It is absolutely nerve-wrecking waiting to be called up for an interview. It is easy to feel disheartened and frustrated at this endless waiting game. Here are 5 biggest reasons why candidates fail to make the shortlist:
1. Missing Cover Letter
Having a cover letter will immediately boost your chances of getting called for an interview. If you don’t have a cover letter, your employer will only have an objective view of your skill-sets based on your CV. Based purely on your CV, if you are not the ideal fit or possess everything they are looking for, you might be easily passed over for someone else who has a convincing story to tell.
Employers care about hard skills, but they also really want someone who is genuinely excited to join their company and there is no better way to demonstrate this than in your cover letter.
2. Overqualified / Underqualified
When you are overqualified or under qualified, you should address this in your cover letter. Demonstrate that although you are over/under qualified, you are nevertheless genuinely interested in this role and you will be able to adjust effectively. Let the employer know of the following:
- Your background
- Which stage of life you are at
- Why you want to join this company / role
- What hard and soft skills you bring to the table
- How this role fits into your long-term goals
By conveying genuine interest, and by showing that you do know what you are getting yourself into, you can help to address concerns the company may have about hiring an overqualified/ under-qualified candidate. Read more about how to effectively “sell yourself” here.
3. Poor Referees
If employers’ specifically ask you to name your referees and provide their contact details, you can be sure that they will contact them and this is a major factor in their consideration.
Choose your referees carefully. There have been instances where hiring managers have told us horror stories about referees who gave a lackluster or even negative impression of the candidate. Some people put their former colleagues or superiors they don’t really know well as referees, thinking that this would be sufficient but no impression or a “meh” impression can often backfire on you.
One way to pre-empt this situation is to make sure you contact the referee ahead of time. Let them know that they may be contacted by X company about a position you have applied for. Give them a quick refresher of what you have been up to and this new role that you have applied for. Also, regardless of the outcome, remember to thank them after! You probably need them again in the future.
4. Social Media Presence
Another common (but often overlooked) deal breaker is your social media presence. Companies err on the side of caution. If there is anything “Google-able” about you that is negative or raises a red flag, they will usually pass. Clean up your online presence as much as possible and set all your personal social media on private.
5. Being Annoying
You have submitted a convincing cover letter and a proofread resume. The waiting game starts. Another major reason why some candidates fail at this stage is their manner of follow-up.
Pestering HR or the hiring manager with constant emails and calls will definitely backfire on you. While getting hired is of vital importance to you, understand that this is just one task out of many for them. We would recommend calling HR approximately 3 – 5 working days after you submit your application to ask if they have received it. If they have received it, they will contact you in due course. There is no need to chase them about the status, when an interview will be scheduled etc. Unless the recruitment personnel is keen on divulging more details (which they rarely are), try your best to refrain from bombarding them with questions. Be polite at all times. The hiring process is discretionary by nature, and you should try your best to impress and not annoy.
Take a look at our Commonly Asked Interview Questions and practice practice practice. Schedule a mock interview to get personalized insight and strategy on how to up your game and succeed today!