EMPLOYERS are always keen to hire good people, so why is it that some job-seekers who seemingly have the right qualifications and qualities find themselves attending interview after interview — with no job offer in sight?
Often, this has to do with how these job-seekers project themselves — especially if they are not very experienced in the job hunt process.
Here are some common mistakes that job seekers make when applying for a job and how prospective employers view such errors.
1. You don’t know much about the company
The only excuse a job seeker has for not knowing about the company is if the company has chosen to remain anonymous, for example, by placing a blind advertisement.
If you know the name of the company, make it a point to find out as much as you can about the organisation.
Check out its website. Find out what its core products or services are, who their competitors are, what the company philosophy is, the locations they operate in, and so on.
Showing the interviewer that you have done your research on the company demonstrates that you have initiative and that you take pride in how you present yourself.
Employer’s perspective: Someone who does not fulfil this basic expectation comes across as “sloppy” and uninterested. The interviewer will think: “If applicants can’t even be bothered to find out about the company they are applying for a job with, how can I expect them to do their job well or go the extra mile?”
2. You are unprepared for the interview
Never attend an interview without preparing for it. Know enough about the role you are applying for and be prepared to answer tough questions.
Sometimes simple questions like “How would you describe yourself?” or “What are your aspirations?” tend to throw people off.
There are many sites on the Internet that offer interview support, so check them out. Remember that when an interviewer is asking questions, he is also interested in how you carry yourself, whether you comfortable with yourself and how interested you are in the job.
Preparing well for an interview does not simply involve memorising “text book” answers to tough questions either.
Being well-rehearsed is one thing, but it is also important to project some of your personality. Role-play with a friend and ask for feedback on areas that need improvement.
Employer’s perspective: Unprepared means uninterested. It is not just the job fit that employers are interested in — they also want to know if you are right for the company culture.
3. You don’t manage your online presence
Employers are known to check on their candidate’s online profile through social networking sites like Facebook.
Make sure that you untag yourself from photos that reflect badly on you — your friends might think that a picture of you acting strangely after one drink too many is funny, but a prospective employer certainly will not!
Employer’s perspective: Someone who always appears to be partying on a social networking site is probably not focused on work. If the comments he posts on social networking sites are complaints about work or colleagues, he may be a difficult employee.
4. You don’t think about what you can do for the employer
Ask yourself these questions before you send off your job application: “What contribution can I make? Why should they hire me versus someone else? What’s so good about me?”
Some people only see the job search from their perspective — they need a job. They forget that they are competing with others for the same position.
Thinking about how you can contribute to the organisation will help you differentiate yourself from other job seekers.
Employer’s perspective: A candidate who tries to show how he can add value tells the employer that he is serious about the role and that he is ready to take on responsibilities.
5. You “bad mouth” your previous employer
Injustice does exist in the workplace, but what a prospective employer looks for is your ability to transcend a bad experience and move on.
The hiring manager also looks for maturity in how you handle conflicts and how you solve problems. When someone holds on to past hurts, he does not have the energy to deal with current opportunities.
Employer’s perspective: What will this person do when he leaves us? Is he going to “bad mouth” us in the same way?
6. You are careless about confidentiality
I have seen resumés posted online where candidates list names of clients serviced, targets achieved and other sensitive information. This demonstrates a disregard for confidentiality and a lack of discretion.
Employer’s perspective: When a candidate divulges too much information about their personal or work lives, the prospective employer may question his judgement as well as his trustworthiness.
Job applications and interviews, in particular, are about human interaction and are similar to meeting people at a party or social event.
Common courtesies still apply — we never tell too much at the first meeting or get too comfortable. The trick is to make a good enough impression to get invited back — or in the case of an interview, to land the job.