If you’ve been on a ton of interviews and haven't received any job offers, don’t worry. In this post, I’ll cover the two reasons why this is happening and what you can do about it.
First of all I want to give you a shout out for getting those interviews in the first place. Many people I work with struggle to get interviews, but you're getting them—you just need to learn the skill of closing them. So recognize first what's working: Your resume is doing its job, getting you invited for interviews. Many people have trouble even getting to that point.
Now for the two reasons.
1. It really has nothing to do with you.
The first reason is not something you could’ve ever controlled, no matter how well you did. And this happens all the time. I've been on the side of the interviewer many times, so I can tell you that there could've been any number of reasons that even the most amazing, most wonderful person in the entire world had no chance of getting the job.
Some examples of those reasons might be:
Any number of things could've happened that had nothing to do with you. So, if you're beating yourself up, telling yourself you could have done better, it's very possible that nothing you could've done would have changed the outcome.
2. There is something you can be doing differently, but you’re not seeing it.
What if there is really something you can do to change the outcome? How can you know what it is and how can you do better in your next interview?
First of all, don’t beat yourself up about not getting the job. That's counterproductive to the result you want. When you start feeling rejected and the negative self-talk that most people automatically engage in starts to arise, you only feel worse. Telling yourself things like “I should have known this …” or “Why didn’t I get that right?" or "How could I have beans stupid?" will never help. What will help is shifting into an evaluation mode, which is going to make you more productive and help you get closer to getting the job you want.
To begin, it's important to look at the facts without judgment and ask yourself, "What went well in my interviews?" Here are some simple examples: You were invited to the interview in the first place. You showed up on time. You knew the answers to several questions and answered well. You were calm most of the time, not that nervous, and had good rapport with the interviewer.
Then add anything else you can think of that went well. This is very important to do, because after you find out you didn't get the job, your brain immediately will want to list all the things that didn’t go well. But that comes second.
So, after listing all the positives, it's time to ask yourself, "What didn’t go well?" Were there a few specific questions that you didn’t know the answers to? No problem. Write them down. Were you overly nervous and fumble through a few questions? Also not a big deal. Write that down, too. Were you a few minutes late? Did you forget to research certain things about the company, such as its culture or recent milestones? Look at all this information as just data, valuable information, nothing you need to beat yourself up over.
And then the last question: "What am I going to do differently next time?" Ask yourself, How am I going to dig in, study what went wrong, and be better prepared and ready for my next interview?
Now is when you take the list you made about things that didn't go well and make sure you're better prepared for your next interview. Make sure you know all the answers you didn't know, and make sure you don't make the same mistakes again. Or, at least, try not to. Really work on the things that didn't seem to go well. Practice your answers. Do more research. Whatever needs to be done, do it. Only then will you be better prepared, and only then will the outcome of your interviews have a chance to be different.
Remember: Don’t let less-than-perfect interviews discourage you. Interviews that didn't go perfectly are all part of the process of finding your dream job. The reason why most people don’t get their true dream job is not because they can’t; it’s because they underestimate what it takes to get there, and they give up too soon.
Natalie Fisher is best known for helping professionals land their dream jobs and achieve explosive salary growth (even with little experience). If you’d like more help from Natalie, she has a free workshop, "Get a Better Job in 30 Days (No matter where you're at right now)," which you can sign up for here.
There is one question you can basically guarantee will wrap up any job interview: What are your future career goals? Stumbling over this question can make you appear ill-prepared and immature; you should know what your own goals are.
If you are a 1L, don't miss this chance to hear from experts at top law firms as they discuss legal careers, law school advice, and diversity initiatives!
It’s never too early to start planning for your legal career—even if you are only in the first semester of your 1L year.