Just because some positions are high in demand, it doesn’t mean getting the job isn’t going to take hard work. You’ve probably applied to numerous positions, but for one reason or another, you were passed up for another candidate. Instead of wondering why you didn’t get the job, it’s time to break out of your slump and learn what possible mistakes are preventing you from landing the position.
1. Online identity – Due to the increasing trend of hiring managers screening applicants before meeting face-to-face, social media can either make or break you as a job seeker. Depending on the content of your online profiles, social media can be utilized as a powerful promotional tool for your career, or you could wreck your chances of employment if you’re too public with your personal life. Furthermore, while it’s detrimental to have an online identity depicting you in questionable or bad light, it can be just as bad as not having an online presence altogether. The absence of a profile can send two red flags to the hiring manager. One, this candidate – probably for negative reasons – has gone to great lengths to conceal their identity; or two, since the candidate is not “online” in this day and age, they may also have a primitive approach when it comes to their career. Because an online profile can give the future employer a small indication of your personality and work history, it’s recommended that you establish a balanced presence of yourself online before seeking an interview.
2. Applying outside your qualifications – While it is common to apply for a position slightly outside of your skill set, blatantly applying for a job in which you do not meet the minimum requirements is highly inappropriate. Pay close attention to the job description for words like “must” and “preferred”. For instance, if the job description says the candidate must have (X) amount of years of experience working in a clinical practice, and you do not meet this qualification, do not bother to apply. Applying for a position outside your credentials or experience level carries the risk of ostracizing yourself from the institution that you are applying to – an institution that you may want to work for at a future date.
3. Lack of interest – Simply exhibiting a lack of interest in the hiring company can kill your chances of getting the position. Before you even walk in the door for an interview, a lack of interest in the job can be demonstrated by providing generic resumes and non-personalized cover letters to the employer. Also, while you may think that taking the laid back approach communicates confidence, what the hiring manager really sees is that you’re not taking the position seriously. Whether the job is a stepping stone for your career or your dream gig, you need to convey that you genuinely want the job.
4. Unprepared – Walking in unprepared for an interview is not only frustrating to the hiring manager, but also a complete waste of the employer’s time. Since most, if not all interview appointments are set up days or weeks in advance, there is absolutely no excuse for you to come unprepared. Preparing means learning the company’s mission statement and making sure you can articulate how your qualifications meet the job description. Experience goes a long way, so it’s also important to highlight accolades or tell stories from your previous job if it applies to the interview.
5. Your personality – A hiring manager’s job is to not only look for a candidate that is qualified for the position, but they’re also looking for someone who would make a good employee. Being on time for the interview and conducting yourself professionally can convey dedication and respect for the organization. On the flip side, having a cover letter littered with grammatical errors suggests that you lack attention to detail; an important trait for most jobs. Also, you want to come across as confident in your abilities as well as energetic. Smiling and maintaining good eye contact is a good way to non-verbally express this to the interviewer.
6. Pessimistic Outlook – Having a negative outlook can jeopardize your chances of getting a job at any time during the application process. For example, you might hold off on applying for a position because you are intimidated by the prestige of a certain employer. Or you may choke up during an interview because you’re overwhelmed by the amount of competing applicants. There is never a guarantee that you will get the position that you’re vying for; only a guarantee that you’ll never get the job if you don’t even apply. And because you come away with a little more experience after each hiring process – no matter the result – it can only benefit you for the next opportunity that comes your way.
7. Networking – As it goes, it is not who you know, but who knows you. Recent studies have shown that 60 percent of job candidates are hired through referrals. Not only is it important to make professional contacts, but expanding your horizons beyond your industry can lead to a recommendation from an unlikely source.
As a job seeker, it is impossible to have power over every aspect of the hiring process. However, the seven factors listed above are well within your control. It is important to understand which factors prevented you from obtaining the job so you’re not stuck in the same pattern. If possible, contact the hiring manager and see if they are willing to give you feedback. Also, maintain communication with individuals you met in the process in case another position becomes available at a future date, especially if you were the second-ranking candidate. Above all, remember that exercising a little more persistence and formulating a careful strategy will help you achieve higher success rates in your job search. – Originally posted on onTargetjobs by Matthew O’Donnell