Job hunting can be a grueling experience all-around, so make the best of your time by avoiding these mistakes and see better results!
Whether you’re a long-time career professional or just starting an undergraduate program, it pays to know what to avoid when starting your search for a position. Most people today have moved to the online application process, in which recruiters receive an average of 200 applicants each. This creates a huge pool of applicants, many who largely are underqualified and unprepared as they’ve taken the “shotgun” approach of applying to every job they can find.
Although this approach may seem easier, it’s the least personal and least likely to net a response. Taking a targeted approach to which organizations and/or positions you apply to can save time and make a better impression on recruiters, and is just one of the many mistakes that job-seekers make in today’s online world. Instead, if you’re serious about the job, be sure to find out who the hiring manager or recruiter is and send them a personal letter or email conveying your interest. If you want to go over-the-top for the job, you can do something really out of the box like these people. One person even bought advertising space on billboard outside the employers office!
Job Hunting Mistakes to Avoid:
1. Speaking Negatively About Past Employers
If you feel as though you’ve been cheated by former employers and would love nothing more than to drag them through the mud to anyone and everyone around, it’s best to restrain the urge and let it go. The person who’s doing your interview is likely not a psychologist and isn’t interested in hearing about how you’ve been wronged in the past. They’re interested in whether or not you can solve the problem before them, filling the position.
The last thing any potential employer wants to do is hire someone who will bring negativity to their team and who’ll constantly drudge up stories of how terrible their former employer or colleagues were. If you’ll trash talk the employers who’ve given you opportunities in the past, then chances are you’ll do the same thing in the future. Instead, focus on the positives, what you learned, and how you’ve grown since your last job.
2. Try to Negotiate Salary Too Early
Clearly, recruiters and hiring managers understand that you want to get paid. However, candidates who bring up the salary issue too early throw up red flags, as the organization is typically looking for team members who are interested in the work itself and developing their careers, rather than just getting paid and going home.
Bringing up how much you’ll be paid during the first interview also ties in with making yourself look desperate, which is attractive to no one. Instead of making your interviews all about the money, focus more on the aspects/responsibilities of the position, why you’ll excel in the role, and what you can bring to the table that other candidates cannot.
3. Underselling Yourself
The labor market is somewhat backward compared to more traditional economic markets where goods and services are the valuable centerpieces. In this market, labor and skills take their place and provide more leverage to the interviewee than many of us realize. Between posting and responding to listings online and the cost of paying interviewers to meet and evaluate candidates, filling positions can costs thousands of dollars in which companies do not want to backtrack only to pay more. So if you’ve made it past the first round of interviews, you know you’re in a good negotiating position when it comes time to talk about the salary.
Although nerves can sometimes get the best of us, never allow the interview to be fully-controlled by the hiring manager. They have routine questions that they ask to evaluate each candidate, sort of like a standardized test. However, this approach is flawed as it often fails to bring out the information that could potentially make you a great fit for the position. Don’t be shy about steering the interview in a direction that casts you in the best light possible while job hunting.
Job hunting can be a long process and gets even longer the more specialized your position is, so procrastination can be your worst enemy here if you underestimate the time it’ll take you to secure a new job. While you can always find a reason not to do something, if you like having peace of mind about the future, it’s best ot buckle down and hit the ground running. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t take a little time off after leaving a positon. Sure, a week or two may be easily manageable, but taking trips around the world or staying out of the job market for months at a time could land you in hot water.
Instead, be as proactive as possible with potential openings and networking opportunities. Lay out a game plan, create a list of companies or organizations you’re interested in applying to, and contact any individuals you may know with solid connections to your field and let them know you’re searching for employment.
6. Coming Off as Desperate
Just like with dating, desperation is unattractive to recruiters and hiring managers. One of the biggest mistakes job-seekers can make is to attempt to get the interviewer’s pity for the position. While it may seem like a decent strategy in your head, in reality, it’s definitely not. Recruiters don’t want to take the risk of hiring a candidates simply because they feel sorry for them when it could put their own job at risk and when there’s a good chance that the candidate may not work out and they have to go through the hiring process again. This is a huge waste of time and money for the company and reflects poorly on the hiring manager, so don’t bank on it working as a job hunting strategy.
Instead, avoid any further procrastination and put your nose to the grindstone. Highlight your achievements and skills, and go in prepared for anything they might throw your way. The hiring process can take a long time, so if you’ve found yourself in a bind, look to relatives and trusted friends for help while you get back on your feet.
7. Applying to Hail Mary Positions Only
A mistake many recent college graduates make when job hunting is to go straight for the higher positions that require years of experience in addition to the degree they just earned. Unfortunately, higher education lays only the groundwork for a competent employee, especially when it comes to healthcare positions. Although internships and residencies may have given you a fair amount of clinical experience, don’t let hubris overcome reasoning.
Focus on the positions that you are a competitive candidate for, whether it’s based on skill or experience. It’s like advertising. Advertisers target specific audiences to get the best results possible and spend their money wisely, rather than blasting their ad out to everyone and spending a ton of money targeting individuals who will probably never buy what they’re selling. Take the same approach when job hunting to save yourself a lot of time.
We’ve all probably made the above mistakes before when job hunting, but it’s never too late to learn from out mistakes and avoid them in the future. Most people get terribly stressed out when searching for a new position, particularly during the first interview, and it can ultimately lead to making errors that can cost you the job offer. Instead of buying into the high-pressure idea that the job you’re applying to is the only one out there and you’d be lucky to have it, inducing a lot of pressure into the situation, practice confidently selling yourself and your skills to see better long-term results.