Un-Ringing the Bell

June 12, 2011

By Brenda Cody

In the past few weeks I’ve had several new clients come to me because they are not performing well in interviews.  This is actually a good sign.  In previous months, clients have wanted help with their resumes or networking or positioning themselves to get a response.  But now the trend I’m seeing is further down the job search pipeline, which is a good thing.  If you’re getting interviews, that means you’re doing a lot of things right: your networking, your resume and your targeting are all being done correctly.

But then….you’re blowing it in the interview.  And as we all know, you can’t un-ring a bell, or can you?  Interviewing is simply a pass/fail proposition: either you’re moving on to the next phase of the hiring process, or you’re not.  If you’ve rung a bell you didn’t mean to ring, most times the interviewer will automatically file you in the ‘no’ category and there’s no going back.  There are several factors why this is:

1) The caliber of candidates is high

2) Candidates are well-prepared for a ‘normal’ interview process

3) Organizations and hiring professionals don’t have the time to give candidates ‘the benefit of the doubt’

4) Hiring professionals believe they are going to find the ‘perfect’ candidate and…

5) The interviewer is willing to wait in this economy for the ‘perfect’ candidate to show up

However, there is one BIG caveat to the above factors: these factors only come into play when there is no real connection made during the interview conversation.  If there is a connection made between the interviewer and interviewee, i.e. the interviewee has positioned them self as ‘likeable’ in the eyes of the interviewer, then there may be several bells the interviewee can ring without automatically going into the ‘no’ pile.

So, the only way to un-ring the bell is to make a connection with the interviewer and be likeable.  Am I suggesting you don’t prepare properly?  Absolutely not.  Try not to ring the bell in the first place, but if you do, know that all is not lost, unless you fail to make a connection.

Brenda Cody, M.S. Brenda  became a career coach, speaker and trainer in 2002 following a 20+ year career in Corporate America.  She holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration (Human Resources) and her M.S. degree in Mental Health Counseling. She is affiliated with the Colorado Career Development Association, the Career Management Alliance and in 2007 was voted “Member of the Year” by the Denver Coach Federation.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim Schultz June 14, 2011 at 11:49 am


Perhaps you could do a bit more explanation of how a “connection” is made.


Christine Testolini June 19, 2011 at 4:54 pm

We hear the same thing over and over again about “blown” interviews, especially with technical people. These folks are trained to be experts in their technical field, but very often are not taught fundamental interpersonal communication skills. Learning how to really connect in an interview, to build rapport, to ask the questions that really determine if you and the company are a good fit . . . . all are possible!

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