You had a killer outfit, all the right experience and qualifications and you thought you nailed the job interview…so, why didn’t you get the job?
We chatted to Terence Gell, director at Rosslyn Personnel, to find out what goes wrong at the last stage of a job application process that could mean you don’t get the job even though you were so sure you had it in the bag.
You sold yourself too hard – or not enoughA common fail is to oversell yourself to your prospective employer. Be honest about your capabilities and your experience without boasting or exaggerating. At the same time, you need to ensure that you don’t undersell yourself. “You have to strike that fine balance with just the right amount of confidence and humility,” Gell advises.
Your body language sent the wrong signalsThis is important. Even if your CV boasts the perfect work history and you are saying the right words, your body language is also taken note of during a job interview. Sitting with your arms folded is considered defensive, for example, and slouching - lazy. Be aware of your posture, your facial expressions and your gestures from the moment you arrive for the interview.
Your social media profile lets you downBefore you post on Facebook and Twitter about your awesome night out, stop to think about what a potential employer might think. Gell says social media has become an important recruitment tool. “Your profile should represent your chosen career while still reflecting your individual personality,” he says. Gell adds that although not all employers use social media to evaluate applicants, the trend is definitely spreading. With Facebook in particular, it is best to make sure your settings are as locked down as possible so that your posts are not public fodder and be selective about who you “friend”.
A bad referenceBefore you send out your CV, make calls to the people you have listed as references. If someone is not comfortable being a referee or they don’t have good things to say, chances are they will decline and ask not to be included as a referee. The last thing you want is someone who is going to give a potential employer negative feedback.
You were not well preparedTake time before the interview to find out as much as you can about the company and the industry. Find out who the key management people are and speak to former employees if you can. In particular, find out who will be interviewing you and then check their LinkedIn profile so you know who you are dealing with. Don’t make the mistake of asking someone in senior management to explain who they are during your interview.
You failed the background checkPotential employers will usually tell you upfront before they carry out a background check so if you have a negative credit record or you have a criminal record for whatever reason, it’s best to disclose this upfront.
Reasons beyond your controlSometimes the reason you didn’t get the job has nothing to do with you at all. The company might be undergoing a restructuring process and decided not to fill the position at all. It might have been an affirmative action position that you didn’t qualify for or the employer might have chosen to make an internal appointment.
Final wordTo get your dream job you are going to have to move from one failed job interview to another with your head held high. Keep believing and keep trying and remember to always follow up on unsuccessful job interviews so that you can use the experience as a learning for your next interview.
People can be divided into three groups: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wondered what happened. Which group do you fall into?
Rosslyn Personnel is an employment agency based in Pretoria. You can visit their Facebook page.