Answering a question about failed interview

After my talks and publications, one in a while I ‘m receiving questions about failed job interviews.

Here ‘s a recent one:

For some reason I ‘m failing interviews for a junior position. I ‘m passing technical interviews without any problems (i.e. get a score of 90% with a passing score of 60%). After that, goes the interview with an HR person with questions like “Why do you want to work for our company?. Why did you decide to become a programmer? ” I believe I ‘m doing something wrong there. Recently, I even got an offer to start working on Monday, but then there was an email from the employer-to-be stating that they withdraw their offer and won ‘t be able to offer me a job neither now nor in the future. Why?

After reading the first part of this email I thought to myself that, apparently this person doesn ‘t shows self confidence, mumbling his answers, doesn ‘t look straight into the eyes of the interviewer, may have bad breath, or is dressed inappropriately.

But the last statement “we won ‘t be able to offer me a job neither now nor in the future ” makes me to believe that this poor kid has issues with references he provides. This is an important artifact of any job application, and you have to be very careful with whose name are you giving as a reference. Once in a while you might run into bad people that are giving poor references on purpose because some incidents that happened the past. But this would be quite unusual. Most likely your former colleagues do it without bad intentions, but just because they think they are trying to be honest.

Job interviews is a game and to win it, everyone has to play by the rules. If you are planning to submit Joe Smith as your reference, please make sure that he ‘ll give only the best possible feedback to you previous work even if it ‘s going to be a little exaggeration of your abilities. Find people who really like you as a person. They don ‘t have to be technical and don ‘t need to be from the IT area. You already passed the technical interview – now make sure that you are presented as a great person.

I don ‘t mind answering IT career questions, but I ‘d like to stress that I ‘m not a career counselor and might be wrong (even though that chances are slim that this is the case :).


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