Remember these 4 pieces of advice and stay clear of the pitfalls that can easily be avoided, when you apply for your dream job.
As one of our consultants, Thorsten Andersen has had the pleasure of recruiting numerous candidates through the years, and here he’ll tell you how to avoid the common mistakes that can end up costing you the job.
1: The devil is in the details
Have you proofread your application and CV thoroughly? If not, then you should do it immediately.
Typos, misspellings, or, at worst, the wrong company name can get you kicked out of the competition before you even get started. Especially if there are many qualified candidates.
Of course, if you’re a perfect fit on all other counts, a few typos won’t ruin it for you, but they’ll surely contradict you if you write that you’re detail-oriented or a perfectionist.
Furthermore, make a habit of researching the organisation you want to be a part of. What kind of corporate culture do they have? How do they communicate? Is it very formal or down-to-earth? Use this knowledge to write an application that conveys the same feeling while staying true to your personality.
2: Be prepared!
Congratulations, you succeeded in catching the interest of the people in charge of recruiting, and now you have to get ready for the interview.
Research the company and the industry and write down all questions you can’t find the answer to or are unsure about. When you show up with the questions ready on a piece of paper or your screen, you give the recruiter a clear impression of being prepared and committed. By doing your research, you will also be ready to answer potential questions about your perception of the company’s position, its competitive advantages, who the competitors are and so forth.
Also, prepare yourself for the more personal questions you might get – especially the ones you’d prefer not to answer, such as your weaknesses or what your colleagues consider to be your shortcomings. All kinds of questions lets the recruiter get a more nuanced impression of you as a person and future employee.
There is no such thing as being too well-prepared. Preparing and asking questions are a way to signal your strong interest in the company and will heighten your chances of getting the job offer afterwards.
3: Get the job in the first five minutes
It’s the small things that can make a big impact. Some studies have found that interviewers make up their minds about candidates in the first five minutes of the interview. They then spend the remainder of the interview looking for things to confirm their decision. So, make that first five minutes count!
- Dress for the job you’re applying for. This is another way your research of the company will come in handy
- Be energetic and enthusiastic
- Give a firm handshake at the start and end of the interview
- Express your appreciation for the interviewer’s time and the chance, you’re given
- Maintain eye contact with the person you’re speaking with. If there are several people present at the interview, focus on the person asking a question, but also acknowledge the others by making frequent eye contact with them
- Be polite and attentive throughout the interview.
4: Don’t be yourself
You’ve probably always been told to be yourself during job interviews, so this statement will likely surprise you. But if you think about it, it makes sense. Because when are you truly yourself? If the answer is when you’re home alone, then this is not who you should be at an interview.
Instead, be your “professional self”: The person you are while at work, when you have things under control, are well-rested, happy, smiling, and with lots of energy.
Of course, you should never change your personality in order to get a job. The recruiter will almost always see through it during the interview or the following behavioural analysis and cognitive test. Furthermore, if you feel like you should change your personality to get a certain job, then it’s almost certainly not a good fit, and you won’t be happy there.
Now there’s not much more to say than good luck with the next step on your career journey!