Think of the interview process like online dating. You and employers are both putting your profiles up, and you’re both putting feelers out there. Everything may look great on paper, but first impressions still count. And, like all budding relationships, certain rules of the courtship still apply if you want to land that perfect (job) match. If you’ve been in the market for a new job for awhile, take a cue from the dating world on these nine behaviors that could be keeping you from getting past the interview and on to a long-term (employment) arrangement:
Refusal to Listen to Your Past Mentors
Maybe you want to leave your current job because your manager is always nagging you, or your former colleague was constantly giving you tips on how to improve. And perhaps you didn’t think the criticism was as constructive as it could have been, but they may have had some good takeaways for you to adjust your performance in your role. No one is perfect, so try to listen to where people are coming from when they offer guidance or feedback–it could be just the advice you need to apply to make yourself more appealing to a hiring manager.
Deciding Appearance Doesn’t Matter
Yes, in many companies, dress codes have become lax. But, the interview is still a time to make a great first impression. It’s not a time to present a ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ ultimatum when it comes to your appearance. We all want people to like us for who we are, but land the job first and then let people get to know you over time to see if you can get away with relaxed jeans or an outrageous accessory in the workplace.
Appear to be Slightly Fanatical
Passion is something many employers look for, but take that passion a little too far and you could be scaring off a potential offer. Even if it’s your dream job you’re interviewing for, tone down your overly aggressive enthusiasm so hiring managers know you have the ability to maintain your composure and that you are aware of how your actions and emotions can affect others.
Refusal to Accept Any Blame for Your Past Job-Related Failures
Just like a relationship, it takes two to tango. And yes, in some instances, maybe you were too good for that job or were constantly abused by your former boss. But did you still keep up your end of the bargain and try to improve the situation, or did you retreat into the ‘it’s not me, it’s them’ mentality? Accepting and understanding what you could have done better can teach you valuable lessons on how to move forward and be successful in your next role.
Applying to Jobs without Regard for What Employers/Positions you Attract
You are great. People love you. You look in the mirror every morning and think, “Why wouldn’t they hire me?” Affirmations are great, but are you really a perfect 10 for the job? Do some real soul searching and understand what you’re qualified for, and make sure you are applying to jobs within your scope. It’s okay to stretch for an ideal position and be ambitious, but if your jobs have mainly consisted of waiting tables or providing customer service, you probably need to take a few baby steps before they’ll interview you for SVP of International Business Affairs.
Waiting for the Dream Job to Come Knocking
You’ve posted your resume and all of your online profiles and now you’re sitting and waiting for the recruiters to call. And you’re waiting…and waiting…and waiting. Frustrated? If you want your dream job to find you and get that call for an interview, you have to take action and open up opportunities to be found. Get out and network, make new friends and acquaintances, even if they’re not the types you would typically be ‘attracted’ to professionally. You never know who will lead you to your next role.
Appearing Desperate or Clingy
Have you ever been in a situation where you knew someone needed you more than you needed them? You either felt powerful or really uncomfortable. In either case if you’re the person in need of a job, you should be careful of making your potential employer feel either. Don’t harass the hiring manager or recruiter with stalker like phone calls or email follow-ups every few hours and scare them away. On the flip side, don’t give them the power to feel like you’ll be waiting by the phone, because some may treat you like a back up candidate rather than acting on an instinct to hire you and getting you to start working right away.
Refusal to Compromise
You know what you want out of a potential job, that’s great. It’s ingrained in your mind and you speed read through every job posting looking for your key words, your ideal salary, and research the company to make sure every qualifier is met and then some. A good friend might kindly refer to you as being a little ‘picky’? Maybe you need to take a step back and be open to the possibilities. How do you know you don’t like something if you’ve never tried it. Relax your standards a little. You never know if that startup or unknown company might just be the perfect place to call your home away from home. Or, if a job that fits all your skills but is in a different industry may be the vision of happiness you didn’t know you wanted or could ever achieve.
Do Nothing to Make Yourself a Better Employee/Person
If you’re perfectly happy with where you are and think there is no need for improvement, your best bet in finding a role is with a company that’s perfectly happy with where they stand in the market and is not looking to change anything. If such a company exists, guess where it will most likely be in 5 years–out of business. If you want a better job, be a better person. Work to constantly improve yourself and show why companies want to partner with you as an employee and how you can grow, adapt, and change with them.
Interviewing for a job is, in essence, interviewing for the chance at a mutually beneficial on-going relationship. The key to most successful relationships is when the other party always feels like they’re getting a better deal. Make yourself the most attractive candidate possible and your job prospects will only continue to get better with time and experience.