Dear Job Nerd
I’m still struggling to find work. I have done several interviews only to keep coming up empty handed. I feel like I am more than qualified for the positions; however I am not getting picked. What am I doing wrong? What’s are the real reason I’m not landing the job?
Chris M, Project Manager
You can have all the credentials, education and experience, and have no problem getting job interviews, but for one reason or another you aren’t getting the job offer. You are probably asking yourself questions like: ‘What did I do wrong at the interview? What intangibles are they looking for? Is it the economy, or is there something I am missing?’
Before jumping to conclusions, let’s look at 5 reasons why your applications fail:
1. You don’t know well… anything
Sure if you really want the job, you’re expected to spend a lot of time trying to anticipate what you’ll be asked in the interview and practicing what you’ll say and how you’ll say it. Part of being prepared also involves researching the company, beforehand. Having little or no knowledge of the company is the most common mistake made during interviews. 33% of bosses know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether they will hire someone. Your inability to point to research you have performed about the organisation and your failure to ask relevant questions during the interview will reflect poorly on your ambition to work with the company. Put simply – do your homework before an interview.
2. You’re a liar
Any untruths you tell in the job search process, whether you meant to or not, will almost certainly resurface. According to research done by the Society of Human Resource Managers, 53 percent of individuals lie about a ‘fact’ on their resume. Employers invest large amounts of time and money into hiring new candidates so guessing wrong on potential candidates means more costs for the company. To decrease their chances of this happening companies do exhaustive research on candidates before hiring them.
Avoid fabricating abilities or attributes you don’t possess on your CV and don’t overestimate the time you have spent using certain applications or working on projects. There is nothing worse than having an interviewer thumb through your CV, testing you to make sure you are familiar with a certain program, for them only to find that you used it for three weeks. My point here is don’t resort to lying and trying to tell a recruiter what you think they want to hear. Be honest and realistic because everything you tell an employer is going to be thoroughly examined and lies will be uncovered. Be truthful from the get-go, CV’s and interviews should tell your story, the non-fictional version.
3. You have no personality
In sales we say ‘people buy from people they like’, and the same is true for the job search. Recruiters and HR managers interview many candidates every day and if you don’t have a rapport with the interviewer it’s unlikely you’ll be remembered. Be memorable for all the right reasons – be positive, engaging and open.
Companies all have their own unique corporate culture – you may or may not fit into that culture. But if you don’t show your true personality how will they know?
4. You have a negative attitude
You’re still fuming over that old boss who screwed you over, but no one wants to hear about it, especially not a hiring manager for a new job. Saying negative things is undoubtedly the fastest way to talk yourself out of a new job. No matter how legitimate your complaints about your old boss or workplace, you will most certainly come out as the loser because the interviewer will assume you will have the same negative things to say about their company. If you encounter a question relating to experiences with a former employer be sure to add a positive twist.
5. You fail to answer the question
Remember that the interview process is like a test, you either pass or fail, you get hired or you don’t. Questions asked by recruiters are attempts to see if you will be an asset of the company and if it is in their best interest to hire you. An interview is not your chance to talk about everything you know, you just need to focus on answering the question. The interviewer asks you a question, you give an answer. Be succinct by keeping your answers brief and concise, don’t side step the question. Failure to clearly answer questions will indicate to the recruiter that you are not a good listener and probably not someone they want to hire. If you need a couple of seconds to gather your thoughts then it’s quite acceptable to ask for a moment before answering the question.
It seems Chris as if you’ve been taking for granted the interviewing process. You thought you were qualified and that the interview operates in a standard way. Now you understand that your CV and interviewing time are your only opportunities to present yourself to the company. In such a small window of time you need to create a memorable impression. So do your homework, be authentic, don’t be negative but be yourself and show the employer you can think on your feet.