We can write a book about this topic, but here in this post we will highlight the “obvious” mistakes jobseekers make that stops them from getting a job. These tips apply to recent graduates mostly, if you are a senior resource the reasons will be completely different.
- You are too expensive or you worry about money too much
This is the number one reason why you will not get a job. In today’s economy employers have their pick, and they often want a bargain. If they think you are too expensive they will not be interested in you. They also will not be interested in candidates that they think are money driven (unless you are in sales!). Basically, we all look for the best service for the lowest price at all times, and when there is a lot of competition in the market there is no reason to go for someone higher priced unless they are providing something extraordinary. As always, my recommendation is to get a job first and worry about money later. If you do not have a job you do not make any money, simple as that. Get into a company and either prove yourself there or keep looking for something better. It is always easier to get a job when you are employed, no clue why.
- Your job is offshored and now you must compete
This is again related to #1, as you are aware many if not most back office jobs are offshored leaving few in-house jobs and too many candidates. Managers are struggling to justify hiring in-house resources as executives are demanding cost cutting across the board. Think about it, if the company needs a Developer and if they can get it for $20/hr offshore, they will not be interested in hiring someone local for $50. And if/when they do, they would expect that person to produce double to make up for the difference. Forget about work-life balance, you will live and sleep at work without OT pay. In these types of environments, you must prove the interviewer that you will provide a better bargain to the company than the offshore resources. How do you do that? First of all, you are here, they can see you at work, they can talk to you, there is no time difference. You can get things done NOW. You can jump in to help with other projects or cover for team members. If you price yourself right, you may be able to make a great argument that it is a better deal to hire you than sending the role to offshore.
- You are not enthusiastic
This is my personal favorite, and I am surprised to see how many candidates fall into that category. If you are looking for a job you should at least be able to fake enthusiasm. I understand that may not be your dream job, but it is a start. Even if you are not enthusiastic about the role, be happy that you got a call back, you got a face to face interview, you got a chance to show your skills. It is a huge accomplishment these days to get a call back. Show the interviewer that you are willing, able, excited to work.
- You are not dynamic and energetic
Young workforce is expected to bring dynamism and energy to an organization. If you are half asleep during an interview (oh yes it happens way more than you think), it already makes no sense to hire you. Drink your coffee, get dressed, open the windows and make sure you wake up before your call.
- You have too many dreams, not enough focus
I keep telling this to candidates all the time, companies want a square peg to fill a square hole. They want to find the “perfect” fit, nothing more nothing less. When you get your car fixed, do you care about the aspirations of the mechanic? Maybe he wants to someday fix BMW instead of Ford, does it really matter to you? All you care about is if he is qualified and experienced to fix your broken car quickly and effectively.
I cannot address the importance of this enough. Employers want to see focus and commitment. If you are a BA, you should make sure you represent yourself as a person whose life goal/achievement is to be a BA and support the manager. Your dreams cannot be to become a senior BA, to become a PM, to become a manager… they are not looking for someone who will be unsatisfied with work, they want someone who is happy to retire doing the same job for years to come.
- You do not listen
This is my biggest pet peeve. Who wants to talk to a candidate who is not able to listen? If one cannot manage to listen and understand simple job interview questions, how can they communicate with IT, Business, Vendors… and gather requirements? Job interview gives the interviewer a great opportunity to gauge your work skills, and in today’s world being able to communicate in an articulate and professional manner is the key.
Listening is an extremely important skill, even more so than any technical skill that you may have. I keep saying this to candidates all the time. Most companies offshored most of their 100% technical jobs, the only roles that they have available locally are client facing roles. The days of Developers being left alone to do their thing is long gone. Even for core technical jobs interacting with Business, End-Users, Vendors, Contractors… is mandatory. When dealing with non-technical teams it is extremely important that you listen and understand their requirements, concerns and questions.