5 Things Candidates Do At Interviews That Turn Off Employers
Wouldn’t it be such a lovely world if we can just bring documents to an interview to prove to verify the list of qualities stated in a job listing. Hiring for each position can end within the arrival of 3 candidates, and suddenly irrelevant job portals will crash rendering them unable to charge job seekers a hefty for viewing job listings.
But as you probably know, the labor market does not work this way in this day and age. Agencies exploit a gap in the hiring market by keeping job seekers with them like a moody shepherd. Online job portals then charge organizations to view the resumes that people have uploaded for free.
Maybe job portals should pay job seekers a slice of their profits. The gist of what they sell is after all the data of job seekers.
Making yourself available for employment is the easy part. How much stress will you truly suffer for drafting a resume and uploading it online?
The tough part for most people is the interview itself. There’s just this internal voice within us that talks trash when sitting across a table from a powerful party (hirer) while trying to prove ourselves. They have something we want. And now we have to convince someone we have never met before to hand it over.
Before you go down to an interview session, remember that an interview is as much a battle of will as anything. In fact, you can very much enter an interview without the required degree stated in the job listing and walk out as the number 1 candidate if don’t make big mistakes. The interviewers will just not be able to pinpoint a reason to reject you.
What mistakes am I referring to?
1) Being unprepared
To some people, it can seem that like an over-expectation to demand candidates who don’t yet work for the company to know about the company.
But knowing a little about your potential new employer communicates to the interviewer that you are actually interested about the company. It shows that the job is more attractive to you than it is to another candidate who did no research whatsoever. This translates to a possible issue of motivation at work.
Well you don’t need to memorize the latest published audited financials of the company. You won’t score extra brownie points to by knowing the organization better than the interviewer.
But at the very least you should be able to respond with what the company does, some of it’s milestones, latest news about the company in the media, etc. It might also help if you have a little knowledge about what’s going on in the particular industry the company is involved in.
Another form of unpreparedness include not reading the job description.
One of the most puzzling mistakes people make is to arrive at the interview without fully knowing what the position entails.
How would you feel if you spend 30 minutes preparing the job advertisement, and someone arrives without taking 5 minutes to read it? It’s a big turn off.
Of course you won’t know the ins and outs of all the tasks associated with the job. But you absolutely have to know what was explicitly expressed in the job listing itself. If not, what’s the point of all this anyway?
Information you should pay attention to include, which department it belongs to, who you will report to, what are the key tasks expected of you, etc.
The worst way to be unprepared is to not understand what your own strengths and weaknesses are.
It is almost a given that you will be asked to elaborate what your good and bad points are. A response at this point that lacks conviction and you can say your chances goodbye.
2) Getting Defensive
For many untrained communicators, a simple question can be interpreted the wrong way. An innocent curious question can sometimes be misinterpreted as a malicious one. And when that person is you, you might go into defensive mode. That is a formula for disaster.
Your past does not matter as much as you think. Unless you have snapped a muffler on your previous boss or sexually harassed a previous male colleague, you are in the clear. Your previous failures in your work does not matter.
HR managers know what they are looking for and know that employees can often perform drastically differently with different corporate culture. People job hop all the time until they finally settle on a job that suits them best. Your previous failures mean nothing. Really.
So that question about why you left your last job or why your last marketing campaign failed horribly is not an attack on your capabilities. You don’t need to get self-conscious and get on the defensive.
Just answer them logically without remorse and communicate that you have move on.
3) Being too formal
The office is a work setting. At the same time it is also a place where adults nurture a social life. Being too formal can create awkward situations for all parties.
Young worker and fresh graduates are most vulnerable to this mistake. Against every instinct, the best way to treat an interview is to actually treat it like a social chat.
Joke about the questions presented to you, give funny answers like how you do with your friends without excluding key information, make it a 2-way interaction rather than a 1-way question and answer session.
If you can make the interviewers feel good with communicating with you, you will be remembered. The likability factor can be a huge pivot that can turn hiring decisions to your advantage.
It must also be noted that you could be penalized if you get too casual. Some managers are pretty uptight on maintaining what is the right office culture in their minds. An employee who is too casual can send the culture he has built over the years down the drain.
4) Being too humble
If there ever is a time for you to be humble, it is definitely not at an interview. Decision makers are trying to find the best candidates that will perform for them at work. So they need to know the qualities you bring and the value you can add.
Yes, you might have already listed down your abilities and expertise in the CV. This is the time to put emphasis on them. Being humble at an interview can actually present a person who has a self-esteem issue. This is one of those occasions in life where you can get away with bragging.
Be wary of presenting yourself as egoistic rather than capable.
5) Social media
You can cry all day long about how social media is supposed to be your private space and shouldn’t be a factor for getting that dream job. But the fact is that how you behave on social media is a good reflection of what you bring to the table in the office.
If a hiring manager need to learn more about the candidates she has shortlisted and have social media to turn to, do you think that she will do it? Of course she will.
It’s hard to say if there is a correct way to present yourself o social media. Just be safe and stay away from taboo topics like religion, politics, aliens, etc.
I would be alarmed if I see a candidate who posts how to make extra money by moonlighting topics all day long on social media. It will also catch my attention if there are racists or sexists remarks made very often.
Just be careful with managing your profiles. You might want to set it to private too.