Why Do Interviews Die? That Sinking Feeling and How to Avoid It.

Jeff Altman
5 min readNov 21, 2023

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Interviews may die because a mistake occurred. Sometimes, you’ve made a mistake; sometimes they die because someone who screened a resume did.

  1. Interviews often occur because someone has reviewed a resume and interpreted something that you have written in ways that you didn’t intend. Sometimes, they die because someone believes that you have a skill that you didn’t list; sometimes, they misread something in your experience. Within 15 minutes, each of you knows that something is wrong but because interview etiquette doesn’t permit it, the conversation languishes on.
  2. Sometimes it is your mistake. Sometimes you have overstated an experience or skill in your resume. In job markets like these, it is common for people to include every skill or experience they have been near or around in their resume in the hope that they will get an interview. As I screen resumes, it has become too common for me to find out about people having 4 months of experience with the core skill of the job I am trying to fill. That is rarely adequate for my client in the searches we are attempting to complete, yet, like mission inspectors in Iraq, I have to ask a follow-up question to deduce that the experience is inadequate.
  3. The interviewer is off in another thought and you don’t bring them around to pay attention to you. Although an interview may be the most important thing in your day, it may be one of 25 priorities of the interviewers. What you may interpret as a dying interview may be the interviewer thinking about a project responsibility, the next question they’re going to ask, their commute, an argument with a spouse/significant other or child, an upcoming meeting or a million other possibilities.
  4. You are boring the interviewer. Too often, answers to questions send the job-seeker off in lengthy answers that are just downright boring and long. It’s not the question; it’s that the person hasn’t organized their thoughts around a subject so the answer becomes so lengthy, uninteresting, and, often, has no relationship with the original question.

How Can I Avoid This?

There are different strategies depending upon the mistake. I’ll answer by offering ways to…

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Jeff Altman

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter. Career Coach. Host of No BS Job Search Advice Radio & JobSearchTV.com. Join JobSearch.Community. It will help you