Ideally it is expected that after a job interview, the most qualified candidate will secure the opportunity. However sometimes the most qualified job seeker shoot themselves on the foot and misses the long awaited career opportunity.
There are a number of reasons which would make a recruiter or an employer by-pass the most qualified candidate and all the reasons have nothing to do with the hiring organization or the hiring manager. They all rise and fall with the job candidate.
1. Poor research about the organization
I once interviewed a candidate who had an interesting response when I asked her what she knew about the organization. She mumbled then said “ I’m not so sure, but from what I heard I think you guys always do this kind of business … could I be right”? She concluded with a question. My collegue and I gave each other that funny blank stare and in my mind I already knew where we would place her.
Employers want to hire serious candidates who know about their industry and related challenges, and who have thought about ways that they can contribute to the company’s success. If your first question to the interviewer is, “So, what does this company do?” be sure that will be the end of you hearing from them.
2. You have a bad smell or very strong perfume
I remember this graduate interviewee who walked into the interview room and all over sudden the whole place had this pungent nicotine smell of cigarette. The gentleman was brilliant but all that was overshadowed by the strong smell which hung in the room throughout our interaction. It was very uncomfortable despite the fact that it could have been his way of cooling nerves. He didn’t make it past that stage.
The last thing you want to do in a job interview is give the employer a reason not to like you.
The same goes for heavy cologne or perfume use. You never know who has allergies, sensitivities or simple distaste for the scent.
Play it safe, go in clean and fresh and apply moderate body spray.
3. You’re sloppy in your resume
The way you present your job application details speak a lot about you and interviewers are keen to pick out every bit of details that will help in making a conclusive decision about you.
Wrongly spelt words or poor grammar, misused phrases and too many typos in your resume speaks of someone who can’t write properly, doesn’t pay attention to detail, or just doesn’t care that much. Any of those can keep you from being hired even if you have the best qualifications in every sense.
Always proofread your resume and cover letter before sending them out. Their testimony about you is very strong.
4. Your attitude stinks
As an interviewer and HR expert, I have encountered strange candidates during interviews. One right on getting into the interview room expressed his displeasure and demanded and apology for having to wait at the reception for more than half an hour yet he thought we a serious organization on matters time management. I thought to myself, then why are you still here, you should have left immediately after ten minutes of waiting. The candidate kicked off our interaction on a very wrong footing. You know the outcome!!
Employers want to hire individuals who are upbeat and very positive. Do not cocme to the interview bad mouthing your current or previous employer and bosses. It rubs everyone (except you) the wrong way.
Present an attitude that will attract the interviewer and leave a positive imprint. Remember the saying “attitude is everything”. Always support your great qualifications with a great positive attitude otherwise you will never hear again from the hiring company.
5. Strange phrases in your resume
I once received a candidates CV with this closing line “Given my obvious qualifications, if I am not selected for this position, I expect to be informed of why.” How would have progressed with this job seekers details?
Sometimes job candidates also include weird hobbies and interests in the resume that put off the hiring team.
Keep all of the information on your resume relevant to the job you’re applying for. There’s no need to list hobbies or interests especially if they could hurt your chances for employment.
Try and avoid phrases that would portray you as less tolerant to diversity in the workplace or your general life.
6. You are desperate
It is important to demonstrate enthusiasm about the role at hand. However you need to draw the line between tour enthusiasm and desperation. Don’t come across during the interview as that candidate who may die if they miss the chance.
No matter how badly you want the job, you have to play it cool, but not too cool. Display confidence without being cocky. Don’t create an atmosphere that will make the hiring team start asking themselves why you want that job so desperately.
7. You don’t look the part
For any job interview, it is important to look well groomed, professional and respectful. This means dressing up a little more than you normally would to show that you care and that you take the interview seriously. The first thing you get noticed when you arrive for an interview or enter the interview room is your dressing.
No matter how good or technically sound you are, if you do not look the part then you will never get the job.
Make the hiring organization feel important and respected by taking time to dress properly for the interview. Learn to ignore the myth of dressing in jean trouser and t-shirt when going for an interview in a tech or engineering company.
8. Unrealistic salary expectations
Salary is one of the key things that makes one opt for a new job. It is important to have the right information about the hiring organization wage structure or generally the industry it operates in.
But if your expectations are unrealistic, or you are too demanding or inflexible, it will turn employers off.
A new job opportunity is not a salary jackpot station. Be willing to negotiate for the best deal you can get.
9. Your social media ain’t professional
While job hunting it is important to know the power of your social media activities toward your mission. You could easily loose an opportunity because of it.
One hiring manager explained how after interviewing a brilliant candidate, went further to find out more about him. To his dismay all his Facebook photos were showing the gentleman either in a company of shisha smokers or in a pub with tables full of alcoholic drinks. His opinion of him was diminished.
In this age and time, social media has become more of media than social. Use it well otherwise you will be hurting all your hard earned experience and qualifications.
10. The reference dilemma
This would work out in two ways.
I have encountered great candidates who gave references letters that were fake. They actually prepared the details by themselves and hoped it would work for them. It didn’t.
The other is the group of qualified candidates whom I have begged umpteenth time to share with me the details for their referees with little success. I gave up chasing on them and they missed the opportunity. Just like that.
Then there is this candidate who had a referee whose recommendation was not so good. I wondered why pick such a referee in the first place.
Whenever you get a job interview invite, always remember to reach out to your well known referees and seek their permission to use them for that reason.
Finding a job is hard, and the competition is fierce. But if you keep getting turned down for jobs that you know you’re qualified for, maybe it’s time to make sure that you’re not inadvertently acting in one of the above ways that repels most employers.