What is it that differentiates some candidates from others when final shortlists are so competitive? The answer to some extent lies in the interview stage.
Here are some key findings of why some candidates with impeccable credentials can still fail to impress at the employer interview:
1. Poor preparation
Employers have done their homework to find you and they expect you to do yours on them too. Candidates who arrive at an interview knowing little about the company, the industry and/or the role are in a poor position to compete with well-prepared professionals who will spend the compressed interview time precisely positioning themselves for the employer’s exact requirements. Employers want to know you are curious, energetic, resourceful and inspired and what better proof of that than arriving fully prepared and with keen insights into the employer and their brand/positioning/problems/news etc. If you have done your homework right you will be able to hit the ground running in the interview with answers that display how you are uniquely positioned to add value from the get-go given the company’s particular culture, positioning, objectives, circumstances and situation.
2. Displaying a negative attitude
Poll after poll conducted by Bayt.com has revealed that attitude plays a crucial part in defining character and influencing the employment decision. Warning signs of bad attitudes that are sure to alienate a potential employer include badmouthing previous bosses, companies and colleagues; defensive or rudely evasive answers to key interview questions; or overtly aggressive answers, posture and demeanour. Remember people hire competent people they think they will really enjoy working with and who will spread a good positive vibe within the organisation and to external clients and stakeholders. Employers are very cognisant that bad attitudes are highly contagious and will be far from receptive to candidates with less than an exemplary attitude towards work, life and themselves.
3. Lack of enthusiasm in the company
Few things can alienate an employer more than a candidate who is lukewarm or disinterested about their company and its brand and objectives. The interview is not the time to doze off and deliver tired answers that smack of boredom with your audience nor is is the time to wax lyrical about how much you genuinely prefer all the competitor brands. Employers are looking for nothing less than passion. If you cannot convince the employer that you will be as passionate about their company and line of work as they are you will not be seen to possess the star quality they are looking for nor will they place excessive trust in your long-term loyalty, stamina or staying power.
4. Vague, coined or dishonest answers
The interview is not the time to practice your evasiveness skills no matter how expert you are. Employers can see right through a coined, text book answer and dishonest answers are more than likely to be discerned sooner or later and to backfire. By all means keep the conversation positive and constructive and don’t dwell over past failures or negative circumstances or events but also be vigilant that the employer wants someone real, someone they understand and can trust, and they are likely to keep digging till they are comfortable they really understand who you are and what drives you and what your real strengths and weaknesses are.
5. Lack of clarity on personal USPs
If you are not very clear about what you are bringing to the table for a particular job role in a particular company, chances are the employer will be even less clear. The employer is not a mind reader and your job is to make his/her life as easy as possible in mapping your key strengths, skills and competencies to the requirements of the role you are discussing. Be very precise and articulate when it comes to spelling out what your personal strengths are, why you are competitive and what sets you apart and makes you uniquely qualified to add value in that specific context. Practice beforehand. Make a list of all your strengths and find clear examples from your past achievements that demonstrate each of them and which you can be ready to discuss in a professional concise manner at the interveiw stage. Remember to be relevant and to focus on transferable skills that are immediately applicable to the role being discussed.
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