5 Reasons Your Job Interviews Aren’t Becoming Job Offers

Landing a job interview is a great first step—but you should always keep in mind that it’s only “half the battle.” To reach the career goals that are most important to you, you need to be successful at converting interviews into offers. What can you do to help ensure this vital conversion?

“Given the current market conditions, tech pros with in-demand skills should be able to turn roughly 50 percent of job interviews into offers,” noted Gregory Sparzo, managing director of search firm, ZRG Partners, LLC.

If you’ve been spinning your wheels when it comes to actually landing jobs, you may want to change your approach or behaviors. Here’s a look at some of the problems or issues that can keep you from consummating a deal.

You’re Blindly Selling Yourself

Pitching a canned, one-size-fits all personal value proposition (PVP) to a tech manager is sure to bring the hiring process to a screeching halt.

In today’s environment, tech job hunters can’t blindly follow a script, explained Graham Collins, national contingent workforce delivery manager for Oxford Solutions. To make it to the offer stage as a full-time candidate or contractor, you need to use a consultative approach.

Specifically, Collins says that a candidate must make a concerted effort to understand the hiring manager’s needs and pain points before presenting their skillset and expertise as the solution to their problems. That requires research before the interview process, as well as asking good questions of the hiring manager during the interview itself. If you figure out that your prospective employer is having trouble expanding its core app into mobile, for instance, you can explain how you can help with that endeavor.

Not Viewing the Hiring Process as a Two-Way Street

Now more than ever, employers expect tech candidates (especially contractors) to take a partnership approach to the evaluation and selection process.

Candidates who approach interviews with trepidation and think they are there to passively answer questions are not the type of tech worker that companies are looking for. “Successful candidates interview the employer as well,” Collins noted.

The hiring manager wants a candidate to play an active role in assessing their needs and the potential fit with your skills and background. In other words, they want the decision to move forward to be mutual. If you’re interviewing, come prepared with questions (complete with follow-up questions); make sure to display an active interest in the company and its operations. 

Not Following Up

No matter how hot the market, or how talented you are, the hiring manager still wants to know that you are sincerely interested in the job and will be motivated to give it your all if hired.

In their book, not following up after an interview, at least once or twice, is a sign that you just don’t care. And remember that a thank-you note is absolutely essential.

Making a Sky-High Salary Demand

Even a candidate with specialized skills and an advanced degree in a high-paying field such as data science can blow themselves out of the water by demanding an over-the-top salary early in the hiring process, Sparzo warned.

He recently saw the impact firsthand when a client asked to see more candidates after a data scientist brazenly asked for an annual salary of $400,000. Your salary range or request needs to be based on market research and a verified estimate of what your skillset is worth, not anecdotal evidence.

Demanding a salary near the top of the range often eliminates candidates with average to below-average skills, Sparzo added. Sure, companies are willing to pay a premium—but only for top performers.

So if you bomb a portion of the technical interview, stay in the hunt by lowering your salary expectations. And try not to blurt out an “asking price” until you get to know each other better.

You’ve Become Complacent

It’s easy to take the hot job market for granted, especially if you’re landing lots of interviews. But have you gotten so overconfident that you’re taking preparation lightly (not to mention dressing too casually for an interview)? Becoming too complacent can derail your job search and even your career.

“If you get all the way to the end of the process two or three times and can’t close the deal, it’s probably you,” Sparzo said. “Look for patterns or topics where the conversation with the interviewer starts to feel chilly. Refining what you’re saying and how you’re saying it could be the key to turning more interviews into offers.”

24 Responses to “5 Reasons Your Job Interviews Aren’t Becoming Job Offers”

  1. How about companies who are looking for a unicorn? Oh, you have changed jobs too much. Sorry, about the layoffs that appear on my resume, I should have picked better companies. Oh, you left a company because you weren’t getting enough work. You are too negative about former employers. Interviewing has become a frustrating experience because companies don’t know what they want.

    • Fully agree. Darn near every company I have interviewed with thus far has integrity listed as one of their company values, but I am constantly seeing that value being either under-represented or fully ignored. In the last month I have had three times where information about the opportunity were either skirted or fully lied about until the final interview. “Oh, this research position is really just data entry and writing articles for other people to put their names on?” Hard pass.

      • Paul Smith

        My Resume’ also has many contract companies and jobs that didn’t last, on it. I am questioned and have been overlooked by many because of it. However, when given the interview opportunity, I interject the amount of diverse environments and education that I have, due to working in so many different networks and infrastructures. I have landed some good jobs with that. Take what they perceive to be a negative and make it a positive. Keep in the back of your mind, they are hiring for a position that has been vacated, WHY?

  2. Tina J Emam

    Since there is such a huge shortage of technical workers and companies are now frantically scrambling to Canada in fear of losing H1Bs, why should I worry about any of this? Since there is such a huge technical labor shortage, shouldn’t hiring managers be more worried about what THEY need to do to attract me?

  3. Lawrence Weinzimer

    Fitting in to established or espoused corporate ‘core values’ is necessary for survival in any organization. The staffers may very well also know who they are already going to hire. This tends to be because someone knows someone else under the so-called ‘Chinese Wall’ of the firm. This is contrary to, heaven forbid, meritocracy. Also, oftentimes the staffers may be just going through the motions under the guise of EEOC guidelines as window-dressing for the public.

  4. Are they kidding about contractors? Contractors are not employees! Stop putting them through rigorous interviews. They are there to fill a need for a short time and then you’re going to fire them. What is this bullshit about assessing need? That’s your job as a hiring manager, isn’t it? I don’t know the day to day tasks of your team.

    And please, if I’m not getting hired because I didn’t send a thank you for a job interview, they can keep the job. Remember I had to take a vacation day to meet with you. Stop acting like you’re doing me a huge favor just interviewing me. I get lots of offers for interviews.

    More proof HR is incompetent.

    Also, a reason you’re not getting called? They thought you were 20/30 something in the phone screening and when you showed up, you were 40. Too old.

    • Paul Smith

      I hope that is just a Rant, because you almost sound like an “entitled” brat that is lucky to have a job to take a vacation day from and should not worry about interviewing.
      You maybe the very reason they have to interview us and see if we “fit into” their culture and beliefs. The role of contractor can always be played off as temp help, but realize that we have access to vital information and upper management and it is imperative that we perform our tasks with discretion and competence. We become a very valuable asset to the team and could be considered to brought on full-time. The hiring manager has to deal with a lot of headaches, if we mess up.
      We are not entitled to an open job, we must prove that we are the best fit for that job!

  5. Larry Turner

    1. There are plenty of able bodied people already in the USA looking for quality jobs, without a company looking for H1B Visa Applicants.

    2. Employers “ghost” candidates all the time despite sending a thank you email or letter for their time.

    3. Some employers treat Contractors literally as second class citizens. Example, one had a company picnic on the premises one Saturday (had us working over time) and contractors were not allowed. Same company had lunch and learn training, contractors could go, but were not provided Lunch.
    4. Often screening software eliminates candidates for whatever reason before the hiring manager even gets the chance to review the candidate, and several rounds of re-posting occurs and the position never gets filled.

    I could go on….

    Happy searching

  6. DJettster

    Unfortunately all those replies before me are true. Most of all is some of us don’t have certs because when we came up there was no such thing as certs. But we have better than any cert can offer and that is many years of OJT. Most of the questions on a cert practice/exam are ridiculous and irrelevant. Things you only need to know if you absolutely have nothing to do are the questions asked. Ageism is alive and well my friends and whomever says different has that medical problem with the head being somewhere south. Other issue is because you have so more experience when you walk into an interview and the person is much younger than you, it’s a sure sign you’re not going to be hired. Fear of you taking their position by being out performed. Not saying that the person who wrote this article is not in touch with reality.

  7. Interesting discussion. I think we are in a time where companies want to pay nothing for talent. After interviewing for 100s of jobs, I’m extremely frustrated with the market in general.

  8. Sterling

    Because in this “hot job market” you still need 2 years of experience to get a first job. If there’s such a shortage of devs, companies should be trying to find the talented by inexperienced devs and get them in their company early, not expecting multi year large project experience for their bottom new hires.

  9. John Shepherd

    Re: Contractors – If the interviewer spends more than 10 seconds talking about the company founder or principles instead of asking me detailed questions to assess my knowledge and skill level about the very specific role I have 3 to 6 months to accept, onboard, discover, task, work and complete, then they’re wasting everyone’s time.

    Re: Casual – A coworker friend of mine made fun of me one day when I mentioned that I had an interview outfit for an appt later that day. “But the job is temporary. And nobody at that company dresses like that.” I thought OK. I left the tie and my coat and bought a really nice shirt instead and walked in, comfortable, looking great, no weird suit-meets-polo-shirt vibe and I was instantly more relaxed, more conversant. That was kind of life-changing for me. Seismic shift.

    Re: Ageism – It’s definitely a thing, but then again, when I got an interview at a popular apparel HQ in SoCal and the entire company is 25-35 y.o. women? I’m not getting that contract. And frankly, that’s fine w/ me. Though I’m 51, previous poster, and I’m still grabbing choice roles from high-maintenance snowflakes like you, whining about the snack selection in the breakroom and spending meetings on your phone.

  10. I’ve done all the things mentioned in this article. Guess what, because of my age and experience I don’t get any job offers, period. One interviewer, who had been so anxious to see me days earlier, stared at my grayish hair and proceeded to pretend to interview me. Then he told me that he thought I was a very nice person who ought to be able to find a job. The subtext was this however, not with his company. Companies complain that they cannot find qualified people. They don’t want to pay qualified people, train whomever they have there, or invest in people. I was downsized nearly 6 years ago when I was 3 months shy of my 55th birthday. The company I was with didn’t want to invest in retraining. It was easier and cheaper for them to fire me and then, 6 months later, hire someone younger, prettier and less experienced.

  11. Anthony

    Lets not forget the gate keepers, the recruiters, who have have a minimal idea of the job they’re hiring for and are following a script looking for buzzwords and phrases. And then there are the ridiculous experience requirements…Need a 20 something yr old with 10 years of experience who wants to work for $1 over minimum wage …yada yada yada.
    Here is the best one yet. Based on the job description and requirements and during the interview process one finds out they, the hiring manager, is basically looking for someone who just left that position. Another words, same industry, same experience, same everything, someone that is the “PERFECT” fit. But off course, they don’t want a candidate who is overqualified either, because then they may become the competition.

    These are just my opinions, I could very well be wrong. However, I doubt it!

    • You are right. Companies are advertising jobs as entry level but desiring a person with a ton of certs and 1-2 years experience so they can pay entry level salaries.

  12. Between excessive number of H1B contractors, ageism, evergrowing technology stack, horrible interviewers, horrible managers, and HR faulty resume parsing automation… oh, I DESPISE TALEO! … a significant contingent never makes it to negotiating table.

    • IT contracting is absurd. Im leaving the industry. Ive had too many high strung pyschos in just a few contracts. In real tangible staple industries – the interviewers have basic questions and say “see you monday”. Not so with these moronic industry.

  13. Alfonso

    Tengo 64 años. Conozco toda la tecnología, inclusive la actual (embebidos y FTP) nadie me contrata por la edad. Todo ese conocimiento y gran experiencia así como mi gran personalidad no tiene ningún precio y no le interesó a nadie. Será este el motivo que muchas empresas desarrolladoras se congelen en el tiempo y terminen desapareciendo? Tienen visión del futuro? No es mejor escuchar la voz de expertos que la alegre voz nerviosa de unos inexpertos que sólo quieren vivir el ahora? Gracias

  14. Article isn’t very realistic.

    1. Just say Cover Letter: Personal value Proposition is some bs made up by a management consultant. Srsly, read the referral url for the pvp explanation. Anyway, when you’re looking at contracts with minimalistic, mediocre job descriptions (JD), misspelled company names and poorly used IT jargon, there’s only so much research you can do.
    2. I agree 100% with the 2 way street sentiment but not all interviews are 30 mins+ long. Sometimes you answer questions and get to ask one or two before the interview ends; sometimes you don’t get a chance to.
    3. Anyone can follow up but if the recruiter is acting as the gateway between you and his client, he/she will want communications to go through them. You can check with the recruiter (if the client doesn’t give you a contact card when you ask) but relying on someone else to do this (send a ty note) may just be your only option in some cases.
    4. You can chk vault or glassdoor for salary info, it’s not hard.
    5. Complacency isn’t always a factor. If you’ve been on a long search, depression, anxiety and fear are factors as well. You can overthink an interview and give a bad impression as well.

    This is a poorly contrived article. It has no honest bearing but in certain, specific circumstances. In the IT field as a contractor, you do not have power except when you deal with the recruiter (unless you are self-representing to a client).

    Poster would rather put the onus of issues on us candidates when recruiters do not know IT jargon, write poorly detailed jds, do not read resumes, call you for jobs that have NO BEARING on your resume’s listed skills and etc. Trust me, I have schooled more recruiters in simply knowing the differences between Desktop Support and Helpdesk to trust the crap in this post.

    Trust me guys, read what I wrote above, it’s not all your fault and sometimes out of your hands.

    BE well all.

  15. I interviewed for a position here in St. Louis for an iSeries administrator, the IT manager was 20 something. I dressed for the interview in a suit and tie, he had on shorts, T-shirt and flip flops, he had no idea what an iSeries was he had to google it as well as what questions to ask. In the end I did not get the job because he said I was not exciting enough. I know it was due to my age.