Provided below are the 10 most common reasons for HR Managers to reject applicants during the interview. I have added some thoughts on how to avoid these common pitfalls.
1. Unfamiliar with CV.
Amazingly, some applicants are surprised by a question that the interviewer asks regarding information on their CV. An applicant may have forgotten that a particular statement was on their CV. This is very embarrassing and not very impressive.
Corrective action: Know your cv thoroughly and be able to defend every statement made on it.
2. Poor academic performance.
It’s too late to change your grades now. Be prepared for questions on your grades and have a well-thought out response. One-half of engineers, lawyers, teachers and accountants graduated in the bottom half of their classes. The GPA is not a true measure of what you learned nor is it an indicator of how intelligent you are.
Corrective action: Throughout the entire interview, demonstrate your knowledge so you appear “smarter” than your GPA might indicate. But don’t overdo it. Remember to be yourself.
3. Insufficient knowledge of industry.
Employers vary here on what to expect. In financial services, this is extremely important. In most other industries, the importance diminishes. It is always important to remember that you want to impress the interviewer more than the other applicants.
Corrective action: Research the company, the industry, competitors, and industry trends. Keep in mind, it is important to know the future of the industry regarding its growth, international competition and profitability, just to name a few factors. Information on the industry is very easy to find on the Internet. Invest 2-3 hours and you will appear much more impressive and confident in the interview.
4. Lack of leadership skills.
Employers do differ on the requirement for leadership skills depending on the position that is being filled. One thing is for certain— previous leadership always makes the applicant more valuable.
Corrective action: Explain in the interview how you demonstrated leadership in a job, club, organization, volunteer organization, class project or study team. Employers want to hire future leaders, so most will look for past leadership.
5. Lack of career focus.
This interview misstep results from the applicant’s inability to demonstrate how the open position is of interest, or more importantly, how this job fits into their career plan for the next 10 years. In other words, there is a lack of career planning.
Corrective action: The applicant needs to do more research on the position and the related career paths. Discussions with alumni or others who do this job will be helpful in making the decision to pursue this line of work and will make you more informed. The Internet again is a source of information on specific careers.
6. Insufficient interest in employer.
Companies need to know the specific reasons why you have chosen to interview with them. Reasons do not include: “you are a big company, you are profitable, you are located in Calabar, you have a job opening.” These answers do not distinguish this company from hundreds of other employers in Calabar.
Corrective action: The answer again starts with researching the company. What does the company say about itself? Can you talk to employees of the company? If so, ask them why they chose to work for this company? What do they like most about the company?
7. Ineffective communication style or skills.
An applicant is usually faulted for this when they ramble on with their answers, appearing unfocused or ill-prepared.
Corrective action: Concise statements are extremely important here. A simple way to follow in answering your questions is: L-RODS, which stands for: Listen. Reflect. Organize. Deliver. Shut up.
8. Low level of enthusiasm.
Applicants appear this way when they demonstrate very little vitality.
Corrective action: Demonstrate that you are glad to be in the interview and that you are excited about this job opportunity and employer. You will be expected to be highly enthusiastic on the job, so you need to demonstrate the same or more in the interview process.
9. Negative attitude.
We all know negative people and most of us choose not to associate with them. Employers feel exactly the same, and they wish to fill jobs with positive people full of ideas who want to work together with others to help the company.
Corrective action: Even when you have had a bad experience with a past employer or professor, you should give the explanation a positive twist.
10. Failure to sell self.
Recruiters often ask themselves this question at the end of the interview: “Why should I hire this person?” The reasons you give will be thoroughly accessed.
Corrective action: Give five specific reasons, with evidence for each, why you should be hired. Remember, all prospective employees can state that they are hard workers, learn quickly, and are effective team players. Interviewers are skeptical of your opinions about yourself, unless you offer substantial evidence to convince the interviewer. What type of evidence can you use?
• Comments made in past performance evaluations by a supervisor
• Comments by customers
• Grade Point Average
• Awards for achievements or recognition
• Goals achieved
All of these can be beneficial in ‘proving’ your claims.
This information should help you prepare for future interviews. Good luck in passing your next interview test!
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