Five Reasons People Fail Job Interviews

Your resume was flawless and you shined during the job interview…so why didn’t you get the job?

There are many possible reasons: the company decided they wanted something different than what they advertised; maybe someone else was a better fit; or maybe you didn’t shine as well as you thought.

You may never know the reason, unless you ask and the employer is willing to disclose that information to you.

Five Reasons People Fail Job Interviews

There are, however, five important reasons why most people fail at job interviews. Make sure one of these haven’t slipped under your radar and is keeping you from landing that job you want.


Unforeseen things happen. You had a flat tire. Traffic backed up. Your child woke up with a fever. These things happen and may cause you to be late to work once in a while. There is no excuse, however, for arriving late to a job interview.

You should always plan to arrive early, giving you time to compensate for unforeseen delays. You should also call and let the interviewer know that delays you’ve encountered even if you still hope to make it on time. That’s common courtesy and lets the employer know that you are responsible, diligent and accountable.

Body language

You can be the most eloquent person on the planet, but how does your body language stack up?

Are you betraying your confidence by slouching when you sit down? Did you look everywhere in the office except into the interviewer’s eyes? Did you offer a weak, insecure handshake when you introduced yourself?

Studies show that you have approximately five seconds to make a first impression at a job interview. First impressions are 55% body language, 38% the tone of your voice and 7% the actual words spoken.

Since body language counts so much, you have to practice it just as much as you practice responding to interview questions. Practice making eye contact when you talk and relaxing your body without letting it slump and slouch when you sit down.

Make sure you deliver the whole, confident package that you are during an interview.

Be confident, not cocky

There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Be mindful to stay on the side of confident. You know your strengths and can talk intelligently about them by giving clear examples. You also know your weaknesses and what you plan to do to develop your skills. That is confidence.

Bragging, exaggerating or making bold, so-called humorous statements is arrogance and comes across to an interviewer as insecurity. Can you hear the difference in these examples?

Confident: “I’d like to be a skilled HR executive, hiring qualified individuals for this company in two years.”

Arrogant: “I want to replace you in your job in a couple of years.”

Confident: “My last employer praised me as the fastest typist he’d seen in years.”

Arrogant: “I’m really fast. I can type circles around anyone.”

Confident: “My research on accounting software saved my former employer $35,000.”

Arrogant: “My former employer is going to be lost without my expertise and skills.”

Never lie on your resume or during an interview

You want potential employers to want to hire you for your skills, knowledge and possibilities. You don’t want to make promises you aren’t sure you can deliver. Lying about what you’ve done or can do is unethical…and the lie will be exposed eventually.

It’s just plain difficult to maintain a lie! First you have to remember what lie you told initially, and second, you almost always have to tell more lies to cover the first lie. It simply isn’t worth it.

Know the company you’re trying to work for

The last thing you want to do in a job interview is look like you didn’t prepare for it. This means you know who you are and how you present yourself during an interview. It also means you know about the company you are trying to work for.

Interviewers never want to hear you ask “What does your company do?” You should know this information and have thoughtful questions ready when the interviewer asks you if there’s anything you want him/her to answer for you.

Research the organization beforehand. Work that information into your interview responses. It shows a potential employer that you are detail-oriented, have interest in what the organization does, and are able to plan ahead.