11 Ways Candidates can unintentionally de-select themselves

11 Ways Candidates can unintentionally de-select themselves

11 Ways Candidates can unintentionally de-select themselves

I continue to receive daily referrals and new enquiries for Outplacement and Career Transition Coaching as a result of the sadly devastating impact of Covid-19 on the UK workforce. 

If you’re in the unfortunate position to be job-hunting you have probably filled in loads of online applications and not heard back from any of them, as recruiters are currently inundated with hundreds of applicants.  Then suddenly you may get an email inviting you to complete an initial online assessment or attend a telephone interview.  Hurray!  It’s at this point that the next steps are crucial, but many candidates fail at the first or second hurdle, sometimes due to a lack of self-awareness, or displaying character traits and behaviours, which may identify potential issues if they were to be employed. 

Here are some of the basic reasons we've witnessed over the past 17 years as to why job-seekers can successfully de-select themselves, without realizing how their actions have already predicted their likely attitude and behaviour in the actual role:

Before an Interview:

1. They email multiple questions regarding the selection process, which may demonstrate to the hirer that they haven’t read the instructions, or are not able to accept instructions given, or that they always need to seek clarity and may lack initiative.

2. They respond to the recruitment process in a negative or critical way, asking why they need to complete an initial assessment or be interviewed on the phone first.  This can make them appear nervous, or overly confident, wanting special treatment, or display impatience.

3. They make excuses as to why they can’t follow the procedure and become defensive when advised that it is part of the process.  This can alert the recruiter that they may not be rule-following and feel that they always know best.

4. Their emailed response or application is messy, with different fonts, poor grammar and typos.  This highlights to the recruiter that this applicant may lack attention to detail or doesn't value quality work.

5. All the photos on their social media accounts show them drinking and partying or being a ‘keyboard warrior’.  Increasingly organizations google potential candidates, especially graduates, to gain insights in to how they spend their free time and how they are dealing with the current global pandemic.

During the Interview:

6. The candidate talks too much and doesn’t answer the questions, which may demonstrate that they are not listening, are unable to summarise key points, are very nervous, or just habitually verbose.

7. They wear inappropriate clothes.  Despite the fact that work clothes are becoming increasingly casual, especially during lockdown, even the best applicant for a role may be discounted for being untidy or wearing highly branded clothing.

8. They are not able to sell themselves, their creativity and the special contribution they could make to the role.  In this highly volatile and constantly changing work environment, there is an increasing need for more cross-functional, cross-skilled and project working.  This drives the need for team members to be able to be adaptable, raise their profile and stand out as being a collaborative contributor.

9. It becomes clear that the prospective employee hasn’t prepared for the interview or done their research.  Nowadays it is easier than ever to research an organization online and thereby identify their vision, mission and strategy.  It’s even quite easy to gauge their culture and attitude to key issues, such as remote working and sustainability, by following them on social media.  However, many candidates fail to find out how their own skills and interests are a good match for the hiring organziation and subsequently may come across as disinterested or not conscientious.

10. Like everything in life, there is a need for balance.  Post interview, if a candidate emails or calls constantly for an update, they are likely to come across as desperate or too pushy.  A follow up ‘thank you’ email can be welcomed by recruiters, but not constant messaging. 

11. For executive and some graduate positions, assessment centres are still popular to assess a range of candidates utilising a variety of robust talent assessment tools, including personality questionnaires, presentations, inbox exercises, as well as competency-based interviews.  As most of these are now online, it is key to practice these beforehand.

Good luck and stay safe!

About Jill Maidment

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