Ten Common Mistakes that some Job Seekers Make
This article is taken from pages 6-8 of the Job Seekers and Career Guidance Manual Prepared by the Manpower Research and Statistical Unit (MRSU), Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Barbados.
In a tough and dynamic labour market, the job seeker must pursue all reasonable avenues to distinguish themselves from the crowd in obtaining employment. The task of looking for employment will often involve a number of regular, continuous activities such as networking with friends, communicating with members of social clubs, writing application letters, preparing for and going to interviews.
In attempting to secure employment however, there are a number of critical errors that may be made, which could ultimately serve as obstacles to securing the desired job.
Some of the more common mistakes are:
Personal appearance is poor:-
First impressions do matter and the need for the Job Seeker to be neat and tidy when interacting with a potential employer is paramount.
No research into the history of the organisation:-
During the course of an interview, it is likely that you may be asked a question that tests your knowledge of the organisation. Being unprepared for such a question demonstrates a lack of preparedness and can harm your prospects of being hired.
Show nervousness and a lack of confidence:-
In addition to personal appearance, attention needs to be paid to how you carry yourself. A firm handshake, eye contact and good posture whether sitting or standing, will be observed by many employers.
There is a fine line between being assertive and aggressive! At all times, you should watch your approach to others and your tone of voice, particularly when liaising with a potential employer.
Being late for a job interview:-
This is a mistake that must be avoided at all costs! Lateness for an interview gives a bad impression of you to the prospective employer and insinuates a lack of regard for the time of the interviewer. At the earliest possible opportunity, determine what mode of transportation will be used to arrive at the establishment. Ideally, you should aim to arrive at the establishment at least ten minutes early, in order that you can settle in and calm yourself.
The inability to express yourself clearly:-
When at an interview, think through each question and try to provide clear and concise responses to questions which are posed. Also avoid giving one-word responses, as the potential employer will be interested in your ability to articulate yourself and to think through issues in a structured and thoughtful manner.
Making your former employer look negative:-
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your departure from a previous workplace, it is always best not to make disparaging remarks about a former employer. In addition to making you appear bitter and vengeful in front of the interviewer, it also raises questions about your ability to get along with others, as well as your ability to solve conflicts.
Submitting an incomplete and untidy application form:-
Always take care to answer all questions on any provided application form to the best of your ability. Submitting a form that is untidy and ambiguous shows a lack of attention to detail and may send the signal to your prospective employer that you might be untidy and disorganised in your approach to your work assignments.
Showing a general lack of interest:-
Body language is extremely important, especially when interacting with a potential employer. Displaying a healthy level of enthusiasm to your prospective employer can signal to them that you have the right attitude for the job and will approach your assigned work tasks in a positive manner.
Lack of clear career-oriented goals:-
A job seeker’s dearth of clear and well-articulated career goals may be recognised by an observant interviewer and send the signal that there is a lack of vision with regards to personal development, coupled with an absence of structure and organisation in respect of your life and future career path.