You are no longer a fresh graduate as you climb up the corporate ladder in past ten to twenty years. You've met a lot of clients, you've made many successful deals, you've hired your entire sales team, and you would even tell HR how to screen applicants for your company. However, when you become an applicant and when you manage to secure the first interview, you do not manage to progress further.
I have heard a lot of these stories happening in some experienced professionals who look for new jobs in their mid-career. When I met them in person, I find out some reasons to explain why they have lower opportunity to get hired.
1. UNPREPARED FOR INTERVIEWS
You may have to meet your clients and your team prior to your interview meeting given your tidy schedule. However, you should not be late to the interview room. If you honestly experience an unexpected event that prevents you from arriving on time, you should inform the interviewer as soon as you notice the possible delay.
If you think you know the company very well so you do not want to check the background and news of the company prior to the interview. If you do so, you may probably miss some recent developments of the company. If the company you are going to meet is not an MNC or a major local corporation, the interviewer may not expect you to catch every recent development of the company. However, if you do catch them and raise a relevant question, you could probably impress the interviewer.
When did you last rehearse an introduction to yourself? Do at least few times before you meet the interviewer. Don't assume that you can tell a good story of yours without practice. Your self-introduction is your first and sometimes the last chance to impress the interviewer.
2. UNWILLING TO PROVIDE EARLY CAREER INFORMATION
Before you meet the interviewer, some traditional HR team may require you to list your public examination results in high school, your year of graduation, and the date you first obtain a professional license record one by one in tiny tables of a job application form. You may feel unrespected to be asked to fill in the form because you are now such an experienced professional and those records in old days shouldn't reflect your current achievement. You decide to simplify your record or you simply ignore the entire table in the form.
You are right but you do wrong.
You're right that your school records in old days are less relevant to your current job application and you may feel ashamed of one or two failed subjects in public examinations. However, you are who you are. The interviewer may appreciate your tremendous effort in your early career that makes you an experienced professional now. If you really cannot provide requested information right away, you should let the interviewer know that you can submit missing information soon after the interview. In case you meet an inexperienced HR officer, your missing information may cause him to fail your application in the first place.
Honestly, if you look for next role seriously, you should have tidied up your entire career history and identified those related achievements prior to interviews. This shows your preparation and respect and enhances your chance of getting next hiring step.
Job applicant has only one purpose. That is to get hired for the role that you look for. Experienced candidates often forget the purpose when they meet recruitment agencies and HR managers. As an experienced candidate, self-confidence is always required but self-arrogance is not. Some recruiters and HR professionals may look younger and they look like subordinates in the eyes of some experienced professionals.
Even though you are experienced, when you speak to an interviewer, you should always respect him as someone who is evaluating your performance starting from the time you walk into the interview room. If you behave arrogantly in the face of a younger interviewer because he or she has not worked as many years as you have, you are reasonably expected to behave the same when you lead junior staff members in your team when you get hired. This is less likely to be accepted in modern organizations so your arrogance could ruin your impression in the first interview.
4. OUTDATED CV
When did you last touch your CV? If you look for next role seriously, you should review every item in your CV.
If you have worked for the same company for some years and have progressed, your previous CV may not reflect your current responsibility and seniority. In Hong Kong, some Chinese companies would require candidates to provide CV both in English and in Chinese.
If your previous employer has changed company names, you should include both current company name and the old company name at the time you were employed. This helps the hiring manager to match your the company names in your job reference letter and any licensing record to the company's current name.
5. AGGRESSIVE CONVERSATION
If you are middle management in a corporate for some years, you would probably lead a team and demonstrate your leadership & direction in team meetings. When you speak, everyone else in the room would wait for you before they raise any question. Unfortunately, when you are in the interview room, you are one of the several shortlisted candidates and you are not supposed to chair the meeting.
Some companies appreciate aggressiveness in career development but not in conversations in meetings. During an interview, your target is to persuade the interviewer that you are the right person to be hired. If you are asked to discuss a controversial topic to demonstrate your analytical capability and you believe that your argument is right, you simply need to speak firmly and tell the evidence that supports your ideas. You should not behave aggressively and deny interviewer's viewpoint. That will not cause you to the next step.
6. UNPREPARED FOR QUESTIONS TO INTERVIEWERS
Even if you know the industry and the company that you are applying for very well, interviewers still expect you to ask at least one or two questions that show your interest in the role and in the company. When the interviewer asks you questions near the end of an interview, you should be prepared to ask meaningful questions.
If you really have no single question to ask, first ask yourself if you really like the role and the company, If no, then you should expect no second interview invite. If yes, you may ask the interviewer what the role is expected to achieve in next 30 to 60 days. This is a short-term goal when you manage to get hired. This also shows your interest in the role and also helps you evaluate whether you like to accept the near-term challenge when you're on board.