Isn’t it extremely interesting to attend an interview or to submit a job application and then go away feeling like you nailed it, and whilst keeping your fingers crossed and hoping for the best, you see that dreaded rejection email?
OMG! Ok, I 100% know that feeling, trust me.
Today’s topic is Communication and I would share some thoughts to help you unravel the mystery behind some of these seemingly surprising rejections. Stay tuned.
Welcome once again to the Dear Candidate podcast. This is the very first episode of this podcast and I am super duper excited to welcome you to this corner. The why behind this podcast is simply to educate and to demystify your search experience.
My name is Tosin Anifowose and I am your host. I am a tech recruiter, my experience cuts across interviewing 1000+ candidates + coaching job seekers in my spare time and this has and is still one of the significant parts of my learning process as someone in the talent acquisition space.
Now today’s podcast would attempt to unravel the mystery behind why people are more often than not shocked to receive rejection emails when they feel they have performed excellently well at their just-concluded interview.
Like I insinuated at the beginning, I have been there multiple times and an understanding of this very fundamental issue changed my job search journey for good.
Communication is fundamental to everything we do as humans and as the saying goes, if you don’t know how to communicate what you know, then you don’t really know what you claim to know. Hold that thought for some minutes and allow me to tell you a story from my own personal experience.
A couple of years back, I had just completed my master’s program and I was job hunting, fortunately, I was able to land an interview. I was overjoyed, the not-so-good news was that I had totally forgotten what I applied for. Yikes! I know right. I think I checked the company’s career site (which I mean was the logical thing to do) but sadly I did not find anything that looked like what I would have applied for so there I was. Preparing for an interview and not knowing what exactly to prepare for. The interesting thing is that I almost got that job, however, I dropped the ball at the final round. I actually felt I had done a fantastic job because all of the other rounds seemed to go so well. In fact, at some point in the interview, some of the panelists were already asking me to connect with them on Linkedin and to directly reach out to them if I had any questions. I mean, I was like surely this Job has my name on it.
Fast forward to a couple of days later! The dreaded rejection arrived. To say I was extremely disappointed would be an understatement. My question back then was why did that happen, what went wrong but I just did not understand it back then. However, I have a better understanding of why that happened.
Think of it: I didn’t know what I applied for so some of the examples and the points that I emphasized during the interview were totally irrelevant. They basically opened the gap for misunderstanding and there I say misinterpretation.
The feedback call I had with the company, later on, made me know that I did not do a very good job with communicating my experience and my motivation for applying to the Role and I mean that was to be expected. I had no clue as to what I applied for.
Dear candidate, there are 3 basic things to keep in mind as you prepare for that interview or as you perhaps try to understand why that seemingly fantastic process did not work out. And this is a general tip I give to the job seekers I coach:
Don’t over talk, now if you overtalk you would most likely overwhelm your interviewer. You would say things that are not necessary, you will say things beyond the scope of the job and you might even give them the impression that you are either overqualified or underqualified for the Job.
In actual fact, you might be overqualified for the job but you should streamline your examples and your discussions to parts of your experience that are relevant to the Job.
You can of course talk about those other high flying points however my general recommendation would be to mention it briefly and not spend too much time discussing that point particularly in instances where you know that that experience might not be needed at the start of your employment journey.
Don’t under-talk to avoid frustrating your interviewer. You basically don’t want it to look like an interrogation at the police station instead of an actual interview.
Giving one-word answers to questions would force your interviewer to repeatedly ask the same question in different ways and at some point, he or she might just stop trying. So it’s extremely important that you answer the questions asked whilst providing sufficient information to ensure that you do justice to the point.
Something I strongly recommend is to ask clarifying questions to help you answer the question that is being asked. So here is how to do that, rephrase the question and then ask your interviewer if that is what he or she is asking you before you proceed with answering. Right, So that’s that for under-talking.
The third and perhaps most important point is to Pace: This is what I mean, speak with your interviewer as much as you can, at the same voice level, and at the same frequency to ensure that he or she is able to follow your explanations.
The basic goal behind this is to ensure that you are neither speaking too fast nor too slow. Too slow would make your interviewer bored and speaking too fast might make your interviewer disengaged. The sad reality is that your interviewer may not tell you to avoid appearing rude.
The point about the voice level is to try (again as much as you can) to come up to the same level as your interviewer.
So for instance try to gauge your interviewer within the first few seconds to decide what level the person is on.
Are you speaking to someone who is soft-spoken or are you speaking to someone who is more expressive? A soft-spoken person might perceive an overly expressive candidate as being aggressive while the expressive interviewer might consider the extremely soft-spoken candidate to be timid. Very subjective! Very subjective! I totally agree! However, your role as the candidate is to try as much as possible to bridge the gap.
Above all, ensure that your words are pronounced well and clearly. The primary purpose of an interview is to find out what kind of value you can bring to the table and to clarify any grey areas that might exist and as an applicant you want to do justice to that.
These principles are general principles that you would need to constantly improve on to ensure that you communicate your thoughts and ideas in a clear way. I like to think of the art of building excellent communication skills as a marathon and not a 100-meter dash so don’t be too hard on yourself if you find that you are totally guilty of all these points.
The most important thing is to make sure that you are taking steps to improve yourself.
In my next episode, I’ll be sharing some practical tips that would help you communicate better particularly during interviews. So please look forward to that.
Finally, as you prepare for that interview, remember to pace as you speak, don’t over-talk so as not to overwhelm, and don’t undertake so you don’t wear out the interviewer.
Thanks so much for listening and stay tuned for the next episode. please subscribe to be notified of new episodes. I really really want this podcast to be about you so please share your feedback, your experiences, your questions and you can also request topics to be discussed by contacting us on social media using dear candidate 01 or by making use of the contact form on our website at www.dearcandidate.org.
Till next time, Take care and stay awesome.