Have you been getting interviews but not securing job offers from them? Let’s change that.
Congrats on making it to the final leg of the job search — interviewing. Although the job search is by no means a linear process, you’re likely still applying to jobs, networking, and fine-tuning your resume, At this point, one interview gone right can end your job search altogether!
Over the last 7 years, we have found that job seekers end up facing one or more of these sticking points throughout their job search: not knowing how to get started, applying to jobs but not getting interviews, and interviewing but not receiving offers. In this article, we’ll dive into that last one — where you’re so, so close to being done with the job hunt, but not quite there yet.
Usually, if you make it to this stage of the process where you are getting more than one interview, you’re likely doing nearly everything right — your resume, networking, LinkedIn, and everything else got you far enough in the process to sit across from a hiring manager (or sit in a Zoom call with them). So, what are you doing wrong?
First of all, it might have nothing to do with you at all. Here are just a few of the reasons you might not get chosen that have nothing to do with you.
If you make it past the three roadblocks above, then it comes down to how you’re marketing and presenting yourself during the interview. Here are some steps you can take so you can turn those interviews into offers!
Be honest with yourself — did you even read the whole job posting? I mean the whole thing word for word, not just the responsibilities and qualifications sections. Did you apply to this role because you are excited to work for this company and contribute to their cause, or simply because your experience and qualifications align with what the company is looking for?
Whichever one it is, you need to convince the recruiter that it’s the former. Honestly, that’s not too difficult in the environmental field, as usually we’re fighting toward a pretty noble mission, whether that’s ending food insecurity or pioneering green technology. But be prepared to answer questions specifically about the company: why are you choosing to fight climate change at this organization?
Here’s our checklist for thoroughly researching a company pre-interview:
It’s said that most interviewers make up their minds about a candidate within the first five minutes of an interview. Although that saying is a bit inflationary — it’s actually around 35% of interviewers — it’s undeniable that your first impression matters.
So, how do you maximize those first 5 minutes? It comes down to answering that first question your interviewer asks you. No… not “tell me about yourself.”
Usually, an interviewer will start off the interview by greeting you and asking you a question along the lines of “how are you doing today?” Many people dismiss this by replying with “good, how are you?” Instead of saying that, say anything else. (Ok… maybe not anything, don’t say you’re dreading this interview.) But say something funny, something about your weekend — whatever it is, it will help set a conversational tone that will carry throughout your interview.
We know we brushed past it earlier, but this is an incredibly important question. Not only does it help set the right tone for your interview, but it also your chance to spotlight how your past experience directly relates to this role. We recommend using the past, present, future formula:
Past: Talk about your past roles or internships and the qualifications you’ve gained from it that led you to apply for this role. If you don’t have past experience, you can also briefly talk about what sparked your interest in the environmental field.
Present: Talk about your current role and the responsibilities you have that align with this role. If you’re a student, you can discuss which classes you’re taking as well.
Future: Talk about your future goals or the skills you want to attain, making sure they line up with the goals of the company and what you’ll be working toward in this role.
One common mistake that job seekers make is spending way too long on this answer. You don’t need to walk through every bullet point on your resume; just keep it to the highlights. Typically, your answer to this question should take one to two minutes.
You’ve made it through the first five minutes, now it’s time to answer your interviewer’s questions. For behavioral interview questions (e.g. anything that starts with “Tell me a time when…”) we recommend the STAR method. It’s a structured and incredibly effective technique to demonstrate your capabilities through storytelling. STAR stands for:
You don’t need to come up with your STAR answers on the spot. Before your interview, prep 4-5 stories that you’d easily be able to mold into this kind of answer format. Then, when your interviewer asks you about a time you overcame a challenge or had to incorporate diversity into the workplace — whatever it is — pick the story that fits best and tweak the phrasing as needed to answer the question.
*I personally do not like this method, as I find it distracting to jump out of my thoughts and try to shove it into a process but try it out and see if it works for you. If it doesn’t, don’t force it.
Another factor to evaluate before you go into an interview is your mindset — especially when you’ve been interviewing for a while and haven’t received any offers. It is understandable if that has made you doubt yourself or think negatively about the job search as a whole. But these negative thoughts will permeate through every aspect of job searching, especially interviewing. They can manifest in an interview through your body language or small comments you make during interview answers. Before you go into an interview, try your best to purge yourself of any negativity and look at it as an opportunity to showcase your best self to an interviewer.
Did you get the hint about smiling yet? Being friendly and smiling exudes confidence and confidence sells. Use eye contact, especially challenging on Zoom calls. Ask questions that really demonstrate you’ve thought about what it would be like to do this job,
Finally, thank them at the beginning of the interview and follow up with a thank you immediately following the interview. That’s right, I said immediately.
With these tips and tricks in mind, as well as the tools we talked about in our last two articles in this series, we hope your job search is over in no time! If you find that you’re still getting stuck in one or more of these places, or if we didn’t cover a job search issue you're facing, we also offer career coaching services. See how one hour can change the entire course of your job search!