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Many job seekers derail their chances of getting their dream job because they are ill-prepared. Failing to plan is planning to fail and this maxim holds true before, during and after the interview process.
This is according to Kay Vittee, CEO of Quest Staffing Solutions, who references a recent survey conducted by employer rating platform, JobBuzz.in, which found that over 50% of job hunters interviewed by recruiters are unprepared and botch even the simplest of questions.
Vittee and a top Quest recruiter, Lyrichia van Zyl, have prepared a list of the most common mistakes made by job seekers and explain how to avoid them.
BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
Vittee says that one of the biggest mistakes often occur before an interview even takes place. She says that nothing screams unprofessional more than a badly presented Curriculum Vitae (CV). Candidates should constantly review their CV, and ensure that it is up-to-date.
“While doing so, familiarise yourself with all the details and dates listed and think about how you’ll respond to potentially difficult questions like ‘why did you leave your last job?’ or ‘what is your biggest weakness?’,” says Vittee.
“I cannot stress the importance of preparedness enough,” she adds, advising that job seekers research the potential employer and the industry it operates in. “Use the company’s website and social media platforms to gather as much information as possible.”
DURING THE INTERVIEW
“The biggest mistake a job seeker can make is to arrive late for an interview,” says van Zyl.
“Not only is it inconsiderate, but – because you were running late and therefore stressed – you’ll no doubt arrive flustered and uncomposed which is a ‘no-no’ for an interview.”
Another mistake is to bad mouth a previous employer. Van Zyl says that doing so is unprofessional and unnecessary. Instead of telling an interviewer that you left your previous job because your manager was a narcissist, say that it was not a good cultural fit or that you didn’t agree with his or her management style.
“Another thing to avoid in an interview is yes or no answers. This is your one chance to sell yourself and it’s hard to get to know someone if they are being vague. That said, there’s a fine-line between over-selling yourself and not saying enough – always chose authenticity over arrogance,” adds van Zyl.
AFTER THE INTERVIEW
Almost every interview concludes with the interviewer asking if you have any questions.
“Always have a list of at least five intelligent questions prepared. It shows that you’ve done your research and that you are interested in the position. It also allows you to connect with the interviewer on a more personal level,” says Vittee who concludes with a suggested list:
- What do you enjoy most about working at this company?
- Why did the person who previous held this position leave?
- What is the key to success in this role?
- How do you measure success in this organisation?
- How do you describe this company’s culture?