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You’ve just left an interview with your dream employer, thinking that you made the shortlist for a lucrative virtual assistant position.

You’re so delighted with your performance that you even throw an anticipatory celebration as you await the good news.

Days fly by, and within two weeks, you get a response with the opposite of good news.

The email states that you were a strong candidate, but the company opted to move on with the search.

You’re beyond crushed.

You can’t help but wonder what went wrong with what you thought was a perfect interview.

The truth of the matter is that you can never truly know what went wrong during an interview.

It could be that the company chose to recruit internally, or you made some crucial mistakes that killed your chance of getting hired.

Instead of being too hard on yourself for the missed chance, go back to your job search, but this time, avoid these disastrous mistakes.

A Dubious Online Presence

Companies are keen to onboard employees who share their values, mission, and also project a professional image.

In addition to assessing your suitability during the interview, recruiters turn to the internet for deeper insights into your personality.

What the social media dive returns can make or break your chances of success.

A quick peek at your online presence is enough for a hiring manager to gain insights into your personality and make a hiring decision.

 A recruiter will bin your application if your social media handles reveal you to be an insensitive and obnoxious person.

Or, if you hold extremist views on sensitive issues such as gender roles, race, politics, and religion.

That might paint you as a bigot who is incapable of keeping an open mind or accommodating and respecting people who hold divergent views.

Such people don’t make a good fit for a company staffed with people drawn from a diverse background.

Take a fine comb through your social media platforms and eliminate anything that might ruin your credibility in the eyes of a recruiter.

Remove any posts and pictures that paint you as a party animal or memes that show you embracing shady morals or work ethics.

In addition to cleaning up your online presence, you can use your social media profile to bolster your skills and expertise.

For instance, you can use your Linked In profile as a sounding board to show off your knowledge.

You stand a better chance of being picked if you can demonstrate to the recruiters that you’re passionate about your career and don’t view the job as a chore that pays the bills.

Sounding Like a Drone

There’s more to passing an interview than answering all questions correctly.

Recruiters are all too aware that you can find many, if not all, interview questions and answers on the internet.

Therefore, they look at other factors, such as body language and engagement level, during the interviewing process.

You don’t want to sound too rehearsed when fielding questions as you may come off as disengaged and merely going through the motion.

Instead of feeding a hiring manager a line during the interview, seize the opportunity to let your personality shine as you answer the questions.

Adapt the interview questions to the company’s needs, demonstrate your skills, knowledge, and capabilities.

This approach shines a light on your level of preparedness for the interview and acute understanding of the company’s goals, values, and needs.

It affords you a chance to rope in the firm’s products, target market, marketing strategies, and market position into your answers.

You also want some of your personality to shine through as you interact with the interviewers as that gives them a feel of what it’s like to have you as a colleague.

Take a look at a few practice interview questions, but customize the answers to suit your life circumstances and experience.

Instead of giving generic answers, giving detailed responses and explanations that demonstrate your expertise and knowledge about the company makes you sound genuine and authentic.

You also want to appear humble and self-aware instead of arrogant and self-entitled.

Sound off some of your answers with a friend in a mock interview to boost your confidence and delivery.

Coming off as a Nervous Wreck

An interview can make or break your life, and with stakes this high, it’s only natural to be nervous.

However, being too nervous during an interview can ruin any chances of landing the dream job.

Most interviews follow the same script – you walk into a room full of high-ranking strangers who then invite you to talk about yourself.

That sounds easy, were it not for the fact that these strangers are judging your responses, demeanor, appearance, and ability to sell yourself.

That’s what makes interviews an anxiety-inducing affair.

Despite the sky-high antes, an interview is nothing more than an invitation to humblebrag about your life, skills, and achievements.

Thinking of it this way can help you ace any interview by coming off as smooth, poised, and professional.

Successful candidates speak clearly and concisely without using filler words such as uhm and like – the hallmark of an efficient communicator.

Recruiters are keen to hire such people, especially for client-facing positions, because it gives an insight into how they will interact with customers and clients.

Running a series of mock interviews can help you zero in on your communication problems.

Create an effective communicator checklist and have a friend score you on it.

Some of the items on the list could include the ability to communicate clearly and succinctly, eliminating filler words, and the ability to customize answers to fit the company’s situation.

Run as many mock interviews as you need to eliminate any shortcomings that bubble to the surface. This will increase your chances of getting on the shortlist.

Remember, recruiters are looking to onboard workers who can represent their brands to clients in a professional manner.

Therefore, working on your communication skills will also help you become a top performer when hired for the role.

Coming off as Arrogant

While you want to come off as confident and competent during an interview, you should tone it down enough so that you come across as arrogant.

Hiring managers can spot an arrogant applicant from a mile away, and that ruins your chances of getting hired.

Arrogant interviewees have poor listening skills and are not above lecturing the interviewers to prove their seniority or superiority.

More than just antagonizing the recruiters, unbridled arrogance is a sure way of ruining an interview.

No one, much less a hiring manager, wants to work with a colleague who thinks the world of themselves and their abilities.

Instead, they are out to hire a team player who is not above taking criticism and feedback from fellow workers or asking for help and guidance from supervisors and higher-ups.

Rather than rock the boat, you need to be confident while maintaining a level of humility and self-awareness.

Focus on demonstrating how you can be of value to the company and how the company stands to benefit by hiring you instead of asserting your authority.

If when the company desperately needs your services, resist the urge to act like a godsend.

Answer each question with professional courtesy, and don’t talk over an interviewer even when you disagree with them.

If there’s a personality clash, be the bigger person and keep matters from escalating into a heated argument.

A recruiter might opt to hire a less skilled applicant who is more personable than a highly qualified, but arrogant, individual.

Arrogant workers make for a toxic working environment, something many companies are keen to avoid, for it leads to a productivity dip and high staff turnover.

Hone Your Job Skills

More than having excellent interviewing skills, you need a dependable set of skills to land your dream job.

An interview gets you through the door, but it’s your skills and job ethics that let you keep the job.

If you find that your skills aren’t up to snuff, take advantage of various learning resources and hone them as quickly as possible.

You can enroll for paid courses run by specialist companies such as Small Revolution and lower the learning curve by learning from skilled experts.  

Small Revolution affords you a chance to hone and polish many job skills that give you an edge when applying for a remote position.

Check out some of the courses available and enroll today.

Photo by pressfoto / CC BY

Katrina McKinnon
Author

I'm Katrina McKinnon, founder of McKinnon Group and Small Revolution. I'm using my 20 years' experience in building and operating online businesses to create engaging educational materials that helps others become successful online workers. Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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