Your CV and credentials impressed the target employer enough to get you a seat at the interview table. You thought you did pretty well at impressing but find that coveted offer letter still evades you. Remember, what precedes and follows an interview can often be as important as the interview itself. Here are some reasons you may perhaps have done yourself a disservice with the interviewer.
1. You arrived late
Companies value people who respect their time, priorities and resources, so don’t show blatant disregard, carelessness or poor planning by arriving for an interview late. Employers in the region mentioned ‘arriving late’ as one of the most common mistake job seekers make in an interview, as per the Bayt.com ‘Hiring Practices in the MENA’ poll, January 2012. Aim to be prompt and punctual and relaxed, at ease and totally dedicated to the interview while there
2. You were negative towards your last team
Whether it was the last boss or team or company you were somewhat dissatisfied with, the interview with a potential next employer should not be a license to air all your negative feelings or grievances about them. No one likes disloyalty and recruiters are very wary of negative people, specifically employees who cannot be trusted with company secrets and the reputation of their brand and coworkers.
3. Your expectations were unrealistic
Of course companies value ambition and motivation and drive but they may think twice about your stability and character if your track record shows that you are always looking for the next best thing and aim to progress up the career ladder by jumping from ship to ship every time you find a better opportunity. 54.7% of respondents in the Bayt.com ‘Employee Retention in the MENA Workplace’ poll, February 2013, said they want to quit their job immediately if given the opportunity. Professionals with a history of job-hopping who blame all past employers for lack of growth and progress opportunities are often seen as lacking in loyalty and resourcefulness if not basic skills and professionalism.
4. You wanted the job for the wrong reasons
Wanting a job so you can lie low and take full advantage of the easy hours, friendly relationships, good working conditions, perks and great benefits while contributing very little and exerting yourself even less is not fair for you or the company. Recruiters can often see who is in it to steer the company to new heights and who is in it just for the ride. Similarly, there is no place for distaste or arrogance in a job interview so if you prefer the competitor’s chocolate, soft drink, technology, brand, product or serve and feel you are “settling” with this potential employer, rest assured your disregard will come across. Make sure you are entering an employer relationship with trust, admiration and respect for the company and a plan to do all it takes to be part of a winning team.
5. Your work ethic was questionable
The employer will want to know how dedicated you are to the company and how dedicated you are to your career. Are you sliding along paycheck to pay check with the minimum of effort or do you try to approach each and every day as a new challenge and a new platform to innovate, create, optimize performance, identify problems and channel solutions? Employers are looking for professionals who are passionate about their professional brand and hungry to see their companies compete in the top leagues and succeed.
17.5% of employers in the Bayt.com ‘Hiring Practices in the MENA’ poll feel that dishonesty is the worst trait an interviewee can have, followed by the candidate arriving late or asking inappropriate questions/making inappropriate comments (13.8%).
6. You just weren’t pleasant
People like to work with people who are pleasant and personable and whom they admire, respect and trust. Soft skills are paramount and all the credentials and technical skills in the world cannot compensate for a poor temperament or a bad attitude. Aim to treat others as you like to be treated and to be sincere, respectful and professional at all times.
The Bayt.com ‘Hiring Practices in the MENA’ poll mentions insufficient enthusiasm for the role and poor interpersonal skills on the list of biggest turn-offs (12.5%), followed by an inappropriate attire (7.5%) and being overly aggressive (2.5%).
7. You were too unfocused
The interview is your opportunity to condense in a very short space of time an introduction to your professional history and an account of how that is directly relevant to the opportunities at hand. If you come across as unfocused in what you want or where you have been or in your thinking and planning in general, recruiters will worry about your judgment and priorities as well as your analytical skills and ability to focus on the company’s mission, vision and direction.
8. You didn’t do your homework
When it comes to interviews, 20% of employers consider poor preparation to be the biggest turn-off in potential employees, as revealed in the ‘Hiring Practices in the MENA’ poll. A surefire way to alienate a recruiter is to come unprepared and show little knowledge and research about a company. Ask around, read the literature, do the online research and make sure you are well versed in the company’s products and services and news when you arrive.
9. You didn’t show any curiosity
Have a list of questions ready to ask the interviewer to show you are interested in the company’s strategic direction and in your ability to impact that positively and optimally. According to the ‘Hiring Practices in the MENA’ poll, 28.8% of employers in the Middle East look for ‘hunger, drive and ambition’ as the most important factors when making a hiring decision. Recruiters will usually veer clear of professionals with an attitude that is far too laid back and relaxed and people who show a lack of interest in the future of the company and its vision, mission and values.
10. You didn’t send a thank you note
The employer needs to hear you respect their time and consideration and that they are top of mind even after the interview. Passion and enthusiasm go a long way and many a great interviewee has been forgotten because they simply lacked the initiative and good grace to follow up promptly and professionally and send a sincere thank you note that reiterates their interest in the role and their unique positioning for it.