It’s Not You, It’s Me: Why Companies Fail The Interview

Joining a company is like starting a new relationship. And while you like to consider yourself open-minded, when it comes to a career partnership, you still have boundaries. You still have deal-breakers. How do you know what they are?

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Know your ideal setting.

In order for you to determine if you are a suitable partner for your future company, your self-awareness needs to be high. You need to know the kind of workplace environment in which you will flourish. You must understand if you have a need for structure and have a grasp on the amount of fire drills you can handle in a position. (Every 5 minutes, no thank you…every few days, I got this!)


Actively listen and ask follow up questions.

When you have an opportunity to learn about your next career partner, remember, YOU are interviewing them just as much as THEY are interviewing you, dear interviewee. When they tell you that you are responsible for knowing all aspects of your Client’s business, ask them about their communication habits. Are there daily status meetings or emails? Is there a process or structure in place? Do they fly by the seat of their pants? Try to get a feel for their culture and daily flow and then, thanks to your heightened self-awareness, decide if it’s a good fit.

dress for work

Be original. If it doesn’t work, it was not meant to be.

When being original worked: I once walked into an organization without an appointment and a few weeks later I started what became a successful 4-year partnership. I once walked into an interview with a swollen lip and bandaged face thanks to a bike accident the night before and I still got the gig. Be confidently yourself – if you were meant to join their ranks, it will work out!


When being original didn’t work: Another time, I had been in contact with an organization and was in town for only one day. My contact said she could not meet with me. I had other appointments that day so I decided to stop by to hand-deliver my resume to my contact or the receptionist.


The receptionist looked down her nose at me and rudely informed me that I really shouldn’t come this close to lunch (it was 11:45am). I smiled and chirped; yes well I was in the area and just thought I’d stop by! When she did phone my contact my contact answered, spent 90 seconds on the phone with the receptionist, yet declined to come to the lobby to shake my hand, look me in the eye, and collect my resume. Behind the receptionist, “face to face marketing” the company motto, was painted on the wall. I smiled at the irony and left. Be original – if you were not meant to join their ranks, it won’t work out and you can at least get an amusing story from the experience.


Watch out for the bum rush.

If the company is eager to get you in the door as fast as possible ask yourself why? Are they trying to snatch you up from the competition? Is the competition potentially a better fit for you? When you feel they are suddenly rushing you, take a moment to pause and consider all of your options. Verify all of the other options before making your choice.


You are gracious no matter what.

There are things you can do to position yourself for success when looking for a job and post-interview, proper etiquette will include following up with a hand written thank you note.  This is not negotiable.

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Kelly Christiansen

A top columnist at MsCareerGirl, marketing guru Kelly Christiansen has 10+ years of strategic leadership experience and is a Senior Marketing Strategist on the Health Care team at Kahler Slater, an architecture firm in Wisconsin. An avid reader, runner, and recipe experimenter, you can follow Kelly on twitter @kellymc247

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