I’ve interviewed thousands of candidates during my career as a recruiter. I’ve noticed that people who get rejected tend to do the same few things, whether it’s a phone or in-person meeting. Are you unsure if you’ve ever done one of the top five things that could get you automatically crossed off a hiring manager’s list? Luckily, they’re easy to fix! Here’s what candidates do to get rejected after an interview:

1. They don’t follow up.

Following up isn’t only a way to check up on your application, it shows that you care and gives you the chance to thank your interviewers for the time they spent with you. Following up  demonstrates that you’re passionate about the opportunity and are ready to do whatever it takes to get noticed.

2. They don’t sound interested or passionate.

Have you ever tried listening to a speech by someone who really doesn’t like speaking? You probably won’t remember what the person was even talking about simply because their voice didn’t capture your attention.

Your tone of voice is what draws people in and makes them believe what you’re saying – it’s so important that you keep tabs on it during an interview. People can hear when you’re nervous and uncomfortable, and it makes them nervous and uncomfortable. This distracts them from what you’re saying and the impact of your message is lost. My top tip: sit up straight and smile when you talk. Having good posture actually tricks your brain into thinking that you’re more confident than you are, and a smile will help you look more approachable and interesting.

3. They answer too quickly.

What a lot of people forget is that it’s perfectly fine if you take a few moments to pause, take a sip of water, and think about the question you’ve just been asked before you launch into an answer. The more quickly you answer, the less likely it is that what you say will be clear, concise, and compelling.

When you’ve been given a loaded question like ‘tell me about yourself’ or ‘describe how your expertise fits with the role’, try to think about what you’re going to say in threes. Shortlist the top three reasons why you’re the best candidate and three supporting examples. Your brain is more likely to remember things in threes and it is also the optimal amount of points to talk about when you’re trying to persuade someone.

4. They haven’t prepared.

It’s obvious when someone comes into an interview unprepared. Your ‘ums’ and ‘uhs’ don’t just make you feel like you’re stumbling over your words, they actually make the interviewer feel awkward, which changes the entire tone of your interview. When you ramble and get off topic as a result, your interviewer will likely tune out.

Before you go into the interview, prepare your answers to a few general questions such as:

  • Tell me a bit about yourself
  • Why are you the best candidate for the role?
  • What are some ways you can help the company?
  • Why are you interested in this company?

Coming up with three key points and supporting examples will force you to critically think about your application, which will make it easier for you to pick and choose what you want to say when similar questions are asked during the actual interview.

5. They don’t ask relevant questions.

I can’t stress enough how important it is that you ask relevant, though-provoking questions at the end of an interview. I’d even go so far as to say that a well-thought through and interesting question can save your interview if it wasn’t going as well as you’d hoped. Relevant questions are those that relate to the industry, company, and your role. For example, if you’re applying for a role that’s new to the company, a great question could be: ‘how will my role support the rest of the organization to overcome (industry trend)? What role will I play in responding to the threat posed by (top competitor’s recent development)?’

Are you a recruiter or hiring manager with advice to share? Do you have some quick tips on how to succeed in an interview? Tell me about your experiences in the comments section!