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Job Seekers: Watch Out For These 5 Common Mistakes.

5 mistakes of job-seekers
Image Source: Corbis

Job-seeking in recent times has taken a life of its own, much like a career – it requires ample time to nurse and tend, till you hit bull’s eye. And just as you have many things to work your eyes on; pretty much the same way there are tons of things that shouldn’t cross the waves of your thoughts.

Before now, job-seeking used to be about the perfect resume, you have what employers are looking for and wham! you have a job.

At some point, getting a job was about having the right look – dressing the part; but now it’s much more than that; employers don’t only want candidates to look like them but to also function as expected and they get to tell if you are worth the pay check from interviews.

Speaking of interviews; you never really know what works right? But you can always do away with what’s not. From the very obvious to the fairly unnoticeable; make sure you are not falling in any of these categories; and once you’ve checked these boxes, you can be sure of a better chance at getting the job.


Lack of Eye Contact

Clichéd tip, right; but still very pivotal to acing any interview.  Nothing could be more boring than sitting in front of a new date and have no word to mutter because your partner had her eyes going everywhere except in your direction, coupled with the one-liners that gives the impression she’s bearing the torture you put her through- right there, you can clearly hear your voice of reason telling you to just shut it and call it a day. That’s what happens when you don’t maintain eye-contact with interviewers; you don’t do that with your friends, why try it in interviews? The excuse that interviews are a typically different environment hence requires a different approach is irrelevant, getting and keeping a job is about social skills, right from your job search into your interview. Put some life into what you do.

A conversation – in-person, gets awkward  when eyes don’t meet; much like losing the essence of the conversation and sending across negative impressions.

Don’t make interviewers feel the 30 minutes spent with you was a mind-numbing session of Yeses and Nos; look them in the eye and even if you say something stupid, they’d thank you for it.


Use of Slangs

The different conversation lines across platforms is rather blurred in recent times, a reason why the job seeker with a likelihood to get a job can tell the difference between informal and formal context. Without a second thought, it is easy to slip into our “phone-chat” mode using words like “real talk”, “for real”, “yea right” and every cursive word you’ve learned since your childhood.

The thing about the use of slangs is, they are unprofessional and you give that impression of unseriousness with a smear of incompetence all over your face.

No matter how cool or friendly your interviewer is,  or how much of your personality you want to exude; keep in mind you’re a professional and you’re seeking employment.



Selective Listening

That awkward moment you didn’t know the meaning of a word…  I’ve had to sit through interviews like this, where candidates were either half-asleep or completely disinterested in the interview (muddled up in their own thoughts). And when a question was thrown open, they rarely gave accurate responses; answering based on what they were most familiar with.

This mistake has cost many job-seekers huge opportunities – slightly unintended insults on the interviewers’ time, and much worse; nothing interesting about the interview to keep the candidate at the top of the potential employer’s mind.



Excessive Jesting

Again, I’m not discouraging anyone from exuding their own personality. By all means, be your (professional) self – especially if your role is one that requires you to interact with customers.

Having a sense of humor is great, but it can also hinder you if you are not good at carrying on a conversation lightly at a stretch. Don’t hop in with the assumption  that everybody gets your jokes, sometimes, this talent flow stops at the door of a potential employer’s office. Observe your interviewer and know when it’s alright to let one loose.


Begging for the Job

It’s one thing to prove you are the perfect candidate for a job and it’s another to tell your life story. I’ve had people tell me about their starving children, death within the family that has left them poor, illnesses that left them jobless, etc. All of the stories were poignant and heartwarming, but no one got a job by taking me down memory lane.

Everyone has a pity party and no matter how depressing your story is, if an interviewer is not convinced you can do the job, then you had better look for a different audience to listen to your story.
So in all, what’s your takeaway? The best way to get a job is to fight for it with your confidence, your experience, your professionalism and your perseverance.



What other interview mistakes should job seekers avoid? Do share your thoughts in the section below.


Daniel Iyam is the Author of the book ‘Mind Your Diction‘. He is a Media Consultant, Editor and Speech Therapist.
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Nathan Jeffery
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