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.
Looking for a new job can be a daunting, draining, soul crushing experience. However if you establish realistic expectations you can approach the rejection and struggle philosophically rather than personally and hopefully not succumb to depression.
Please consider the following before you start pounding the pavement so that you don’t start pounding your head against it.
You might suffer through a long application process – So you’ve just found a great job online you feel is perfect for you? You apply and find that you’ve entered an arduous process that little helps your job seeking fatigue. Fifty-four percent of HR professionals report that their organization’s application process takes over 20 minutes to complete! Keep in mind that on average every online job posting receives about 200 resumes. Before you enter into 20 minutes of online hell and compete with 200 other blokes, ask yourself, “Do I really want this job?” and “Am I really qualified for this job?” If you can’t answer “yes” to either of those, then don’t waste your time.
You probably won’t find a job online – The majority of open positions aren’t advertised online and according to a 2014 survey by CareerXroads, only 15 percent of jobs were filled through job boards. Most candidates are sourced from within or from referrals. Networking therefore may be a better use of your time.
You probably won’t hear back from the employer – A Careerbuilder survey suggests that three-fourths of job candidates never hear back from the employer after applying or they receive no more than an automated response after hitting “submit”. Yes, though this lack of employer action may be unprofessional, you should not take it personally. If you are holding your breath with crossed fingers and refreshing your inbox repeatedly, you will be disappointed if not frustrated.
You weren’t rejected because of who you are – Automated systems often filter out about 75% of the candidates who apply through them and much of this rejection is based solely on the lack of keywords in your resume. If a company shows no interest in your online application, don’t take it personally. Chances are a human never saw your resume to begin with and even if they did, they spent on average only six seconds getting to know it.
You may not have been rejected for lack of skill – You may have all the skills in the world but today, as unfair as this sounds, cultural fit is given more consideration during the hiring process. A study of 500 organizations found that 82% felt cultural fit was an important measure in the hiring process while seventy-five percent of respondents believed cultural fit was a good predictor of success. Understand though that fit is a two-way street. If they don’t feel you are a fit for them, they may not be a fit for you either. Learning that up front is perhaps best for your career.
Hiring managers barely look at your resume – Hiring managers and recruiters look at your resume, as mentioned above, for a mere six seconds. During that time they only look at your name, current position, previous position and education. Make sure your resume is formatted in such a way that this information can be accessed quickly to best maximize the time they spend on you.
You may be requested to take a video interview – Dozens of video interviewing providers now litter the hiring landscape as employers seek to hire more efficiently and effectively. If you are invited to take a video interview, do not panic and certainly do not feel slighted you weren’t immediately invited into the office. You have been invited because your resume interests them. You have passed the skills audition and the video interview is your chance to let your personality shine. Read, “4 Reasons Why Job Candidates Should be All Over Video Interviewing.”
A job search is more a marathon than a sprint. Understand these six points and you just may have the endurance to make it to the finish line.