bad-int.jpgA while back I was on a morning radio show out of Grand Rapids, MI, called Barnaby and Friends; something I do every other week or so. I thought I did great and was patting myself on the back after it was done until my husband, who was working from our home office that day and overheard the interview, deflated my big head.

“You were speaking too fast,” he said, adding that I sounded nervous or like I had too much coffee.

Yikes! I thought I was sounding like Suze Orman or something but it turned out it was more like one of the Chipmunks.

I share this story because many of you have been writing me lately about interviews you thought you nailed but didn’t get the job. Alas, we are not our own worst critics so it’s time to get an interview reality check.

This from reader K.U.

I have been laid off since June 2009 and I have been very lucky as I got many interviews and second interviews but no job offer. I am not sure where I am going wrong, is it my references, my performance in the interview. It would be very helpful if employers can at least give you some feedback so that you don’t repeat those things again. Employers now a days are extremely busy and professionalism has become thing of the past.

It’s so aggravating that people don’t have the common decency to let job candidates know why they haven’t made the cut, and I’m hearing this more and more from job seekers. The hiring managers hold all the cards today and they know it.

Why take time out to tell someone something negative? It’s not fun for most civilized people. If you had bad breath, or your suit was too tight, or your portfolio was lousy, or you spoke to fast, it would be hard for anyone to tell you that, right?

It would be great if you had a little husband fly on the wall to give you honest feedback after an interview, but in lieu of this, I figured I’d ask some HR and recruiting experts what they thought.

First off, I turned to my good friend who also happens to be the head of human resources for a major corporation.

Should job-seekers ask for feedback if they don’t get the gig, I asked her:

I say it doesn’t hurt to ask. Not every manager is comfortable in giving you details, but I find that if the candidate is working with a recruiter they are more likely to receive that feedback.

If it is an internal position/candidate I feel it is the manager’s responsibility to provide the information which can be a developmental need or skill requirement for the employee.

As for how to ask, simply say, “would you mind providing me with interview feedback so that I can learn or development from it?”

And don’t, don’t, don’t try to lobby for the job after you’ve been rejected:

“I’m turned off when a candidate is defensive or seemingly trying to renegotiate/reopen the interview process,” stressed an HR manager for a major health care company in the Northeast.

One of the biggest questions from readers is whether to call the hiring manager or just send an email or written note.

There are a few schools of thought on this.

Go ahead and call, not email, advised Eric Herrenkohl is the author of How to Hire A-Players.

“It is easier to ignore an email than a person on the line,” he said.

Indeed, there may be a reason they’re ignoring your emails.

My HR buddy said: “Some companies may have a policy or practice whereby the manager does not respond in detail in writing (email).” But, she added, “calling puts them on the spot and some managers may not feel comfortable in responding or they will appreciate the directness and provide the info.”

She suggested you consider how you’ve been communicating throughout the interview process. “If everything was set up through email then I would ask that question via email.”

How ever you connect, the bottom line is to “be completely positive,” stressed Herrenkohl. “Thank them for the opportunity to interview. Say you understand they hired the best person for the job, you’re just trying to get better. Ask: ‘what did I do well and what could have been better?’”

And, he continued, “read between the lines. If a hiring manager says ‘make sure to let the interviewers get to know you as a person.’ he may really be saying ‘you were too quiet in the interview, I thought you lacked confidence.’”

Put yourself in the hiring gal or guy’s shoes for a moment. It’s not an easy task to get people to tell you like it is, especially strangers. Husbands are another story.

Do you give honest feedback? I’m going to guess you wouldn’t tell me if my butt looked big in these jeans.butt.jpg

Speaking about big butts, here’s a recording of a show I did for Barnaby about employers trying to trim down their employees. This interview was done after my hubby told me to slow it down. The criticism really helped me.

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