Category Archives: Interview

Emotional Intelligence and “Fit”

If you get through the phone screen, or even the interview stage, but no further, you may have ask for honest feedback and received the statement that you weren’t the right “fit,” or you weren’t a good “fit.”  Liz Ryan says that “companies use it to say “no thanks” in a multitude of different situations” including (1) poor company performance resulting in elimination of the opening, (2) your salary expectations are too high, or (3) your personality is different from the organization culture and they fear it won’t mesh well.  Careerigniter describes “fit” as being push out for “arbitrary reasons.” Ian Welsh has suggested that hiring based on fit “makes little sense.”

In my opinion, most companies are pretty willing to make Liz’s first two statements openly, if not in writing, at least verbally.  I’ve been told twice that I was the last candidate to make it through but for purely financial reasons, companies have elected not to fill the position at this time.  Both times the US promptly went into a recession, so I can’t say it was a poor decision on their part.  I’ve also been told “this is top salary for the position – is that something you can accept?”  It wasn’t, and we saved ourselves a lot of time and effort by getting that info out early.

Unlike some of the other comments above, most career coaches agree with me that fit is real, although companies may describe it differently. They also see it as the interface between company culture and a candidate’s personality.  See Frederick County Workforce Services (“what they mean is that their personality doesn’t match the company, or possibly the supervisor the person would report to”); Dummies (“fit essentially refers to how an individual fits into a company’s culture”); Jaime Petkanics (“they want to assess how you will go about doing the job”).

Kyriaki Raouna says: “When employers tell you that you are not a good fit for the job, it has nothing to do with your qualifications and skills or how good you are for the job. It is simply used to explain how employers perceive you and what they think about your personality and cultural fit. So judging from the answers that you give in the job interview or – even what you post on social media, employers can get a pretty good idea of who you are, what you want, how long you are going to stay in the job and how happy you are going to be in it.”

While many of these coaches will also say that being rejected for fit is for the best, and you really shouldn’t try to change yourself to be a better fit, I tend to disagree.  We should all be alert to feedback that offers insight into ways we can improve ourselves.  If it wasn’t a fit, there is a reason it wasn’t a fit.  You may want to remain genuine to yourself, so if the reason it wasn’t a fit is you are a party animal and when they Googled you they saw that there’s drink named after you at a local bar, and you remain proud of that, just accept that their culture won’t work for you.

On the other hand, if you gave off a very negative vibe and seemed very cynical in the interview, and that’s not what you wanted to project, then you may have an opportunity to improve your emotional intelligence.  The article below talks about 12 competencies of emotional intelligence, at least one of which we can all improve.  When you get the “fit” response to feedback, don’t ignore it.  Look through these 12 and pick one to work on.

Emotional Intelligence Has 12 Elements. Which Do You Need to Work On?

Emotional Intelligence Domains and Competencies

Job Search Tactics Prezi Webinar March 30, 2017

In case you missed it, or if you just want to review something, I’ve provided links to the Job Search Tactics Prezi, and the audio recording below.

Click Job Search Tactics Visual Prezi (March 30, 2017) for the visual part of the webinar. You may need to register with Prezi, and you will need to ‘drive’ the Prezi yourself with the forward and backward arrows on the bottom of the screen.

The audio is available here:

I recommend getting the visual up and running and then starting the audio, then matching the audio to what you see on the screen. Pause your audio player when you want to take more time to read what is on the screen.

Blue on White O Logo

Ask Good Questions During the Interview

At some point in the interview, usually near the end, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions.  The best questions are those that trigger an opportunity for you to tell a personal SOAR story.  Some people call these STAR stories.

What is a SOAR Story? Start with the 10 accomplishments in your career of which you are most proud. Those are the Results – the R in STAR or SOAR. Draw five columns on a sheet of paper. In the right-most column labelled R, list your Results. Leave the left-most column blank for now, but in the second from the left labelled S for Situation, briefly describe what the situation was before you began working on it. The next column to the right can be labelled T for Task that you had to complete or O for the Obstacle you had to overcome. The next column is labelled A for the Action you took.

After you’ve filled out that part of the table for 10 results you are most proud of, you want to commit your SOAR or STAR stories to memory. You want to be able to quickly relate any question an interviewer might ask to one of the stories and tell it. Practice with a friend. Once you’ve got your stories down, so you can trigger them from memory easily, you need to work on that left-most column. This column is for questions you will ask the interviewer when they inevitably ask if you have any questions. You want to ask a question that will trigger the interviewer to start talking about the subject matter of one of your SOAR stories. When that happens, listen for a while, until you hear the opening to chime in with something like “we had a situation similar to that when …” and tell your SOAR story.


“All is flux, nothing stays still”
― Plato