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Common Mistakes Job Seekers Make

Posted on 14th September 2016 by Katrina Docherty

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Looking for a new job can be stressful and in this competitive market, it’s imperative that job seekers are on top of their game. Here are some very common mistakes that even the most experienced job seekers make.

NEGATIVE NANCY

You know the saying, “If you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything”. The same applies during your job interview process. Talking negatively about your previous or current employer is a big no-no, so avoid it like the plague.


ZERO RESEARCH

Not researching prior to an interview is one of the most common mistakes job seekers make. It’s imperative that you understand your company’s goals. Pay particular attention to their website, LinkedIn page and other social media feeds. Google News Alerts is a great tool to help you discover more about your company. It’s quick and easy to sign up and delivers all the research to your inbox.


NAME YOUR WEAKNESS

Nobody is perfect! Not being able to name a weakness shows ZERO self-awareness. So what do you do when faced with an interviewer demanding that you discuss your weaknesses? First things first, recognise that it’s not a bad thing. Candidates that can openly discuss their weaknesses come across as both humble and self-aware – two qualities hiring managers love.


Be prepared to expand upon each of your weaknesses. You can’t simply say I’m disorganised – expand upon how you rectify this weakness. Example: “I realised that I wasn’t prepared when I attended meetings, so I set up a system whereby I spent 30 minutes a day preparing a to-do list for important meetings”.  


Another hot tip: avoid listing “perfectionist” as a weakness. It’s an overly rehearsed cliché and again shows you have zero self-awareness. Take a moment and think about the characteristics of a perfectionist: they can be annoying, obsessive, and irritating to work with. Avoid a canned response and be authentic.


OVERLY AMBITIOUS

You’ve barely been offered the job and you’re already asking about a promotion. Being overly ambitious or unrealistic with your progression expectations can cost you the role. Companies want to hire an asset and not a threat. More importantly, they want to avoid hiring someone who might come in and annoy their current workforce with their over-the-top enthusiasm and obnoxious attitude. Someone in a new role should expect to work in the role they’ve applied to for around 18 months before they get a promotion.


ZERO PREPARATION

Not preparing good questions for the interview is dangerous. People want to see that you are genuinely interested in the role. You’ve been at this company for a while, what keeps you motivated? What is the biggest challenge the team has faced in the past year? Why did you decide to work at this company? These are some of the questions you should consider asking the hiring manager.


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