Previously...Top Ten Mistakes Job Seekers Make (Part 1)
Let's continue our discussion of what mistakes Job Seekers can make and how these mistakes can be avoided.
Mistake #6. Job Seekers Don’t Prepare for Interviews
Do a search of the company on LinkedIn and in the news. What does the company do? What issues are they dealing with? What projects are they working on? As a company, are they in ‘lean times’ or ‘good times’? This background knowledge will help you use the sort of language the recruiter may be looking for. For example, if you are applying for a company that is reducing staff and really trying to reduce their costs during ‘lean times’, then it may be a good idea to emphasise examples where you helped previous employers reduce their costs. The more specific the example, the better, as this gives credibility to your claim that you actually did that. Talk about how you are interested in the company’s projects and specifically mention a project if possible. Alternatively, if you use the company’s product or services, mention what you like about their product or services. It makes the recruiter feel like you care about the company and what they do.
Mistake #7. Job Seekers Don’t Get Sales 101
Job Seekers often do not understand Sales 101. What do I mean by that? Job Seekers may not understand how to sell themselves, or more accurately, they often do not understand how to give good customer service. What does the customer (in this case, your potential employer) want? The employer and recruiter want a person who is going to make that business money or at least help the business avoid losing money. In one sense, your past experience doesn’t matter so much. Rather what matters to a recruiter is what you did for those companies you previously worked for? Did you help them save money? If so, how? Did you help them improve their results by 10% year on year? If so, how? Or maybe those two examples don’t seem to apply for you. Maybe you’ve worked as a teacher or a receptionist your whole life. So then, how did you value-add to your students or your company? Perhaps parents and students gave written and verbal feedback that they loved your care for your students and that students were now interested in the subjects you were teaching, whereas previously they couldn’t have thought of anything more boring! Perhaps you ensured the company didn’t miss key phone calls from clients or potential clients through your diligent administration (and probably, but unknown to you) clients thought of your company as responsive and having great customer service! In summary, Sales 101 asks 'what does the customer want or need' and then proceeds to show a solution to that question.
Mistake #8. Job Seekers Need to Pivot to be More Employer-focused
Job Seekers need to think about what the company needs, not what they as job seekers need. A job seeker often wants to get a good job which pays pretty good money. This will allow them to do the things they want in life, such as raise a family, support others they care about, travel or save hard for another stage in life. However, paying good money is not what benefits a company, but rather what benefits a company (and thus what a manger or recruiter is looking for) is a person who will make the business more money or at least reduce costs to the business. How the company thinks this will be achieved will affect what they are looking for in a job candidate. Are they looking for a cautious, methodical person to manage high-risk work which could easily cost the company lots of money if it goes pear-shaped? Then focus on talking about how you have benefited previous companies in how you manage risk. Are they looking for a person to increase sales dramatically or lead a team who are plateauing into an improved productivity phase? Maybe it would be good to give specific examples of how you contributed to a previous company’s team in raising morale or used a strategy to improve ROI or KPI or another TLA (three-letter acronym) to do with performance! Basically, talk about how you would benefit the company by giving actual previous examples to back your claims.
Mistake #9. Job Seekers Sometimes Don’t Listen to the Question
By listening to questions carefully before formulating a reply, a job seeker is more likely to formulate the right answer to the right question (the actual question that was asked). It’s easy to feel like you must give a lightning fast response to interview questions, otherwise you will be perceived as slow or unsure of yourself. Actually, the opposite may be true. By reflecting a bit and then answering more carefully and more relevantly to the question, you show yourself to be more considered, analytical and also better at interpersonal skills. You listen to people. Ideally, listen to people all the time, not just when the next job is counting on it!
Mistake #10. Job Seekers Don’t Say ‘Thanks', ‘Let’s Talk Soon’ and ‘How’s the Application Process Going?'
Firstly, it is quite important to thank an interviewer for their time in speaking with you. You want to also indicate throughout the interview and particularly at the end of an interview that you are actually interested in the job. Furthermore, you want to clarify when you should expect to hear back from the person who interviewed you. If you don’t hear back from the company or recruiter within the suggested timeframe, then make a follow up call. This doesn’t show you as pestering, but rather as persistent and interested.
Best of Luck.
About the author: Mark Chapman is a professional resume writer and job application strategist. Mark has assisted over 60 Australians to improve their job application documentation. He enjoys road cycling, drinking coffee with friends and hanging out with his wife. In Mark's 9-5 job, he enjoys helping clients find cost savings, improved asset management and plant uptime improvements by engaging 4D Delta's laser scanning services.