Job seekers will get rejected for many things. Their lack of skills, their lack of experience, their height, weight, gender, race and so on. I have blogged on these items extensively but here are a few items not often considered that affect a job candidate’s chances. Some are within their control while others are not.
The time of your interview – When scheduling an interview avoid the lunch hour. A pre-lunch interview could be cut short while a post lunch interview could delay you as you wait for your interviewer to return. Also the last interview of the day is not a prime choice as your interviewer may be distracted by their evening plans.
Rainy days – If you can change the weather patterns try interviewing on a sunny day. You may be rated more favorably.
Early, on time or late – Showing up late for an interviewer is obviously a negative and you can never go wrong with being on time but showing up early isn’t necessarily a plus. Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert says that arriving too early can make you appear too anxious and put pressure on the interviewer.
How you treat staff – Be good to those around you! The CEO of Panera bread once rejected a candidate because they were rude to a worker cleaning nearby tables. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, will ask the airport shuttle driver if his job candidates were rude or impolite. “If our shuttle driver wasn’t treated well, then we won’t hire that person,” Hsieh remarked.
Sitting too early – Stand until your interviewer sits or offers you a seat!
Looking at your cell phone or watch – The hiring manager deserves your attention! Don’t be rude!
Where you grew up – Interviewers are often sub-consciously biased but sometimes in a positive way. If the job seeker shares similarities with the interviewer such as in where they both grew up, this may benefit the candidate. The similarity attraction hypothesis suggests that people are drawn to those who are similar to them in some aspect.
Smiling – Smiling people are more engaging and approachable but according to one study, excessive smiling does not benefit all professions. Most notably manager candidates were less likely to get the job.
A foreign accent – Another item about which candidates have no control is a foreign accent and for executive positions employers are seemingly biased against it. According to research, employers believe foreign speaking candidates have less political skill.
Obesity – A study found that candidates were rated as less competent when photos of their non-obese bodies were compared with digitally altered photos that made them look obese. Is this discrimination? Of course it is and unless you live in Michigan, there is no law to protect you.
Your handshake – This one is perhaps more spoken of than the others but an issue people may commonly neglect. Strong handshakes usually indicate confidence while weak handshakes, according to one study, indicate shyness and neuroticism.
As a job seeker, if you can eliminate all the potential resume pitfalls, and get past the computer gatekeeper, your chances will improve drastically if you heed the data above.