Technology has made our ability to connect to people much easier. Gone are the days where the main method of applying for jobs was sending hardcopy job applications through the post office and not know whether they were received or not. Today, within a significantly short amount of time, you can gain adequate information about an organization’s work, its whole management team and if lucky, who is leading the hiring process by simply conducting a few customized google searches.
Access to recruiters and company official emails and social media pages makes it pretty easy to reach out, inquire, and share our thoughts about open roles. When sending out these emails/messages, the question is;
How can we professionally and clearly articulate our thoughts in a way that builds a strong virtual rapport with the person who eventually receives our message?
We outline three mistakes we have seen many professionals/job-seekers make when reaching out to us, to help you avoid falling into these traps;
1. No subject line – Because of the influx of emails we receive daily, subject lines are useful because they have the capability to draw in one’s attention and increase the opening rate, especially if the request is already indicated. When your email lacks a subject line, it makes it very easy for the receiver not to notice it, and/or, it may fall through the cracks. Think of an email subject line like you would when making a presentation, you have to highlight what you’ll be talking about first, right?
2. Grammar and spelling mistakes – Recruiters and hiring managers are looking to hire or recommend candidates who show effort. Proofreading your email not only shows you put in the effort to be intentional but also reveals the level of your attention to detail, a skill that is a prerequisite for many organizations. Needless to say, written communication is just as important when job hunting. If you’re able to, we encourage you to download Grammarly, an app that proofreads your emails before you click send.
3. Lack of a clear call for action – So you have a great subject line and an error-free email, and maybe attachments, but what happens if your call to action is vague or absent? For instance, just attaching your CV with a blank email (another common mistake) may suggest that you’re job hunting, but it may also mean that you’d like the organization to update you with new opportunities in the future. It’s very important to not leave room for assumptions as this may limit your chances of getting a response. Before sending out that email, ask yourself; what do I want the receiver to do for me after they read my email? Based on my message, what immediate action can they take, that will help me get a little closer to what I want to achieve?
Find email templates here that you can use, depending on need. Have you been a culprit of any of the above? Wondering what other mistakes you could be making? Check out our Career Happiness Center for similar content and career resources.
In our career coaching work, we are often asked by our clients how they can effectively position themselves to get the jobs they desire. This is especially an important skill one should have when they are looking to transition into a different career/industry. It’s a skill that one gets to refine over and over as they grow in their careers. So if you feel like you are not there yet, worry not, with practice comes clarity and confidence! In this blog post, we will be highlighting four ways you can “sell” yourself in an interview without coming off as conceited.
1. Provide real-life examples – We’ve often seen candidates get hung up on using buzzwords that they (assumably) feel employers want to hear; that they are a great team player, they are adaptive, work well under minimal supervision, and so forth. These are great and necessary skills to have today, however without concrete examples, one is unable to justify your ability to demonstrate them in your work. Tell short stories (using STAR method) about how you’ve shown great leadership skills, how you have adapted in the past, how you have taken initiative, how you’ve solved problems, and so on.
2. From shyness to shining! Let your successes speak your worth – There has never been a better situation to toot your own horn than in a job interview. Yes, we know humility is something we all struggle to let go of. Will I come off as a show-off? Our thoughts? It’s not bragging if you did it! And how often do we forget our great moments? Learn how to get comfortable talking about yourself and your accomplishments. Of course, without being egotistical. This is an opportunity to set yourself apart from the competition. Make sure this is part of your preparation and that you choose the most relevant accomplishments that align with the key requirements of the role.
3. Be authentic – Each and every candidate is unique in their own way. You are unique in your own way. Make sure you’re using the interview to talk about your individual strengths. The special ways you add value in workplaces. The unique feedback you have received in the past. Share what you struggle with, and how you overcame different challenges in the past. Employers understand no one is perfect, don’t try to be, it’s often evident.
4. Engage! – The world of work has quickly shifted to collaboration and relationship building as key ingredients for innovation. Employers are looking for individuals who are curious about their vision and goals, who ask interesting questions, seek clarification, who can confidently start a conversation about industry trends and world issues. Your body language and questions are a key indicator of your ability to engage others. Where a non-formal conversation comes up in the interview, don’t be afraid to participate in the conversation. Interviews are also a way of showcasing your personality and true self, outside of work. This gives interviewers a glimpse into how you fit in into the culture of the organization as well, so as mentioned in the previous point, be authentic 🙂
Wondering why you’re always shortlisted but don’t get hired? This may be why. Read our blog to learn about the four mistakes you may be making in job interviews.
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We’ve often talked about what job seekers should do to avoid being disqualified from the selection process by recruiters or hiring managers, which certainly hints at today’s topic; what pet peeves do recruiters and hiring managers to have? Read below to find out.
1. Bad communication – This could vary from badly formatted CVs and cover letters, application responses that are not systematic, emails that are not clear and concise, answers during the interview that are not direct to the questions asked, questions after/during interviews that are not related to the job or organization a candidate applied for, delayed communication that causes a delay in the selection process, etc. All these are habits that feed into your overall assessment, and if they remain consistent throughout the selection process, you risk being disqualified.
2. Not labeling your documents – Imagine a scenario where you have all the qualifications for a position and a brilliant CV and other documents, but chose to not label them with your name, and as a consequence, they fall through the cracks of the applicant tracking systems. The truth is, recruiters are often piling through a tonne of CVs, applications, and other documents, and giving them the extra work of renaming your CV/documents to your name can be tiresome. Always ensure your documents are renamed to your names and their identity when sending out applications, eg; Caroline Mwangi CV, Caroline Mwangi – Program Manager Case Study Responses, etc.
3. Unpreparedness – There’s a lot of effort that recruiters put in to arrive at a list of candidates that would be suitable for advertised positions, and that can proceed to the next steps in the selection process. Therefore, candidates not being prepared for interviews, or having insufficient answers to application form questions, especially when the JD was detailed and there are resources available to learn more about the organization such as a website and social media platforms, in addition to having ample time to do so, can seem ill-intended and may land you on the disqualified list.
Want to avoid falling into the above traps and missing out on your dream job? Our job hunt hustle section is full of resources that will prevent you from doing any of the above. We’re rooting for you!
Ever worked in an organization whose culture you did not enjoy and wished you had the power to change things? Thinking back now, what would you have done differently during the application and assessment process? The job-hunting process should not only involve you being assessed by potential employers, it should also be an opportunity for you to assess the organization and measure whether it would be a good fit for you.
Do you have the culture of an organization as a priority when you’re job hunting? If not, here is why you should;
1. Your career needs – Understanding the culture of an organization is critical to knowing whether or not their values, vision, beliefs, etc are aligned to your own career needs and ambitions. This enables you to potentially predict what your career development journey will look like and which of your needs will be met or not, and make peace with what this means for you. What’s your management style? Do you prefer to work autonomously or collaboratively? Would you like certain days where you can work from home? These are some of the questions you should get answers to if they’re important to you, and you should be able to know what is non-compromisable for you.
2. Your wellbeing – Given we spend at least 70% of our time at work, and that our wellbeing is a dominant factor of; how productive we may or may not be, how satisfied we are with our jobs, how happy we are and so forth, you want to make sure that you’re joining an organization whose environment promotes rather than reduces your state of wellbeing. So make sure you research what it’s like to work in the organization(s) you’re applying for and ask about it during the selection process if you proceed after your application. If possible, ask for an opportunity to talk to employees who work there to get a gist of what it’s like so that you make an informed decision. Here is an article you can use with questions about an organization’s culture.
3. Your ability be authentic – Closely linked to your mental health, having a good understanding of an organization’s culture determines how comfortable you would be, say; communicating your needs to your supervisors and peers, giving feedback, taking initiatives, forming relationships and overall, if you can be your authentic self. Additionally, this also plays a key role in how long you envision yourself staying in an organization if hired. The first few months, during your probation, should be a period of further assessment to see how you feel about working in the organization and whether or not your needs (refer to point 1), are being met. Talking of which, here’s an article we wrote about 5 mistakes you should avoid after landing a new job. Have a read to avoid falling into these traps.
Do you pay keen attention to an organization’s culture when you’re job hunting? Find the above useful?
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The hiring process can be and often is an intensive process. In recent years, the selection process for many organizations has grown to include a variety of methods used to assess candidates such as customized application forms, take-home tests, personality tests, and so forth. This of course has made the selection process more competitive for candidates.
For candidates who get to make it to the shortlisted stage, the hope is always that they will get hired, and for some, this ends up being the case. However, when one finds themselves being in the shortlist for different organizations several times and never getting hired, it’s fair to wonder what might be the cause of that. If you have experienced that, below are four reasons that explain why that may be happening to you.
1. Strong candidate pool – This is the most obvious reason. Different criteria set by the hiring team determine who the best candidate is; how they conducted themselves throughout the selection process, how clear and concise a candidate communicated, whether they connect to the vision of the organization, and so forth. Consistency in all of this matters because the hiring team uses all the stages of the selection process to make an informed decision. A candidate may have appeared great in the first two interviews, but showcase blindspots in the last interview or interaction with organization team members that the hiring team may not overlook, such as how their communication style to team members does not align to the culture of the organization, as will be discussed in point three below.
2. References done were not as optimistic as the candidate – Usually the last stage in the selection process, sometimes the referees you provided might provide the hiring manager with details that raise concerns about your candidature. At this point, the hiring team has to weigh your application against other candidates into consideration. Such concern may not necessarily be dramatic such as past conflict or poor performance. It could easily be something like a candidate needing a lot of supervision, and in a role where one may be required to work autonomously, this may be a problem and therefore, your chances of getting hired may reduce depending on how the cons in the reference checks weigh against the pros.
3. Incompatibility in culture fit – Many organizations hold this criteria in high regard because it determines how well a candidate may fit within the organization, how they will interact with the rest of the team(s), and how committed they are to the achieving the goals of the organization. Depending on; the managerial style you prefer, whether or not you prefer too much structure or can navigate little to no structure, results of your psychometric test if any, the kind of questions you ask, etc, the hiring team is able to establish whether or not you’re able to succeed in their current set up.
4. It has nothing to do with you – Yes this is also true a lot of the times! Sometimes, things such as the salary budget being allocated elsewhere, withdrawal of huge funds or sudden loss of revenue, your potential immediate supervisor resigning thus you not having anyone to guide you through the new role among other internal changes. Certain organizations may be transparent with you and inform you that they suddenly lost revenue/funding, or that they are undergoing/underwent a restructuring that eliminated the role. In conclusion, sometimes, it absolutely has nothing to do with you, and it does not take away from your qualifications and fit for the role. And while it’s not easy to believe that this may be the case, always live room for the possibility that it was not your fault that you were disqualified. This will allow you to approach other opportunities confidently and with optimism.
Our job hunt hustles section contains multiple blogs and resources that will aid you in succeeding in the selection process if you’re in the job hunting phase. If interested in our career coaching services, email us today, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The world has certainly changed for many of us, and as always, we continue to hope that we’ll see an end to this sooner rather than later. For organizations that are still hiring, assessing candidates virtually is now the new norm, and passing the phone interview is a key step to making a good impression as a job seeker and hopefully proceeding to the next stages of the selection process.
Usually, the phone interview stage is where candidates are pre-screened by the employer to make sure their experience, skills and knowledge are aligned with the needs of the organization. So how do you make sure you excel and proceed to the next steps?
Below are a few tips you can use;
- Review the JD – Before the phone interview, review the JD to familiarize yourself with the skills and qualifications required of the position you applied for, and note down how your competencies align to the same. During the conversation, you need to be able to articulate why you should be considered for the position, thus having the information at the tip of your fingertips is critical.
- Research the organization – This will always be a pertinent requirement. Make sure you understand the services/products offered by the organization, their vision, history, etc. Having this knowledge will help you customize your responses and tie the value you would add to the aspirations they have as an organization, come up questions you can ask for anything that may be unclear and also assess if you would fit into the organization culture. Here’s a guide you can use.
- Prepare answers for possible questions – Usually, the first phone interview can be fairly brief, so you want to make sure you’re being very concise and are answering questions as asked. Because it’s a phone interview, research potential questions on the internet and draft up your responses so that you’re not struggling or taking too long to answer the questions. Make sure your motivation to join the organization, your list of accomplishments, skills, and the value you would bring to the organization are noted down and are clear and persuasive.
- Find a destruction free environment – Considering most of us are at home right now, not all of us live alone. Therefore, if you’re living with others. please inform them early in advance and right before your interview that you’ll be on a call and they should not destruct you. Even if you live alone, make sure you find a place where there is minimal to no noise coming from outside that would hinder you from having a peaceful conversation with the interviewer, remember, first impressions are everything.
- Have a list of questions for the interviewer(s) – It’s important to keep in mind that the ending of the interview matters as much as your responses to the questions asked. This is an opportunity to blow away the interviewer and make them shortlist you for the next stage, so your questions have to be brilliant, and not having any questions is a potential dis qualifier. We recently highlighted 3 questions you should ask after every job interview in an article, have a read. You can, of course, find many more questions on google 🙂 so don’t be afraid to utilize it.
Other tips include:
– Confirm the interview date and time and put it into your calendar to avoid any confusion.
– Find out who you you will be talking to. You can research them on the organization website or on LinkedIn to learn more about them and their role in the organization, do NOT request them on Facebook :), too soon.
– Ask about the next possible steps after the interview. Although you won’t find out whether you were shortlisted immediately, it’s good to tentatively plan and know when you can expect to hear from the employer.
What other tips have helped you excel in a phone interview?
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