You don’t have to keep asking yourself “Why can’t I get a job?” Just follow these tips.

Do you always feel like the runner-up for the positions you interview for? Does it seem like you’re never going to get that coveted job offer? 

When you’re searching for a new job, it can quickly get frustrating when you have had several interviews without a single job offer. Recruiters take several factors into account when deciding which candidate is the best fit, such as attire, body language, and communication skills. According to one study, 65 percent of hiring managers said clothing choice often sways the decision between two candidates.

From the moment you walk in the door for an interview to the moment you are pulling out of the parking lot, you are being watched and assessed to determine if you are the best choice. The reason you aren’t being chosen as the candidate could be one of several factors. Below are five tips on how to assess your interviewing skills and diagnose why you can’t land the job.

Tip #1: Dress to make an impression

Confidence and overall image help make a strong impression. Most people are anxious for an interview and often try too hard to make an impact. Dress nicely and professionally for every interview, including phone interviews — it helps boost your confidence! Keep jewelry to a minimum and steer clear of excessive makeup and accessories.

Think back to the interviews you’ve had recently. Did you walk tall and convey confidence? Did you dress conservatively and for the job you wanted? Make a list of what outfits you’ve worn and look through the closet for another pairing for your next interview!

Tip #2: Practice communicating effectively and with confidence

Oftentimes, interviewees give long answers, don’t actually answer the question, or are not effective communicators. You want to sound confident in your answers, especially when talking about yourself and your accomplishments.

If you don’t feel you are a strong communicator or you know you need to work on your confidence, you can practice with a family member or friend. If you don’t have someone to practice with, you can record yourself speaking your answers on your computer or smartphone and listen to them to hear how you sound. Are you confident? Are you saying “um,” “huh,” “yeah,” “so,” or “and” too often? How long do your answers run? Typically, you should keep your response to two minutes or under for each question. Listening to yourself respond to interview questions is a great way to strengthen your communication skills.

Tip #3: Research the company extensively

Studies have found the most common interview mistake job seekers make is knowing very little about the company at the time of the interview. In this day and age, there’s no excuse for walking into an interview unprepared.

Do. Your. Research.

Read the job description, go to the company website and read the mission/about us/values, check out the social media pages, and do a basic Google search. Learn about the company. What does it do? What services or products are offered? What are the values? Can you learn about the company culture? Know what kind of company you are speaking with before you go in because if a question is asked and you can’t answer, it will leave a lasting impression — and not a good one.

Tip #4: Study your body language

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who won’t look at you? They look at the ceiling, the floor, their hands, or even the pen you’re writing with; basically, they’ll do anything to avoid eye contact. Needless to say, it’s extremely awkward and quite rude when this happens.

Interviews make people nervous and nerves tend to have people sending some not-so-great nonverbal cues. Eye contact is a big one. When you practice interviewing, work on this particular aspect. Don’t fidget. Leave the clicky pens at home and anything else you could have in your hands to keep them busy. You don’t want to seem uninterested or so unfocused in the interview that it seems you don’t really want to be there.

Tip #5: Recheck references when all else fails

This one's a toughy. Everyone wants to believe the people they use as a reference will give them a glowing review, but will they? Was there a job where you were let go and it’s still on your resume because it has to be? Have you had a falling out with a previous co-worker or perhaps you weren’t as friendly as you thought?

When everything else is aligned and in order and you still haven’t received the job, you should really consider reassessing who you have as references. Most companies want personal and professional references. Professional references can be a previous coworker, manager, or professor. Choose references who have worked with you, watched you perform, or know what kind of worker you are. Offer to give a good reference in return when asking.

Overall, there are many factors at play when recruiters determine which candidate is chosen. You can review your interview skills and diagnose common problems, but sometimes the reason is one you can’t control. Keep trying. Stay confident. Give every single interview all you have and eventually, the perfect job will be yours.

Want to ace the interview and land the job offer, but don’t know where to start? Check out our interview-coaching services now!  

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