Climb the Ladder

This Small Interview Mistake Will Keep You From Getting the Job

If you’re familiar at all with how we work here at Scouted, you know that we put a lot of effort into being your job search liaison. Not only do we match you to great career opportunities, but we also share resume advice, help with job interview prep, and even help you navigate job offer negotiations. 

We also act as liaisons for our partner companies, making sure both candidates and companies are all on the same page during hiring processes. In the midst of this, we tend to hear a lot of feedback on how interviews went, both from candidates and hiring managers.

Recently, we received feedback that we’ve heard before…, and we thought it was worth talking about. 

After an interview, a hiring manager told us that the candidate “seem[ed] to be running away from her current company, not towards a new job/company.”

As candidates, it can be easy to think that if your resume and past experiences align with a job description, then you’re checking all the boxes on the hiring managers’ list. 

That’s not always the case.

Seem harsh? 

It may seem that way, especially to someone who is trying to get out of an unpleasant situation at work. But think of it this way…

Demonstrate a passion for the company

In a hiring manager’s position, they have to select one candidate out of five, ten, maybe twenty interviewees. If all other interviewees seem excited about joining the company and one or two give the impression that this is just another interview to get out of their current job, all things being equal, a hiring manager will ten out of ten times choose the candidate who is excited to join their company.

This company is the hiring manager’s livelihood. It may even be the company they started. As much as you’re worried about getting the job, a hiring manager is worried about you being the right fit and staying on for the long haul.

Show excitement for the role

We have all sorts of roles on Scouted. Anything from a CEO/Founder at a brand new startup to administrative positions at the largest hedge fund in the world, and many in-between. For the latter, we have many candidates with great backgrounds interview because the role is an awesome learning opportunity, not necessarily because the role is what they’d like to do long-term. Which is completely ok. However, we remind our candidates that it’s extremely important that they don’t go into an interview acting as if the role is a stepping stone. 

Even in the most entry-level positions, hiring managers want to see that the candidate they hire is excited about the job itself. This candidate may be replacing someone whose work had been lagging, or they may be hiring someone into a totally new position. In either case, finding a candidate with passion for the role is of the utmost importance. And like we said before, if nine out of ten candidates seem excited about the job and you’re the one who’s… “Meh…” you probably won’t get an offer.

Also read: 5 of Our Favorite Interview Tips from Career Coaches

Speak positively about your previous employer

You may have heard this advice a lot, but it’s worth repeating here. Even if you had a bad experience with your previous employer, talk about the positive things you took away from the experience. It may feel disingenuous (because your previous experience really was horrible), but a hiring manager has no way to verify the negative information you’re sharing or to know that you weren’t actually the problem in the relationship. And, considering the hiring manager could be your next boss, they may be wary of the same issues happening again.

With that being said, talk about what you learned from your previous position, projects you completed, the growth you contributed to, and then about your excitement for the future and what you hope to learn at your new company in your new role.

Also read: How to Talk About Why You’re Leaving Your Old Company

So how can you show excitement?

One simple way to show your excitement about a role and a company is to do your research! Come with at least some understanding of what the company does and how you can help in their mission. Also come to your interview with specific questions about what the company needs, their culture, and how you can contribute to their success. When your interviewer asks, “Why should we hire you?” be prepared with a great, specific answer about how your skills will add to the company. 

Also, feel free to simply say, “I’m excited!”

Like what you’re reading? Sign up to get our best career advice and job search tips.


Candidates, Climb the Ladder