Top 10 Reasons For Not Getting An Interview

April 8, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Resume evangelists hard at work. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Lately the media is suggesting an improved economy and that companies are hiring.  It is hard to cross the street without a self proclaimed career expert giving advice.  Google, CNN, and Yahoo! constantly feature articles regarding job searching and yet many candidates find that they are sending out countless resumes and not getting interviews.  With so much great information out there here are some of the real reasons that candidates don’t get interviews.

  1. Resume sent to wrong person. A recent CNN Money.com column suggested that sending a resume to a person in a firm at a higher level would yields better results.  Right or wrong I don’t know, but I would save it for cases only when you are eminently qualified for the position.
  2. Lack of Follow Up. As also mentioned in CNNMoney.com, most HR departments have been trimmed and recruiters are busy people with resumes often getting missed because  spam filters, the resume black hole…you name it.  If you are serious about a position–follow up. It’s pretty simple.
  3. Resumes in a bizarre format. Many firms utilize applicant tracking systems that can really only read word documents or pdfs.  Zip files, Notepad documents, and embedded emails will likely not make it through.   Follow the instructions on how to apply to a position.
  4. TMI people, TMI. Keep the pictures and personal anecdotes to yourself.  Cover letters should be concise and focus on your skills.  For more tips check out this WSJ article.
  5. You aren’t LinkedIn. Many companies only post jobs on LinkedIn and use this as a resource to find what are considered to be “star employees”.   Who doesn’t want to be a star?
  6. Off key. If the right key words aren’t included on a resume it will easily get lost into the resume black hole.  I hate to be a broken record but it is true.  Look at the requirements in the job description and make sure as many as possible if not all are on a resume.
  7. Socially Unacceptable. Don’t think employers won’t bat an eye at Facebook profile, tweets, or comments.   Wink is a background check reality for many firms and an employer’s social media BFF.
  8. Disorganized. I can’t tell you how often I encounter a candidate that doesn’t know what job they applied for or where they have submitted a resume.  What this says is that the candidate is neither organized nor detail oriented.  Reason enough to take a pass for many employers.
  9. Not qualified. Applying for jobs without meeting the minimum requirements- stop already! You won’t get an interview and you are wasting everyone’s time.
  10. Cyber job stalker. You know who you are.  The person that applies to every job on a company website – How could you possibly be qualified for so many jobs?  If you were, I doubt you would still be unemployed.

Is it the economy or is it you?

Ask Andrea…A Guide to Commonly Asked Recruiting Questions

July 10, 2009 at 3:03 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Is formal business etiquette lost in the financial industry? Here are a few commonly asked questions regarding appropriate behavior during the interview process.

What should I do after the interview?

At the close of an interview it is appropriate to ask each interviewee for a business card or email address for follow up questions. A well prepared thank you note should be sent to each person that interviewed you. It should not be a form letter and should comprise of specifics from each exchange.

What are some mistakes to avoid?

A job search is like any other professional transaction and should be approached with proper business acumen. One area candidates sometimes neglect is paperwork/applications and responsiveness to interview requests. On more than one occasion, I have seen firms decide not to move forward with interviewing a candidate because a pre-employment test or application was not completed in a reasonable amount of time. The firms felt that it reflected poor follow through and an attitude of disinterest. Conversely, over eagerness can also be a deterrent. Give prospective employers ample time to respond to inquiries, a general rule of thumb is to follow up only once a week so that you don’t appear desperate. Keep in mind that if a prospective employer is not making an effort to stay in touch, they are probably just not that in to you!

Does anything I do after an interview even matter?

Yes. The interviewing landscape is increasingly arduous and, you need to do whatever you can to give yourself the competitive edge. If an employer interviews people with similar backgrounds and skill sets, a well crafted thank letter can be a point of differentiation. Some employers will decided in the first 15 minutes of meeting a candidate whether they fit the corporate culture. However, most will have a collaborative calibration process. A thank you note is a great way to provide additional color on questions you feel like you could have answered more effectively in the interview. It will also help to ensure that everyone you met with has positive experience.

Are thank you notes appropriate- if so, what should they say?

The thank you note should include the following:
• Any personal information that you discussed to help build the rapport…i.e. That’s so ironic that we are both Notre Dame Alums…isn’t it great that President Obama spoke at this year’s graduation!
• Reflect on specific skills or an aspect of the position that was discussed during the interview and relate it to one of your past successes.
• Mention something about the firm that impressed you and made you feel like it would be a great place to work.
• Ask a follow up question regarding the position- do not ask about next steps (you will look desperate) but more so a question directed to the specifics of the position.
• Reference Letters or References

Is it better to hand write or email a thank you note or do both?

Email – you never know how long snail mail will take and a hiring decision could be made before the letter even arrives. I do think that sending a hand written thank you note after an offer has been accepted expressing your excitement about the opportunity is an elegant touch.

How do I not look desperate?

Try to keep your questions position/firm specific. Do not contact an employer more than once a week if they haven’t gotten back to you. If you would like to know status, send notes that update the firm on your status updates vs. asking when you will be making a decision. i.e. I am in final stages with a few other firms…this should illicit a response from a prospective employer if they are interested in you.

When should I follow up after the interview?

It is best to compose the thank you letters as soon as possible following the interview while the details are fresh in your mind. Letters should be sent within twenty four hours of the interview.
Etiquette counts, it is important to comport yourself professionally throughout the process. Like interviews, follow up should be composed in a manner that will help you to establish a relationship with the firm. Demonstrate that you are friendly and affable. Who doesn’t want to work with someone they like?

Additionally, I would strongly advise that you use your personal and social network to find someone associated with the firm that recommends you. In financial firms, more than any other industry references and reputation are exceedingly significant.

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