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  • Sandra Laws - Career Coach

3 Reasons Why You Are Unsuccessful in Job Interviews

One of things I love doing is coaching individuals who have been unsuccessful in job interviews. Today I am going to explore three common reasons why candidates fail in job interviews and how to avoid these mistakes.


I believe there is a clear link between preparation and interview success. When I worked as a hiring manager, I interviewed a candidate who had an outstanding job application, but her interview performance was extremely disappointing. The candidate was unable to identify any of the company’s values or mission statement. The candidate’s answers were generic and vague: the examples provided did not match the core competencies for the position. Although her job application indicated that the candidate met all the essential requirements position, she did not articulate how she could perform key tasks. This candidate subsequently received low scores on her interview performance and unfortunately did not receive a job offer. Avoid leaving your interview to chance, allow plenty of time to research the organization. Prepare your interview example answers so that you have a framework to follow. I would like recommended your read the article: How to Prepare for a Job Interview.


A job interview and a sales meeting have a common goal: to sell or buy a service. A job interview is a sales meeting. Your goal is to persuade the hiring manager that you can deliver the best service to solve their problems and achieve their goals. In this recruitment setting, the hiring manager could be viewed the “customer” who deciding whether you buy your services for their company. Similarly, the job candidate is a brand and, therefore, it is important to apply the key principles of selling to approach the interview. Before the interview panel can buy your brand, they must be persuaded to buy into the benefits and unique selling points of your offer.

The objective in a job interview is to persuade the hiring manager (customer) to buy your services. To be effective, you will need to understand what is important to the “customer”. For example, to develop new solutions to solve their problems or deliver to their bottom line. It is important to emphasise the benefits of your personal brand.

Your personal brand is crucial if you want to stand out in the job market. Do you know what your unique selling point is? To identify your personal brand, you will need to assess your unique skills and experience. What different experiences or skills do you have that will make you stand out from the crowd. Is there an area in your work experience that is distinct from your colleagues? Do you have some unique projects that you have worked on or have you worked with unique clients? To get noticed, it is crucial to expand on how you are different from other candidates. Identify the benefits of your experience and how they align with the core competencies of the position.

Examples of Benefits:

Organisational Skills – I can prioritise analytical reports within tight deadline to ensure the company’s international client targets are met.

Flexibility – if a colleague is unexpectedly absent, I can adapt and switch tasks to take on extra workload when needed.

Unique Experience – I am familiar with a similar accounting system and I would require minimal training for the company’s SAP accounting system.

"Brand yourself for the career you want, not the job you have" - Dan Schawbel


Interviews can be stressful and sometimes you have not listened to the question or do not understand the question the interviewer has asked, or you answered a question that you were not asked. There are occasions when candidates are eager to talk about all their achievements which do not relate to the actual interview. It is important to avoid rambling or drifting off the main topic of the question.

Listen carefully to questions and ask the interviewer to clarify if you do not fully understand the question. Answer the question the interviewer has asked you, not what you think the interviewer will ask or you want them to ask. You may need to let go of the example answers you had prepared for the interview if the interviewer has not asked you a question that relates to this example.


Preparing for a job interview takes careful planning and practice. By preparing, you will boost your confidence and avoid being thrown off guard with any unexpected interview questions.

I hope you received some value from today's article, let me know. If you are someone who becomes overwhelmed and not quite sure where to start when preparing for an interview, then episode 15 of my podcast is for you: Interview Prep Checklist. In the episode I cover the six crucial steps you need to follow when preparing for your interview.

How can I support you in this year? What career goals are you working on right now? Book a free 30-minute consultation, email

You will find information, support, tip and guidance to nail the job interview in the weekly podcast: Jump Start Your Career.



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