevent us from landing a job. In today's job economy, employers are looking for anything and everything to differentiate the winners and the losers. As flawed as that may be, it's smart to land outside that trap.
1. You're disheveled
Maybe they're looking for a detail-oriented, organized individual to manage records and workflows. We all say we're detail-oriented, so the employer might use your unironed shirt and out of breath entrance as a proxy for your organizational skills.
2. You almost whisper
Have a soft demeanor? Maybe English isn't your first language? Either way, you might speak softly and have it work for you in work and with friends, but during an interview, it can be perceived as a lack of confidence or sales skills. Whether you're the loud type or not, learn to project so they can hear the oomph behind your answers and learn about you before they say no because of your volume.
3. You ask too many questions
Find out everything you need to know about an employer. Just maybe not all in one sitting! If you're asking a ton of questions and not doing as much listening, you can be mistaken as someone who needs a lot of support and resources. Pace your information gathering and find out what you need to know over time, not all in the first interview.
4. Your references are flakey
Make sure your references know you've sent their information to an employer. Tell them about the types of roles and companies you're applying to so that they have context around what they should be saying. Finally, follow up with your references when you know an employer should be checking in with them -- things can get lost in an email inbox or voicemail, so give them a gentle reminder.
5. You've got inconsistencies
Does your LinkedIn say you ended a job in March while your resume says April? Do you reference a position you've had without explaining why it isn't on your resume? These small things add up in an interviewer's mind, and they'll always be looking for someone they don't need to check up on.
6. You didn't follow up
In today's age of too many resumes in a stack and not enough time, following up and staying diligent truly put you ahead of the pack. While it may be a misguided thing to do, some employers are even letting it be a full filter for who they pass through a round of interviews. Stay on top of your game!
7. You misjudged the dress code
This is another one we urge employers not to focus on, but it can still enter an interviewer's mind. If you aren't sure how they dress in a particular office, do not be afraid to ask. It's a completely normal question and shows that you care enough to check.
8. You didn't thank each interviewer
Everyone you interact with in an organization during an interview will be asked to weigh in when it's time to evaluate you. That means you should take the extra effort to ask your main point of contact for everyone's information and send them a short thank you. Nail this, you'll often nail the job.
9. You didn't have a story
This one is especially important for recent college graduates or folks with minimal work experience. Even if you don't have previous jobs to talk about, you should craft a cohesive story about your past -- passions, hobbies, organizations, major, family, sports. Whatever you talk about, it gives the interviewer something to remember you by and that you're more than whatever skills you're trying to sell them.
10. You're deathly ill
We can't tell why people do this, but coming into an interview with a feverish, pale glow is never a good idea. Reschedule! If you think you're getting the job when you look your worst, you're mistaken, so it's always better to take the hit of having to reschedule than coming in and sneezing all over someone's desk.
11. You spoke too fast
This isn't a personality or style thing. A lot of your interviewers will probably be fast talkers themselves. But if you speak too fast, they might not be digesting what you're saying. You want them to hear your answers to their questions, ask follow ups, and remember your responses later. Take it nice and slow between sentences or paragraphs and give them the time to give you the job.