8 Reasons You're Not Getting a Second Interview

Carly Naaktgeboren
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After a first-round interview, you may have thought everything went perfectly fine.  You wait and wait, but only hear crickets, and then you get the email stating that they are carrying on with second interviews or making offers and you’re not one of them.  So, why were you passed up for a second interview?

1. Were you late?  Were you running through the halls, waiting on the elevator, waiting for the bus, waiting, waiting, waiting? Of course, stuff happens.  You might have google-mapped three different possible routes and still been running behind.  Unfortunately, this shines an unflattering and unprofessional light on you.  You have to at least show you care enough to arrive on time, or better yet, slightly early.  There are plenty of cafes and parks you can hang out in if you have an excess of time, and that can calm your nerves and keep you from becoming too frazzled.

2. Speaking of professionalism, how did you dress?  Did you look put together? Did you wash your hair?  Did you dress in a way that said you knew anything about the company?  Do a little research to help you plan your outfit ahead of time so that you look professional and also like you could fit-in in the work environment.

3. Again, with research, did you do any?  It’s of the utmost importance to research EVERYTHING before your interview.  It shows you give a hoot about the job.  Have information on the company and on your interviewers.  Know what has been said about them in the media.  This can also help you prepare commentary on your own qualifications and how your experience fits in with this project or that report.  

4. Were you rambling like a fool?  Think about questions they’ll ask you.  RESEARCH questions they’ll ask you.  And know how to answer in a perfunctory way.  Don’t be so wordy that they can’t understand what you’re trying to relay to them.  

5. Did you show off your personality?  It’s always good to be professional, but your employers want to know who you are as a person as well.  They’ll be working with you day in and day out.  You’re allowed to smile and be charismatic, it might make them like you more as a human being, and thus, as a possible employee.

6. Did you ask questions?  Have questions prepared for the end of the interview ahead of time and think of some relating to what the interviewer has told you.  Ask them personalized questions as well, this is both flattering and shows you have been paying attention.

7. On a similar note, did you listen to them?  Were you attentive when they spoke and did you wait to give a thoughtful response?  Showing people you care suggests you will take your job seriously and also be a solid team player.

8. Did you send a follow-up thank you email?  Sending an email or note immediately after an interview shows you’re willing to go above and beyond and keeps you in the thoughts of employers.  Make sure you send a separate one to everyone who interviewed you so as to not create confusion or make anyone feel excluded.

And remember, it might not be you at all! They could have met someone they felt was a better fit for whatever reason just ten minutes after you left.  Don’t take it personally.  Prepare ahead of time, know you did your best, and then confidently continue on interviewing until you find the job for you.

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  • Rich M.
    Rich M.

    Hi Nancy, I did get a job. I started last Wednesday. I start at 7 am and end at 3:30 pm. The position is from Monday-Friday and I have to wait, I still hope to be there, 3 months before I get hired on permanently. I have a lot to learn and they are so patient and kind there. It took a long time and hopefully it'll pay off in the end. Now I just have to catch up on my bills and get them straightened around. So, in short, there is hope for us old timers(I'll be 60 next month) in landing a job. It just takes a little longer. Thanks again, Nancy for words of encouragement.

  • Antwi G.
    Antwi G.

    Am new in this job but I wont to greet you all my memberes think you all

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Noreen R. thanks for your comment. So sorry for your circumstances. Have you considered a remote position? Sounds like it might be your best bet. Especially as a graphic designer - remote sounds like your best choice. That or moving to another town!

  • Noreen R.
    Noreen R.

    @ Candy B. I live in a small college town and moved here for my ex and his job. I stayed home and took care of the kids and house. Didn't know he was having an affair with a student until after he was out of the house. Now almost 55, I have had phone interviews and in person interviews. It is very incestuous here, it is who you know and with graphic design, anyone with a computer and a few fonts thinks they are a designer. Also they will post jobs at the universities and the hospitals but already have someone in mind in house even if they don't have the experience.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Beverly Torgerson, RN thanks for your comment. Times may have changed a little bit but the "old school" is still the way to go. People seem to be very lax when it comes to job fairs. Not sure why because first impressions are lasting impressions. I wouldn't change what you are doing. Conservative dress with dress pants or a modest length skirt along with a nice top - minimal jewelry, light makeup and so on. Clean, neat and presentable. Whether a job fair or an in-person interview at the company, remember - you only get one chance to make a great first impression.

  • Beverly Torgerson, RN
    Beverly Torgerson, RN

    To continue, this line of business what a major medical company and was applying for an RN position. I guess I couldn’t believe what people thought was appropriate. And the people interviewing were recruiters. Has something changed??

  • Beverly Torgerson, RN
    Beverly Torgerson, RN

    My question is, has the dress code changed for interviews? I’m 43 and I guess I’m “old school” when it comes to dressing for one. Completely business, regardless the job or the stage of interview. I was recently at a job fair and had the opportunity to observe the other possible candidates that had come in. A few were in sandals, some looked liked they were heading into business-casual office, I saw too-short skirts, just, to me, not expressing their seriousness of the job. I saw one young gentleman, who was a teenager, looking for a starter job in a suit and tie (without a jacket). I was impressed by that. There were only a handful that wore a conservative dress with a blazer (business jacket) and conservative heels with light makeup and clean, put-together hair.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for all of the great comments. @Noreen R. I agree with @Candy B.'s suggestion that you look for a consulting position or you consider starting your own graphic design company - be your own boxx. @Candy B. thanks - great information and good to know that it can work. I, too, have been interviewed by younger folks and it is kind of comical to watch their attitudes when we meet in person. I keep waiting for them to ask me if I need help to get up from the chair or if they want to offer me a cane! Just have to try to keep your sense of humor about it and chalk it up to another interview under your belt. @Gerald H. thanks for that. Totally agree. It only takes a second to send an email thanking you for applying but they hired another candidate. That way you can cross that one off your list and move on instead of waiting around or trying to get in touch with them - which they truly dislike. @Richard Waugh - I truly hope that you are wrong. Many job seekers are 67 or older and need jobs just the same as their younger counterparts. All we can do is keep applying and keep following up. The odds are that sooner or later, we are going to land a great job! All the best.

  • Richard Waugh
    Richard Waugh

    There is no interview after age 67, or if you do get one, they politely thank you and you never hear from them again...

  • Gerald H.
    Gerald H.

    I love when they specifically tell you never to ghost a possible employer when they try to get back in touch with you about a position. But it seems to be fi e for a possible.employer to ghost you and never get back to you after an interview. It only takes a minute to craft an email stating that they went a different direction with the position. Just simple courtesy. But then again these younger HR people do not seem to have this talent.

  • CANDY B.
    CANDY B.

    I agree with Noreen R. After numerous in-person interviews, despite that I was more than qualified for the position and no money had been discussed, I never heard back. When I called to find out if the position had been filled, I was informed that another party had been chosen. Several of these companies had people I knew working there. They informed me that they had hired a fresh out of college recruit. Yes I did my due diligence and sent thank you notes; they even discussed benefits and I advised that they could save some money as I did not need them. There is very real and present age discrimination and fortunate for you, you have not experienced it - yet. Most of your middle managers and HR are newly promoted and young. I am not a threat or do I wish to take their job, but upon meeting, I could detect a level of discomfort in the interviewers demeanor. See, these are the people who are going to weed you out for the others that will have the final say. They are uncomfortable interviewing anyone older than 25 and I passed that area long ago. My suggestion to Noreen is start looking for consulting position - you interview over the phone and you are taken for your skills & experience, not your age. Generally you are interviewed over the phone and you never meet the interviewer. After 50, you need to reinvent yourself. That was 13 years ago for me and I have found this rewarding and lucrative.

  • Nohemi V.
    Nohemi V.

    Thanks. Very useful to me

  • Noreen R.
    Noreen R.
    1. Age Discrimination. Sometimes I didn't make it past HR. I would find out they hired someone with much less experience so they can pay them less. I am a graphic designer with over 25 years of experience. Very frustrating. After rejection after rejection and even making it to the in person interview and finding out they hired someone much younger and with less experience, it is very disheartening.
  • Kevin P.
    Kevin P.

    Thank you for the good advice.

  • Mary H.
    Mary H.

    A thank you note is a nice gesture

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the great comments. @Aletha F. so sorry about that. Did you happen to follow the interview up with a thank you note? In that you could have clarified your answer to that question and cleared it all up. Might have made all of the difference! @Rich M. glad to hear that things are moving along for your new position. Sounds like they might be ready to make an offer. Just make sure that you have done your due diligence and know the salary range along with the benefits so that you can get what you need. In the meantime, keep searching and keep applying. Don't put all of your eggs in that one basket! @Camila D. thanks for your comment. Sometimes it's true that a company only cares about a "certain look". Wouldn't want to work for them anyhow. You want to work for a company who appreciates what you have to bring to the table - who appreciates your experience, skills and talents. All the best to each one of you!

  • Aletha F.
    Aletha F.

    Attn All, or you make it through the 1st interview fine, and you, personally know it is something that you can do, but you answer one question wrong, or do not elaborate on the answer that you do give, and well, it leaves you out here still looking - trust me those are the shoes that I am currently in.

  • Rich M.
    Rich M.

    Nancy, thanks again for the feedback. I will say things are turning around, I hope, for the better. I have a drug test coming up on the 20th of August and that tells me, from past experience, I got the job. I'll still wait a tiny bit for it to be confirmed. As you know, it's been a long, hard road for me. As they say, good things come to those who wait. I know sometimes you don't want to wait and really hope you get the job you're after, but that doesn't always happen. I've read the comments preceding this and I do agree with Rick K. and Camila D. It does seem that they want a certain type and you aren't that type regardless of your background or the skills you might have to do that job. Trust me, because it had happened to me and I know how frustrating it is. One place I went to, had the interview and dropped off, in person a thank you note and never heard back from them. This happened in March of this year. The people who interviewed me, said the HR person would get back to me at the end of April. She never did. So I let that go and moved onto the next one. So have faith and hang in there in guys, it'll get better for you.

  • Camila D.
    Camila D.

    Sometimes I feel the person who is interviewing they are looking for what they want but not for what they need. They are looking for people with good look. Sometimes pretty face. They really don’t care about your skills bc you sound like a future threat to get their jobs in the future soon.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the comments. @Brenda S. - it's only been a few weeks. Have you called to see if the position is still open and if you are still in the running? Only takes a minute to call. If the position has been filled, then you can cross it off your list and move on. @Rick K not all companies want younger employees. They are realizing that it might be cheaper to hire someone young but it cost them more in the long run because the younger person doesn't have the experience. The tides are starting to turn - slowly. Companies are starting to hire the more tried and true applicants. So keep applying! Also, don't forget about networking!

  • Rick K.
    Rick K.

    Hi. The only thing of substance I can come up with is when I put that I'm younger - I get interviews; but upon sitting to interview. I can tell over fifty is an immediate rejection. All I change is my graduation date on the applications and resumes ... that's how they they ignore older applicants.

  • Helen R.
    Helen R.

    Entire article taught me things I would have left out or come across in such a way that might be

  • Brenda S.
    Brenda S.

    they told me they have someone in the DNP classes now that was probably going to take it, then why waste my time?

  • Brenda S.
    Brenda S.

    made it's a blessing bc they have gotten some really BAD reviews

  • Brenda S.
    Brenda S.

    I did all the correct things! did not ever hear back, it's been since July 23

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