Have you ever felt confused and depressed after realizing you aren’t going to get an offer from a company? Sometimes they tell you that you didn’t get it. Often you have to figure it out on your own. Even if you’re skilled at interviewing, you might only have a 1-in-3 chance of getting an offer.
I want to share a few reasons that aren’t obvious but are reasons why even a perfect interview isn’t enough.
It might surprise you to find out that just because you applied for a job, you aren’t always interviewed for that same job.
A developer I coached went to interview at a place and felt like they did amazing but found out they didn’t get the offer. By asking someone who worked there, they found out that someone more senior quit the day before the interview, so they interviewed him for that more senior position.
Unknown to him, he was getting interviewed for a more senior position.
You’d be surprised how often this happens. Someone quitting, or your application may convince people you’re a better fit for a different job. Then without realizing it, you’re interviewing for something completely different.
The best way to get a job is through your network, so when a new position opens up, people naturally think of folks they know who would be a good fit.
To be fair, and make sure things are all above board, many companies require that a public posting go out and conduct interviews. This happens even if they already know who they want.
You might have applied and interviewed for a job that never existed.
This situation happens when companies do big staffing changes, and new leadership comes in. They want to bring their favorite people with them, and that means you never had a chance.
When you apply to a role that looks new in a company, you’re stepping into uncharted waters. The company will have an idea of what they want, but that is about it.
That means they also don’t know how to interview you.
So you might get asked a bunch of questions that you answer great but fail to convince them that you’re right for the job. That’s because they don’t know what they want and also asked poor questions.
Titles in our industry that are notorious for this are Front-End Development and Full-Stack roles. The industry still isn’t sure if Front-End is a designer or a developer, and you’ll get very different interviews depending on that opinion. Full-Stack folks face similar ambiguity problems.
You can interview perfectly and not get the offer because they just aren’t sure what they want yet.
Ever get interviewed by someone who seemed like they didn’t want to be there? I call this a “Cold Interview.”
The problem is that they came into the room not wanting to do the interview, and their attitude taints everything you say. When they think back, they’ll remember the irritating and frustrating experience and attribute that to you.
When a manager is a cold interviewer, their lousy attitude can cost you the job.
You’ll find advice everywhere to target your interviews, and that is good advice after you’re good at interviewing. However, if you’re still struggling to interview and you can’t get an offer one in three times, keep interviewing everywhere. Hone your interviewing skills.
Once you can get offers consistently, you can target your efforts to the companies you think you want to work for. Bear in mind, though, there are no guarantees here, and there is always a chance that you don’t get the job even if you execute flawlessly.
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