Beware of Post-Interview Impressions

Think you got the job? Think you blew it? Not so fast.

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Michael Wade
The interview went off without a hitch. All the questions were well-handled. Vibrations were positive. A couple of interview panel members even showed the candidate where his office would be and asked him which desk he’d prefer.

He left believing the job was his.

He never heard from them again.

Across town, another job candidate staggered to the parking lot after having given what she thought was a disastrous interview performance. On her drive home, she reviewed every flubbed answer and pinpointed every raised eyebrow and each negative intonation. There were many.

She got the job.

Go figure. I’ve heard HR types dismiss a candidate who provided substantive answers to their toughest questions. “He (or she) was just too smooth,” they groan. “No matter what we threw out, he had a solution.” At the same time, sometimes they sympathize with a candidate who seems more human and more genuine or, truth be told, less threatening.

The value of dissecting and analyzing a job interview only goes so far. How can you decide why you were or were not chosen when the decision makers themselves may not be able to answer that question? When you complete the interview, give it a simple review to determine what was handled well and not so well, plan any needed changes, and then move on. Look for patterns and yet don’t be devastated if it didn’t go swimmingly, or be cocky if it was flawless.

Yes, there are logical and well-reasoned selection decisions, however, there are so many that are not that it makes little sense to spend a lot of time reviewing your performance. You may land or lose the job in spite of your self-critique.

Michael Wade writes, an eclectic combination of management advice, observations, and links. A partner with the Phoenix firm of Sanders Wade Rodarte Consulting Inc., he has advised private and public-sector organizations for more than 30 years.