Why You Didn’t Get Called Back for a 2nd Job Interview

by Ryan Guina

Are you wondering why you weren’t been called back for a second job interview, or better yet – offered the position you just interviewed for?  If you didn’t get a call back or a job offer from your interview, chances are you may have committed some of the “things not to do” at a job interview!

Here are some things “not to do” at your next job interview.  If you avoid the things on this list, maybe next time you will be called back for a second job interview – or offered the job:

Arrive unprepared for the interview: have you ever just shown up to a job interview and figured you would “wing it”?  Most job candidates will spend several days preparing for an interview.  If you come in unprepared and hoping to “wing it”; your interviewer will know and everyone who came prepared will have a better chance at getting the job than you do.  Know the business you’re applying to work for, update your resume and references, and spend some time thinking about responses to questions you will probably be asked.

Second Job InterviewSay too little: do not give one word answers to the interviewer’s questions.  Even if it seems the question can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” response; take some time to elaborate why you’ve answered it the way you have.

Say too much: on the other hand, you don’t want to say too much and forget the interviewer should be leading the conversation, not you.  Make sure you show your listening skills by allowing the interviewer to talk uninterrupted, and then keep your answers on topic to avoid rambling.

Be a comedian: sure, you may think you’re funny and you may relieve stress by making people laugh but a job interview is not the place to show off your comedy skills.  An interviewer might think you are not serious about wanting the job if you make jokes during the interview.

Use your cell phone: it is never acceptable to take a phone call, read or respond to a text message during an interview.  Turn your phone off before the interview and give the interviewer your undivided attention.

Dress casually: even if you know the dress code is business casual, do not show up casually dressed for an interview.  Your first impression is made with your appearance.

Complain about your last employer: when asked why you’re leaving or why you left your last place of employment, do not take the opportunity to bad mouth the employer or the workplace.  No one wants to hire someone who bad mouths the company they worked for, or complains about everything.  Also, don’t blame incidents at your previous employer on co-workers. If something happened, talk about it honestly and don’t place blame.

Cry about your problems: a potential employer could care less about how much debt you have, or that you’re trying to support your children and need to make more money.  They don’t hire candidates based on the financial need of the candidates, so don’t use your interview to cry about your problems.

Stretch the truth or lie: one of the worst things you can do in an interview or on a job application is lie about your experiences, education or qualifications.  A good company is going to do a background check and verify the information you’ve given them, and lying during a job interview is a sure way not to get called in for a second interview – or grounds for dismissal if it’s discovered after you’ve been hired.

Show up late to interview: someone who can’t make it in to the interview on time is also someone who is likely to be late to work regularly.  Plan to be fifteen minutes early.  If an emergency or traffic jam is going to make you late, call the office and let them know.

Not following up: sending a quick e-mail or letter after your interview is a great way to thank the interviewer for their time, ask any questions that might have come up since you did the interview, or clarify any issues that may have occurred during the interview.

Photo credit: bpsusf.

Published or updated June 13, 2011.
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 krantcents

In most cases, the mistakes were obvious! Being on time is a pet peeve of mine! A little practice is all it takes to do well in the interview.


2 Jon

You should know about the job in which you are interviewing. Companies like forethought and if they think you have an edge on what their company is all about and why you want to work for them their interest will be peaked. Also, do NOT chew gum during an interview — that is the antithesis of professional!


3 Squirrelers

It’s always amazing how some people violate some of the basics – like showing up on time, being dressed for an interview, etc. Hard to imagine missing on these obvious ones!

The area where I think many well-meaning candidates fail, though, is preparation. It requires more than a general knowledge of the company, and it isn’t just about knowing your own skills/experience/interests. It’s also about demonstrating why you’re the best fit for the job, and part of that is showing that you’ll work hard to learn about the company. Again, it shows initiative and drive – traits employers look for.


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