Ex-Amazon Recruiter Identifies Key Culprit Behind Job Interview Failures

When it comes to job interviews, there are some clear mistakes that can really hurt your chances. Being late or badmouthing a former employer are two actions that are guaranteed to make a bad first impression.

However, there exists a subtle yet potent interview mistake that may jeopardize your chances of securing a job: the failure to furnish specific examples in your responses. Holly Lee, a former recruitment leader at Amazon, Meta, and Google, emphasizes that this omission is unequivocally the leading reason individuals falter in job interviews. 

Lee, now a leadership career coach based in Phoenix, notes that some candidates either overestimate their qualifications, assuming their resumes suffice, or provide vague, concise answers without investing adequate time in reflecting on the precise ways their work benefits a company’s bottom line.

For instance, if asked about the significant impact made in their career, candidates often respond with brief statements like “I saved my company $1 million on a project” or “I improved our onboarding process,” without delving into specific contexts or details.

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Concrete Examples Make Lasting Impressions in Interviews

ex-amazon-recruiter-identifies-key-culprit-behind-job-interview-failures
When it comes to job interviews, there are some clear mistakes that can really hurt your chances.

Lee stresses that neglecting to furnish concrete examples of strengths, contributions, and impact in previous roles can convey a lack of thoughtfulness and trustworthiness to potential employers.

Lee underscores the importance of demonstrating one’s accomplishments to build trust and positively influence the interviewer. She explains that providing vague, clipped responses implies unpreparedness and a lack of deliberate work approach.

To avoid this common mistake and make a lasting impression in interviews, Lee recommends arriving prepared with 3-5 specific examples of strengths, weaknesses, challenges overcome, recent wins, and mock answers to common questions. Crucially, these examples should be relevant to the job in question.

Candidates can also employ the “STAR” method—situation, task, action, and result—when structuring their examples. Lee advises starting with the end result, determining the achieved outcome in a recent project or through applied skills, and working backward to elucidate the process, participants, and context.

Such meticulous preparation not only boosts confidence but allows candidates to convey passion during interviews, according to Lee. She asserts that candidates exuding enthusiasm are the ones interviewers are eager to hire.

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