After working in the same company for many years, the process of changing careers can be difficult to get right. Even for people who have recently been through the process, it can still be tough. We reflected on our experience in executive search and the most common mistakes we see job seekers make. Avoid making these common mistakes and your chances of landing a job offer will significantly improve.
1. Lack of preparation
Some people are good at improvising and making things up as they go, however a lack of preparation could be the reason you don’t get a second interview. A common mistake job seekers make is not doing enough research on the company they are interviewing with. Hiring Managers want to see that interviewees have a genuine interest in the company. Having little to no previous knowledge of the company does not convey your motivation or interest in the company and it does not sit well with interviewers. Simply put, interviewees should be able to answer the questions why do you want to work here and what do you know about us.
It is equally important to make sure you are able to answer a variety of questions about your experience, work style, and of course the ever difficult behavioral interview questions. Additionally, if the interview is being conducted in a language that is not your native tongue, it is even more important to prepare your answers to common interview questions and practice speaking about yourself in the language the interview will be conducted in.
2. Resume doesn’t stand out
Your resume is your key to getting in the door, so it needs to stand out against the competition. Your resume should market you well and sell your experience. It shouldn’t simply outline your responsibilities like a job description, but should also focus on selling your achievements to show what you’ve accomplished. It is important to avoid making common resume mistakes such as having too much repetition in the bullet points describing your experience.
3. Lack of clear vision
While it might be tempting to apply to any company that has an opening, it is important to understand your motivation for applying and have a clear vision of what you want. Not thinking deeply about why you are applying to a particular company could be the reason you don’t get a second interview. Hiring Managers want to see a genuine interest in the position and the company. Not only should you prepare an answer to the common question “why do you want to work here?”, but also reflect on that reason for your own sake.
Furthermore, relying solely on the opinions of others on a position or company should not be the cause for applying. While it is important to consult your family and friends, you must also keep your goals and motivations in mind and reflect on what your priorities are in a workplace. Is salary the most important? The ability to work from home a few days per week? Are there other aspects of work life balance that you value? Reflecting on workplace motivators and priorities will help determine if a company is the right fit.
4. Avoiding asking specific questions about the job
In addition to the importance of determining if the company is the right fit, job seekers should also assess the fit of the position by asking specific questions about the position and projects they would work on. Questions that pinpoint the exact duties give the interviewee a better understanding of what they would be doing by asking questions such as “what big projects would I be working on during my first few months?” Without having a clear understanding of the position, you might find yourself in a completely different role than what you were expecting after accepting the offer.
5. Accepting a counteroffer
While accepting a counteroffer can be for the best, job seekers should be careful as sometimes they may find themselves back in the job search shortly after. When presented with a counter offer, job seekers should reflect on whether accepting it will satisfy their desire to change jobs. After all, there was a reason you began the job search originally, so the dissatisfaction you have at your current place of work may still exist. Because accepting a counter offer may be the easier option, many job seekers fail to notice that the better option for them would have been to reject.