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10 reasons why you did not get the job

Updated by Hays UAE, May 2017 

Author: Nick Deligiannis, MD Hays Australia & New Zealand

Are you sabotaging your job search without even realising? Unsurprisingly, things like turning up late or swearing during an interview are sure ways to ensure you definitely aren’t going to get called back for a final interview. However, we often find that it’s the smaller, seemingly insignificant things that damage a candidate’s chances of landing their dream job.

In this article, I want to reveal the most common ways in which we see candidates sabotage their job search, without even realising. So, if you’re guilty of any of them, sit back and take note.

1. Your online profiles and offline CV mismatch

Remember, the interviewer will have no doubt done their online and offline research on you before they meet you. They will quickly spot any inconstancies in your work history, duties or employers and thus form an opinion that you may be untrustworthy.

Having inconsistent online profiles and offline CV’s is a common mistake, and usually is an innocent one.

When we question a candidate about such inconsistencies prior to their interview, more often than not there is often a valid reason. A lot of the time a candidate has different versions of their CV in order to emphasise particular skills and apply for different roles. The solution here is simple – succinctly describe all aspects of previous roles in your online profile, then expand upon those relevant to the job you are applying for in your CV.

2. You haven’t kept your skills fresh

Have you been in your current role for a while, got comfortable and unintentionally neglected your professional development?

Remember, job loyalty is a noble quality, but not if it comes at the expense of your own career development.

If you aren’t familiar with the latest version of Outlook or CRM your CV may come across as out of date or irrelevant to potential employers. It’s equally important that your skills develop and advance in your existing role. If not, you come across as stale and lacking motivation.

3. Your nerves have got the better of you during the interview

We understand that job interviews can be nerve-wracking. However coming to the interview flustered and visibly anxious will put you on the back foot and affect how confidently you deliver your answers. If you don’t have confidence in yourself, you can’t expect the interviewer to either.

The best advice I can give is to prepare beforehand in order to reduce your anxiety. Research the organisation, know your unique selling points, anticipate likely questions and prepare examples that highlight relevant skills. Arrive early. Don’t rush when answering questions. If you are nervous, take a deep breath and think before speaking.

4. You haven’t turned your phone off and put it away before your interview

As soon as you’re sat in the reception area, turn your phone off and put it in your bag, and leave it there. You don’t want to risk your phone going off or even vibrating during the interview.

It also looks aloof if you’re on your phone whilst waiting for the interviewer, even if there is a Pokéstop in the park next door! It’s time to step into a professional, phone free-interview zone.

5. Insubstantial evidence on your CV

Is your CV fluffy and lacking concrete evidence of your achievements? Recruiters and hiring managers don’t want to read or hear about what you think of yourself. Anyone can claim to be “self-motivated” or a “team player”. They want to read about your results – they want facts, figures stats – hard evidence. Add numbers to your CV and use examples in an interview to demonstrate how your skills have added value to your employers.

For example, instead of just saying your role at X job involved being innovative in order to drive profits, demonstrate which of your innovative ideas increased profits, and by how much.

6. You aren’t honest about your weaknesses during your interview

Hiring managers will often ask you to describe your greatest weaknesses in order to find out if you are willing to review your own skills and take action. If you respond by saying that you don’t have any weaknesses, you will come across as arrogant or dishonest . Don’t try and disguise a strength as a flaw either, for example “I am perfectionist” or “I care too much”. Your interviewer will have heard it all before and will see right through this tactic.

Instead, share a real weakness and then explain how you overcame it. For example “I have been afraid of public speaking for a long time, but recently completed a course in this area and gave a presentation last week to my boss”.

7. You are coming across as a digital dinosaur

All jobs now have a digital element so make sure you mention your digital skills in your CV and in an interview. Digital literacy is needed at all levels in most job functions. Whether it’s creating an app rather than a PowerPoint presentation, generating leads on social media or producing digital content, mention how you are digitally proficient.

8. You haven’t submitted a CV

For most jobs, a link to a YouTube video explaining why you are the best candidate won’t help you stand out in a good way. On the contrary, unless the recruiter has specifically asked for a video in place of a CV, you will end up looking slightly defiant.

There is a reason the vast majority of recruiters ask for a CV. It is still the best way to apply for a role because it contains the information needed to determine if your skills and experience make you suitable to progress to the next stage. This is the most time efficient, reliable process for most recruiters, so respect that by sending them a top quality, polished and concise CV.

9. The photos on your social media profiles are inappropriate

Hiring managers do look at your public social media so make sure all images – including on professional profiles such as LinkedIn – are professional.

10. You are cutting corners with your written communication

A lot of candidates let themselves down by using acronyms such as ‘bgd’ (background), ‘cre8’ (create) and ‘b4’ (before) in communications with their recruiter, on their professional social media or even on their CV. Keep your language professional.

In summary, these self-sabotaging behaviours are not embedded and unchangeable. They are common errors that you didn’t know you were making because nobody told you. Being self-aware, open to feedback and constantly willing to improve will set you apart from other candidates. More importantly, you will go from sabotaging, to strengthening your chances or getting your perfect job.

Thank you for reading. For more career advice and insights about the world of work, visit our dedicated blog page here or click on one of the links below.

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