I have said many times that interviewing for a new job can be the most negative experience a person can participate in.  If you consider that you interview for many positions, and you only accept one, you usually go through a lot of negative scenarios during the process. 

In the feedback you have gotten during your interview cycles, have you ever heard these terms used to describe how people perceived you?

Over Confident?  Over Qualified?  Arrogant?  Strong Willed?  Soft Spoken??  Best Interview??  Worst Interview??  Amazing Company Values Fit!  Does not fit our Company Values. 

How did you receive that feedback?  Did you allow it to change how you presented yourself during your next interviews?  Did it make you reconsider how people perceive your presentation style?

I have found that much of the Interview Process these days is difficult for the candidate to “measure success” from.  I have been in several interviews over the last 6-8 weeks and have experienced a wide range of feedback from these interviews, which has made me consider some things as both a Candidate (Interviewee) and the Recruiter / Hiring Manager (Interviewer).  I wanted to go over a few of my thoughts in this article and hopefully hear from others on their experiences


Many times, I have found this difficult to obtain.  I respect that recruiters are busier than ever these days.  They receive hundreds of resumes and applications for each position they post and are responsible for reviewing and selecting candidates.  I also accept that it’s impossible to respond to every application and candidate on why you did not select them for the interview process.  But, feedback is extremely valuable to a candidate.  I believe that if you have engaged a candidate in the formal process, that you should provide a degree of feedback to the candidate, especially, if they are no longer moving forward in the hiring process.  If you went through the time and effort to engage with that candidate, intentional or not, you have sparked a degree of hope and excitement in them.  Just going dark, and not responding to contact attempts from a candidate can have longer-term impacts than you might think.  Not wanting to share bad news is not an excuse.  As people, we have the potential to learn more from failure than success sometimes.  Candidates are owed closure around an opportunity, if the door was opened and the candidate was engaged, take time to provide closure.  Even a short explanation can be beneficial and help the candidate grow.


I have to admit, I don’t understand this feedback statement.  How can a person be over-qualified?  Aren’t you looking to hire the best possible candidate?  Wouldn’t having a higher level of skill and capability be beneficial to the team?  Would not having a highly qualified candidate, even for a short time be a value add to your team and overall success?  Is this term just a platitude for saying that you don’t think a candidate would stay in the role very long?  Is it possible that as a hiring manager, you are concerned their skillset is higher than your own?  If a candidate applies for the position, even if it could be considered a lower role or title than previous roles, has the candidate not expressed interest and commitment by applying for the role?  I have to admit, the statement that a candidate is “over-qualified” for a role is probably the most confusing response to an application that I can think of.  

Over Confident

To clarify, I am not speaking about a person who presents themselves as “Arrogant”.  I am speaking about a person who believes in themselves and that personal belief shows in their attitude and presentation.  You see, I believe that true personal confidence is a natural output or evolution of the successes that a person has experienced during their life and career.  When a person has experienced success in their career, they learn from it, want to build on it, and are usually capable of repeating that success in other environments.  We have all heard the term that “Success breeds (or follows) Success”.  If that is a true statement, and that confidence is derived from or is a natural expression of success, then would not a successful person exhibit confidence during their interview process?  Wouldn’t a person who is confident in their abilities be more comfortable in participating in new experiences or opportunities?  Confidence is not arrogance or cockiness, it is the successful pursuit of excellence. 

In Pursuit of Excellence

The conversation around this topic could go on in a variety of directions, both positive and negative.  There are opinions and perceptions on both sides of the topic.  Both sides of the process are looking for the right person for the right role.  Recruiters and Hiring Managers are extremely busy and don’t believe they have time to respond to every candidate they engage with.  Applicants are looking for the answer to “why” they are engaged around an opportunity, and then there is silence.  There are no responses to attempts to contact the people who initiated the engagement.  They question what they did wrong.  A couple of minutes invested in letting a candidate know why they did not move forward can provide them closure on the opportunity, as well as a learning experience that they can use to improve their interview skills for the next opportunity. 

While we all hope that every interview opportunity is our final interview, there is much that can be learned if you don’t get the position as well.  To learn from the interview cycle, and become a better candidate and future member of a team.  We all need feedback so we can grow. 

What do you think?  Am I out in left field with my thoughts?  I welcome your feedback and thoughts on this subject.



Tell me your thoughts in the comments and let’s open a dialog. I would be excited to hear other opinions on this topic.

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Don Clarke

Don Clarke

Co-Founder: Project Management for Today

As a Co-Founder of the pmfortoday.com website, Don Clarke has over 20  years of experience in the Project Management / Program Management space.  Having worked for a variety of companies over the last 20 years, he brings a strong base of knowledge in the industry.  Establishing or helping redefine multiple PMO's during this time, there is a unique perspective to his approach to developing the value of a Project Management Office (PMO), as well as his approach to leadership development within the organization.  Having been privileged to have multiple career defining mentoring experiences, Don realizes the importance of sharing that experience and giving back to the organizations where he is engaged.


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