Stamp rejected. 3dIt’s a sad fact that no matter how many people apply for any one position, all but one applicant are going to be disappointed with the final decision. There are many things people do to prove to a hiring manager that they are undeserving of a job. Consider some of the most common things you can (or don’t) do to have your name struck from the candidacy list.

1. Sending absurdly long resumes will never score points with a hiring manager. Most spend only between 6 and 30 seconds looking over each resume before deciding to keep or toss. The best resumes are brief and concise typically consisting of one or two pages of relevant and condensed information. The lack of ability to convey your skills and qualifications in a brief document signals poor communication skills. Instead of creating a 10-page treatise on your life since birth, tailor your resume to a particular company and job description and keep it as short as reasonably possible.

2. Having no answer to the question, “What do you like about your current job?” is a big red flag that you aren’t really sure what you want out of your career and have no particular reason to be satisfied by the job for which you are interviewing. Employers want impassioned and dedicated employees who are genuinely happy with what they do. If you don’t know what you want out of the job the hiring manager will be unable to see a reason why you would make a good fit at the company.

3. Just about every employer wants to know why you want to work for them in a particular role. Similarly, most employers will also want to know how a job will help you progress toward your ultimate career goals. If you lack a good answer regarding your future plans and hopes for your career an employer won’t know that you will truly be happy in the position they are offering or that you will work hard to meet expectations.

4. If your skill set and qualifications don’t match the job for which you are applying, it’s best not to apply; the interviewer will figure it out. If you interview for a technical position or one requiring specialized knowledge, your interview will more than likely contain aspects to test your abilities and expertise in those areas. If your resume sets expectations about your skill set that your true abilities don’t reflect you can expect a negative reaction come interview time.

5. In many ways, interviews are tests. You are quizzed on your life, your past jobs, your educations, your skills, and any other relevant aspect of your experience. That being the case, it is not sufficient to sit back and explain how you would react in the future when your interviewer wants to know about your behavior in the past. Present concrete examples that explicitly address the questions asked.

Winning an interview is a matter of demonstrating several traits that reflect the characteristics of a worthy hire. First, you want to show that you can get things done by managing challenging tasks and being self-motivated. Next, you need to show off your intelligence by fully answering all questions asked and providing solid examples where required. Third, you have to convince the interviewer that the job fits well with the envisioning of your career. Finally, have the skills necessary to perform the job well and show your passion for the work in everything you say.


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