Getting an interview but not getting hired is a bit like being shown an expensive dinner but not being allowed to eat it. You're tantalizingly close, but the prize gets pulled away at the last minute.

It's impressive to land interviews in a crowded job market, but if you don't get hired, it's a meaningless achievement. Sometimes you can interview, do everything right, and simply lose out to a better candidate.

If, however, you find yourself repeatedly getting to the interview stage but not getting hired, well, you may be doing something wrong. These are some common mistakes that trip people up and keep them from getting hired.

A man and woman sit across from a woman.

There are lots of mistakes that can keep you from being hired. Image source: Getty Images.

You don't act like you want the job

Employers understand that many jobs may just be a stepping stone or a stop along a greater path. It's fine if you express a desire to eventually get to a position that's in a direct line from the one you are interviewing for. What they don't want to hear is that your goals lie somewhere else entirely. You may want to be the next great American novelist, but that's not relevant as you interview for a job in middle management at a bank.

Stay focused on the job you are interviewing for. Make it clear you are excited about that position.

You're not prepared

Back when I served as a newspaper editor, I was amazed by the number of young would-be reporters who never bothered to read the paper before their interview. I would ask a question about specific daily features in the paper -- literally things they would have seen had they read that day's paper -- and they would stare at me blankly.

Do your homework. Know as much about the company and the job going in as you possibly can and be ready to talk in specifics.

You're nervous

Being nervous at an interview is understandable, but it can kill your chances of getting the job. The only way to get over being nervous is to prepare and practice. 

If you're not good in interview situations, take a class on public speaking and put yourself in uncomfortable positions. Go on as many interviews as you can and create practice situations -- have friends interview you if you can. Repetition can help you get over your fears, or at least handle them better.

You don't know how to answer key questions

Some interviewers like to pull out a challenging question to attempt to throw the interviewee off his or her game. It's impossible to prepare for every possible scenario, but the internet is full of lists of questions you should prepare for. Be ready for the most common challenging questions and you should be ready to answer anything that's thrown your way.

Cover your bases

Sometimes, after I interviewed multiple people, I was unsure about who I should hire. In general, the person I picked for the job would be the one who did the most things right. Sometimes it was as simple as one candidate sending a thank you note when the other did not.

Be prepared. Show up with multiple copies of your resume, a reference sheet, and any supporting materials your interview requires. Dress appropriately for the interview, arrive a few minutes early, and be polite and upbeat.

Basically, don't give the person or people doing the hiring an opportunity to disqualify you. That means handling the actual interview well, but also doing all the little things that leave an overall positive impression.