We want to play a game today; called truth or truth. Ever seen those adverts on local newspapers with a photo and caption ‘So and So no longer works here?’ We shall never know the real issues that earned them a moment of fame on a local daily, but we know that type of publicity is likely to negatively influence their future career aspirations. Whoever sees the advert (and many managers and recruiters do), makes a mental note somewhere ‘to not recommend this person’.
Similarly, as a job seeker, there are several actions and behaviors that are likely to push your profile into a ‘to not recommend list’ otherwise referred to as the “Blacklist”. The following are the ways in which you can fall into this trap, so read on to see why;
1. Making countless applications – We’ve touched on this before. While this may seem like a harmless habit because you’re trying to give everything a chance, it may not sit well with most recruiters/hiring managers. Throwing in your application, for all and any jobs an organization puts out, even when you do not meet core criteria is not advisable. What you’re essentially doing is communicating that you have no regard for the needs of the organizations at this point in time. We understand it’s difficult to get a job; believe it or not, it breaks our hearts to disqualify candidates all the time. So try as much as you can to apply for jobs that are closely related to your background, to avoid getting blacklisted.
2. Being self-entitled, and arrogant – We are well aware that most people dislike recruiters or people in HR. Ha! To some extent, it is true that we inform who should be considered or not, in a position. However, it is also true that part of the accountability falls on the job seekers themselves. Being arrogant to a recruiter; which we have often experienced, automatically puts you in the red zone. Feeling entitled because you’ve maybe had many years of experience, and ignoring other factors such as your culture fit within the organization, and how your exposure fits into the current stage of the organization does not serve you.
3. Being dishonest – This could vary; lying about your past work experiences by exaggerating your successes, the role you held, your age and past successes is a valid reason to have a recruiter blacklist you. This is why we insist that you clearly understand the role before, and practice integrity before you put yourself in a precarious position, where your lies are debunked, and you ruin your reputation. Background checks and referral calls will eventually unearth any lies.
4. Badgering the recruiter/hiring manager – It’s fairly okay for you to check in with a recruiter after, say two weeks of silence, if they had promised to get back and they haven’t, or if the hiring manager had scheduled a phone call and he didn’t call. However, consistently checking in with the recruiter or hiring team every other day is a bit too much and unprofessional. It’s even worse when you’re calling at ungodly hours. Please understand that recruiters/hiring managers are human too, and sometimes the lack of communication could be as a result of an impromptu change in the company, which they are also figuring how to communicate. To be on the safe side, always ask when you should hear from them, so there is no room for assumption.
5. Dropping out of the selection process unjustifiably – Picture this; you’ve gone through a rigorous selection process; done phone interviews, in-person conversations, take-home tests, and so forth. The hiring manager has expressed a strong interest to want to give you an offer, and then you just drop out of the selection process and don’t provide a valid reason. It’s unprofessional and leading. We understand switching jobs can be scary, but we advocate that you communicate any fears or doubts as early as you can, to avoid such outcomes and maintain a good working relationship, who knows what the future holds?
Read our blog post on the ways you are sabotaging your job search to learn more about the traps you should avoid.
Have you ever wondered if the reason you get regrets after interviews may be because you’re utilizing WRONG advice about how you should conduct yourself in interviews?
A lot of us have been exposed to different tips from different people about different areas in our lives, most, of course, have the best intentions. However, it’s critical that one has a sense of discernment when it comes to certain things; job interviews are one of them. Because let’s be honest; job interviews are a GREAT determining factor of whether or not you get employed at the organization you applied for.
So here are 3 misleading “tips” told about job interviews:
1. You should not reveal your weaknesses to the interviewer/turn your weaknesses into strengths – *insert beep sound*. No one is perfect. A recruiter/hiring manager NEEDS to be aware of what learning opportunities they should create for their potential future employee. Otherwise, you’re exposed to the risk of them finding out later when you do work that is subpar that may lead to your termination. HONESTY is always the best policy.
2. Your responses should be “short” – Yes, interviewers don’t want you to go on and on about your life history. What they are looking for is concision; they want to hear ALL relevant details about how your past experiences relate to the job you applied for, why you’re motivated to join the organization, and what makes you a good culture fit, among other things. Giving very brief responses may seem like a good thing but it hurts your chances because it leaves the interviewer/hiring manager with little information to make an informed decision about your profile. We like to recommend using the STAR method as it ensures an interviewee answers questions systematically.
3. Don’t ask questions as that shows you were not prepared – We can’t count the number of times we have asked candidates during interviews if they have questions and received a “not at the moment” response. We’ll be blunt; not asking ANY question at all is not a good thing, and NO, interviewers don’t think you’re not “prepared” if you ask questions. Here’s an article that bluntly explains why it’s important to ask questions and the do’s and don’ts!
If you would like to learn more about how to prepare for an interview, please read this article we wrote last year about how to get ready to succeed in an interview.
Our Career Happiness Center contains all the tools and information you need to address some of the career challenges you may be facing; job hunting, packaging yourself, transitioning careers, and succeeding where you are!
Being unemployed is not a great feeling, and asking for help can feel daunting especially because you want to avoid coming across as a burden to others at all costs.
One big potential deal-breaker is how you communicate what you need. No matter what channel you use to ask for help; be it an email, a phone call, messaging someone on LinkedIn, or even just sending a Whatsapp message, you always have to display conciseness and professionalism to clearly showcase your request. As a recruiter, I often receive multiple emails of people who are job searching in my inbox every day. More often than not, the email contains just an attached CV, or several scanned documents of their academic qualifications, with a barely-there request for help, such as; “Find attached”, “Looking for a job”, “Connect me to a job” or just a plain “Hi”. All these are vague statements leave me unaware of how to help you. Which is why you’re reading this article right now.
We’d like to share briefly some of the ways we have witnessed job seekers seek help in a way that’s not useful when job searching:
1. Sending blank emails either with no subject line, or message on the email body and just attaching their CVs. Refer to the first bullet point above.
2. Sending very long emails and attaching a bazillion documents. Attaching your resume, with a short and clear message should do, for as long as it has a call for action.
3. Pestering one to give you an advertised job, even though you’re absolutely not qualified. This is borderline unprofessional and could land you on a recruiter’s or hiring manager’s blacklist.
4. Sharing a CV that is unprofessional, including but not limited to; bad formatting, grammatical errors, too much, or too little information. (watch our YouTube video, to see the top 5 things that will make your CV stand out)
Displaying a strong sense of entitlement; refrain from feeling like you deserve special treatment because you were personally introduced to a recruiter or hiring manager for a certain job opportunity. Always remember that there are others like you who are looking to land that role.
Here are a few tips that will come in handy when requesting for help;
i) Be specific – Anytime, you sent an email, a LinkedIn message, a Whatsapp message, and so forth, don’t shift the onus to the recipient to figure out what you want. Do you want them to introduce you to someone? Looking for an informational interview? Want them to store your CV in their database for future job opportunities? Recommend relevant job groups you can join? Read this article to get a feel of how you can request for help using written communication, which we’re sure you can also apply in in-person conversations (more on Google, of course)
ii) Display enthusiasm – While job searching is a draining process, asking for help shouldn’t be. Let your passion exude in your communication. Showcase your excitement for the next opportunity you want to take up, and the value you will add. This enthusiasm will likely be cascaded down by the recipients to their own networks and good may come out of this. Otherwise, there is no need to have a monotonous conversation that could be misinterpreted to show that you lacked enthusiasm and passion about your own career.
iii) Prioritize your networks – Of importance here, is to have a strong sense of awareness of the career goals you have for yourself so that you know who the right people or networks are, that you should reach out to first. For instance, mapping out the organizations you’re interested to work with and using your LinkedIn profile to see who you’re already connected to there is the first step, followed by messaging them with a clear request for assistance. Here’s an article we wrote about how you can use LinkedIn to land your next job. We also like to insist on the importance of utilizing your weak ties when job hunting. Read the linked article to learn more.
iv) Check-in regularly – Now, we’re not asking you to bombard people with emails or phone calls every other day. However, people are busy, and it’s easy for them to forget to do something you had requested of them. So it’s important that you remind them non-aggressively so that they carry out the request you had for them.
v) Have an accountability partner – It’s very easy to get frustrated, and give up when you’ve tried everything, and nothing works when looking for a job. This is why having an accountability partner could help you not give up easily. Share your goals with them; e.g.: attend X networking events in a certain period of time, reach out to X amount of people on LinkedIn, follow up on X conversations by a certain period, and so on and so on. This sets a precedent that will prevent you from falling into the trap of doing the bare minimum when job hunting.
vi) Consider signing up for career coaching – In extreme scenarios, where you’re not sure where you should start, we highly recommend that you work with a career coach, to help you align your values and interests to a career path that will suit you. It is also an effective way to unpack some of the myths surrounding job searching, shift your mindset and gain clarity on what you want to pursue.
If this has been you/ is you, now you know and we hope you find our tips above useful and reroute your job hunting journey.
Last, but not least, read our blog to see some of the other ways you may be sabotaging your job search
Are you trying to figure out what next steps you should take in your career, and don’t know where to start? Reach out to us today at firstname.lastname@example.org! We’ll act as your thought partner, and help you navigate some of your most pressing career challenges!
As the year gears to an end, we’d like to share with you some of the ways we have seen job seekers sabotage their job search and why this may be the reason you’re not hearing back from recruiters, and/or employers.
With the unemployment rate spiking every year, it’s critical for you to be aware of how you can avoid falling into the following traps and up your job-hunting hustle.
– Sending mass applications, with NO due diligence– Now, sending mass applications is not necessarily the bigger problem here. However, if you’re sending them out with little, to no due diligence whatsoever, you’re likely hurting your chances of getting a job. As recruiters, we are able to tell every time a candidate did not do their homework on a job they applied for. This is especially the case for people who put in their applications for EVERY single job we advertise, regardless of the title, technicality, or years of experience required. As a job seeker, it’s critical that you take the time to understand more about the company and the role you’re applying for. Recruiters and employers put in a lot of time to draft a JD because they are seeking to attract the right people. Further, continuously ask yourself if you would be fulfilled in the jobs you are applying for and if the organization’s values are aligned to your own. If you’re just figuring out your career, check out this cool video we created with, 10 questions you should ask yourself when choosing a career.
– Repeatedly applying for jobs that you’re not qualified for– We are aware that some job seekers do this as a technique to have their profile enlisted in the recruiter’s/employer database. However, this can be done in a different way. You can ask to email your CV for future job consideration, or, you can sign up for the career mailer newsletter to receive direct job updates. Incessantly applying for roles you are not qualified for, shows a disregard of the job requirements the employer is looking for on your part could be interpreted as lack of intention and attention to detail.
– Disregarding application instructions- Aah, this is a big one that we have mentioned before. Most job seekers don’t view this as a roadblock to why their applications are not being considered. From our observation, there is still a lingering mind-set about what sending in an application ACTUALLY means. Only attaching your CV, when there were requests for you to attach other documents, or fill in an application form is not acceptable. We cannot fail to insist that for every job you intend to apply, you read and understand the application instructions carefully. Set aside time so that you don’t feel the need to rush and miss key instructions. Would you rather spend little time applying for a job without following instructions which increases the likelihood of you not being considered, or spend more time and send in a brilliant application?
– Only relying on job boards – We have previously touched on why it’s important to utilize multiple job hunting techniques when job hunting. We urge you to not only rely on job boards, as sometimes; not all jobs are advertised on online platforms, with the rise of social recruiting, several companies are sharing open roles through untraditional platforms such, Telegram, Whatsapp, or just headhunting on LinkedIn. Be proactive; go to networking events, connect to recruiters and employers on LinkedIn, join social media job groups and utilize the relationship you have with your weak ties. Sound unfamiliar? Read this insightful article on how you can get a job using your weak ties
Additional tips you can use to avoid sabotaging your job search:
– Always send in a PDF version of your CV and not a word document. It’s more professional and reduces the risk of information being altered. Besides that, with the increasing rise of AI, there are chances that your CV will first be read by a machine.
– When sending out requests for help; whether to a recruiter, a close network, or a weak tie, ensure your communication is clear, concise, and does not shift to the recipient the mental energy to know what exactly you want. (Stay tuned, for our upcoming article on how to ask for help, when job hunting!)
– Unless there is an utterly justifiable reason, do NOT burn bridges with people (employers or peers), who may inform a decision to get you hired by other employers in the future.
Friendly reminder that uncle Google is your friend, and there is plenty more you can find on the web on how you are sabotaging your job search and how to end that cycle.
Currently looking for a job? Read our article, 5 strategies to hack your job hunting hustle and stand out from the rest!
Follow us on our social media platforms, where you can also find more content like this: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has grown to become a KEY platform for job seekers and recruiters alike. Recruiters use LinkedIn to headhunt talented professionals who are a good fit for organizations they work in, or for clients they are hiring for.
Now, if you are a job seeker actively looking for a job, and want to be among the group of people recruiters reach out to, or are just wondering how you can use LinkedIn to get your next job, you’re in luck. It’s imperative for your LinkedIn profile to have the following elements, among others.
1. Have an up to date profile – This includes a professional profile picture, a relevant headline, and ALL your jobs listed on your profile. Ensure to include a summary of your responsibilities and achievements for your past roles. Additionally, use the LinkedIn feature to outline the skills that you possess in your career field. LinkedIn allows your connections to give you a rating of how good you are based on the experiences they have had with you; the higher the ratings, the higher your chances of being recognized by recruiters.
2. Show recruiters that you’re available – Now, if you have a job but are still looking to let recruiters know you are available, LinkedIn provides a feature that lets recruiters know, without showing your current employer, this article explains more on how to tell companies/recruiters you’re open for a new job. If you’re currently unemployed, you can highlight this on your profile by including this in your headline, for instance; “Currently open to new opportunities”. This makes it easier for recruiters to reach out to you with new opportunities.
3. Personalize and increase your connections – Don’t assume that it’s only the job of the recruiter or hiring manager to look for you. By adding more people and joining groups that are in your field of interest as well as recruiters, you’re able to likely learn more about new job opportunities, trends in the industry, and create a community of people whom you can comfortably engage with, because you’re in the same space. Learn more about how you can grow your network on LinkedIn
4. Follow organizations you’re interested in – Map out the organizations you would like to work for, and add them on LinkedIn. This will enable you to know of positions available in these organizations and provide you with an opportunity to learn more about them through the content that they share with their followers. This gives you an upper hand when you get an opportunity to apply for a job, or interview with them because you have more awareness of where they are as an organization.
5. Set job alerts – Do you find yourself forgetting to log into LinkedIn and see what job opportunities are there? Well, there’s an easy solution to that! LinkedIn allows you to set job alerts that come straight into your email inbox using different job titles, as well as specific organizations! Read this LinkedIn guide on how to set job alerts on the platform. You can also search more on YouTube where there are screen recordings if you’re new to LinkedIn. Isn’t the World Wide Web amazing?
Looking for a career thought partner to navigate some of the pressing challenges you have? Reach out to us today at email@example.com and join our career happiness seekers community.
If you haven’t already, read our blog post about how to get ready to succeed in an interview and possibly, get hired!
In the same spirit, we’re sharing with you some of the mistakes we have seen job seekers make in our interviews, which often limit their chances of proceeding to clients’ interviews 🙁 in a bid to ensure you don’t repeat the same mistakes.
1. Lack of preparation – in several cases, we have had candidates who came to our interviews lacking information necessitated to have a productive conversation. We know because; in certain instances, we have had to explain what our clients (organization candidate applied to) do.
Additional signs that show us that a candidate did not prepare effectively is not answering questions as asked, lacking structure in responses, an inability to tie their past experiences and achievements to the role they applied for, over-explaining something instead of being concise, and asking the wrong questions at the wrong time. Find our interview preps checklist here to see how you can prepare for your next interview.
2. Showing a lack of interest in participating in the interview/conversation – sometimes, a candidate will display a lack of enthusiasm in their communication style. If a recruiter has to constantly probe you to get more context in the responses you provide, chances are; you’re not too excited about the position you applied for.
Most, if not all employers are looking to hire people who are excited about their work and buy into their vision, this is especially the case if you’re applying to join one of the organizations we support; that are at the growth stage and are looking for team members to take their organizations to the next level. In relation to point one, researching the organization and figuring out how your own interests and career aspirations connect with the organization goes a long way in boosting your scores on motivation!
3. Body language mistakes – examples include; not maintaining eye contact, aggressive facial expressions, crossing your arms or legs, pointing and so forth. All these are potential signs of defensiveness. Now, we are all human and sometimes these are just triggered as a result of you not knowing how to answer a question or feeling like you’re being attacked. Always remember that by the fact you were invited for an interview, you stand a high chance of getting this job! Read more about how to avoid getting defensive in an interview in this article to get more context.
If you’re not sure or don’t have an answer to a question, ask for a chance to think more about it as the interview continues, or just say that you don’t have an appropriate response to provide.
4. Not asking any questions – Even if you did your research, and were well prepared for the interview, not asking questions in the interview may demonstrate that you’re not 100% committed to the role. The quality of the questions you ask is also important. Put more focus on the role and the organization, examples include: asking about the work culture, professional development opportunities that are available, what would be expected of you in the first three months, and so forth. Here is an article with questions to ask at the end of an interview that you can use as guidance.
Wondering why you may not have heard back from a recruiter and you’re not getting invited for interviews? Check out our blog post on the 5 mistakes you should avoid when making applications.
Follow us on our social media platforms, where you can also find more content like this: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.