Interview Tools

Five Reasons Candidates Fail To Impress In Interviews

So What Is It That Differentiates Some Candidates From Others When Final Shortlists Are So Competitive? The Answer To Some Extent Lies In The Interview Stage. Here Are Some Key Findings Why Some Candidates With Impeccable Credentials Can Still Fail To Impress At The Employer Interview:-

  1. Poor Preparation:Employers Have Done Their Homework To Find You And They Expect You To Do Yours On Them Too. Candidates Who Arrive At An Interview Knowing Little About The Company, The Industry Or The Role Are In A Poor Position To Compete With Well-Prepared Professionals Who Will Spend The Compressed Interview Time Precisely Positioning Themselves For The Employer’s Exact Requirements. Employers Want To Know You Are Curious, Energetic, Resourceful And Inspired And What Better Proof Of That Than Arriving Fully Prepared And With Keen Insights Into The Employer And Their Brand/Positioning/Problems/News Etc. If You Have Done Your Homework Right You Will Be Able To Hit The Ground Running In The Interview With Answers That Display How You Are Uniquely Positioned To Add Value From The Get-Go Given The Company’s Particular Culture, Positioning, Objectives, Circumstances And Situation.

  2. Displaying A Negative Attitude:Poll After Poll Conducted By Industry Experts Has Revealed That Attitude Plays A Crucial Part In Defining Character And Influencing The Employment Decision. Warning Signs Of Bad Attitudes That Are Sure To Alienate A Potential Employer Include Badmouthing Previous Bosses, Companies And Colleagues; Defensive Or Rudely Evasive Answers To Key Interview Questions; Or Overtly Aggressive Answers, Posture And Demeanour. Remember People Hire Competent People They Think They Will Really Enjoy Working With And Who Will Spread A Good Positive Vibe Within The Organisation And To External Clients And Stakeholders. Employers Are Very Cognisant That Bad Attitudes Are Highly Contagious And Will Be Far From Receptive To Candidates With Less Than An Exemplary Attitude Towards Work, Life And Themselves.

  3. Lack Of Enthusiasm In The Company:Few Things Can Alienate An Employer More Than A Candidate Who Is Lukewarm Or Disinterested About Their Company And Its Brand And Objectives. The Interview Is Not The Time To Doze Off And Deliver Tired Answers That Smack Of Boredom With Your Audience Nor Is The Time To Wax Lyrical About How Much You Genuinely Prefer All The Competitor Brands. Employers Are Looking For Nothing Less Than Passion. If You Cannot Convince The Employer That You Will Be As Passionate About Their Company And Line Of Work As They Are You Will Not Be Seen To Possess The Star Quality They Are Looking For Nor Will They Place Excessive Trust In Your Long-Term Loyalty, Stamina Or Staying Power.

  4. Vague, Coined Or Dishonest Answers:The Interview Is Not The Time To Practice Your Evasiveness Skills No Matter How Expert You Are. Employers Can See Right Through A Coined, Text Book Answer And Dishonest Answers Are More Than Likely To Be Discerned Sooner Or Later And To Backfire. By All Means Keep The Conversation Positive And Constructive And Don’t Dwell Over Past Failures Or Negative Circumstances Or Events But Also Be Vigilant That The Employer Wants Someone Real, Someone They Understand And Can Trust, And They Are Likely To Keep Digging Till They Are Comfortable They Really Understand Who You Are And What Drives You And What Your Real Strengths And Weaknesses Are.

  5. Lack Of Clarity On Personal USPS:If You Are Not Very Clear About What You Are Bringing To The Table For A Particular Job Role In A Particular Company, Chances Are The Employer Will Be Even Less Clear. The Employer Is Not A Mind Reader And Your Job Is To Make His/Her Life As Easy As Possible In Mapping Your Key Strengths, Skills And Competencies To The Requirements Of The Role You Are Discussing. Be Very Precise And Articulate When It Comes To Spelling Out What Your Personal Strengths Are, Why You Are Competitive And What Sets You Apart And Makes You Uniquely Qualified To Add Value In That Specific Context. Practice Beforehand. Make A List Of All Your Strengths And Find Clear Examples From Your Past Achievements That Demonstrate Each Of Them And Which You Can Be Ready To Discuss In A Professional Concise Manner At The Interview Stage. Remember To Be Relevant And To Focus On Transferable Skills That Are Immediately Applicable To The Role Being Discussed.

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Salary Negotiation

  1. Do Your Homework:Many People Are At A Loss Of Words When They Are Asked About Their Salary Expectations. It’s Better To Do Your Research About What The Market Rate For Your Prospective Position Is Rather Than Concoct An Impromptu Answer. When Researching, Find More About The Salary Levels For Your Profession And In The Region. You Can Also Get In Touch With Recruiters And Approach People In Your Network Of Friends And Colleagues Who Would Be Willing To Share Salary Information With You. Using All That Salary Intelligence As A Baseline, You Can Tweak It According To Your Own Experience And Qualifications And Come Up With A Narrower Range That You Can Confidently Pitch To The Potential Employer.

  2. Don’t Say Yes Too Soon:Accepting The Offer Put Forward Right Away Is Inadvisable. Usually Fresh Graduates And Job-Seekers Who Are Relocating To A Different Geographical Location Make This Mistake. Weighing The Salary Offered Against Your Actual Worth Is Important. Do Not Say Yes Unless You Feel That The Offer Is Reflective Of The Value You Will Offer To The Firm. Not Speaking Up Might Lead You To Feel Underpaid, And Receive Lower Increments And A Slower Salary Growth As You Move Up The Career Ladder Leaving You Stressed And Demotivated.

  3. Do Consider Other Benefits:To Look At Salary Alone And Ignore Other Benefits Is Also A Common Error While Negotiating Salaries. Other Factors Should Be Considered Like Insurance Coverage, The Option To Have Flexible Work Timings, Maternity And Paternity Leave, Paid Vacation Days Etc. These Factors Have Monetary Value Attached To Them And Should Be Grossed Up With The Salary Figure To Measure The Value Of Your Package.

  4. Don’t Make Unreasonable Comparisons:Salaries May Differ From One Industry To Another. Comparisons Should Be Avoided In Such Cases And Salary Negotiations Should Be Based On Research Conducted For The Particular Industry In Question. For Example, Comparing The Salary Of An Administrative Assistant In A School To That In A Telecom Company Would Be An Unreasonable Thing To Do.

  5. Do Wait For The Right Time To Bring Up The Salary Topic:Talking About The Salary Too Early In An Interview Is Not Advisable. Market Yourself As A Worthy Candidate And If The Interviewer Is Genuinely Interested In Hiring You, They Will Bring Up The Topic Themselves At A Later Stage Of The Interview. Take The Cue From There And Quote Your Range. If You Have Previous Work Experience, A Good Rule Of Thumb Is To Ask For A20% Increment Over Your Last Salary Figure As The Minimum Expected Salary.

  6. Don’t Give A Specific Salary Figure: Always Try To Give A Range, As It Gives More Room For Negotiation. If The Employer Is Offering Something Below Your Minimum, Negotiate On The Benefits.

Evaluating Your Job Offer

Based On Recent Research, The Average Tenure Of A Middle Eastern Professional At A Job Is5.2 Years, And You Should Know That Signing A Job Offer Letter Without Scrutinizing Each And Every Detail Entailed Is Not A Wise Move. A Few Pointers From The Career Experts On How To Evaluate Your Job Offer:

  1. Assess & Analyse The Basics: Not Only Does The Salary Classify As An “Essential” Component Of The Job Offer But Other Areas Are Also Very Important To Look At Such As The Type Of Contract (Open,2 Year, Temporary, Etc..), The Probation Period (And What It Entails), The Working Hours, The Working Days, The Reporting Hierarchy, The Job Responsibilities Etc. All Of These Variables In Addition To Your Salary And Benefits Should Be Clearly Specified In Your Contract.

  2. Assess The Salary Offered: How Does The Salary Offered Weigh Compared To Salaries Of Other Professionals With Your Same Qualifications And Experience In Your Country Of Residence? Ask Around, Get Information From Professionals In Your Same Position In Other Companies, Network In Relevant Circles And Resort To Online Salary Calculators.

  3. Assess The Travel Quota: Does Your Job Require Constant Or Occasional Traveling? How Occasional? Are You The Type Of Person Who Doesn’t Mind Packing And Unpacking2 To3 Times A Month? Do Your Personal Responsibilities Allow You Such Flexibility? It Is Very Important For You To Inquire About The Traveling Quota Associated With Your Potential Job In Order For You To Manage Your Own Expectations (And Perhaps Your Family’s Expectations) And Make A Wise Decision.

  4. Assess The Career Trajectory: Have You Had A Talk With Your Potential Direct Manager/ Recruiter About The Future Prospects Of The Position Offered To You? Do They And Do You Foresee Future Growth In This Position Within The Company? If You Are Looking For Stability And Continuous Development, Ensure Early On That Should You Take The Role And Prove Yourself, You Would Have Room For Career Growth.

  5. Assess The Working Conditions: As Per Recent Online Poll About Good Working Conditions In The Middle East, To Shed Light On The Importance Of A Healthy Working Environment At The Workplace And Its Impact On The Productivity And Loyalty Of Employees. An Overwhelming64.3% Of Professionals Surveyed Stated That Improved Working Conditions Would Result In More Organizational Loyalty, More Productivity And More Job Involvement, But They Are Yet To Be Provided By Employers As Per45% Of Poll Respondents. The Top Constituents Of Good Working Conditions As Per The Poll Respondents Are: Proper Training And Professional Development Schemes, Generous Incentives (Such As Vacation Days, Parking And Education Allowance), Room For Personal Job Authority And Decision Making And Good Office Setting (Such As Lighting, Seating, Lunch Rooms And Gyms. Look Closely At These Factors And Assess Where Your Potential Employer Stands In Their Regard Before Committing To The Job Offered To You.

Salary Questions In Interview?

“What Is Your Salary Expectation?”

Although A Great Opportunity And Valuable Experience Is What A True Professional Looks For, A Fair Compensation Is A Must. In Answering A Question About Your Salary Expectation, Don’t Make An Irreversible Mistake By Quoting A Number Without Knowing What The Interviewer Has In Mind. Try To Give A Diplomatic Answer And Throw The Ball Back Into The Interviewer’s Court By Saying That You Would Like To Know More About The Job Responsibilities And The Type Of Benefits That The Company Usually Offers To A Person With The Same Career And Educational Profile As Yours.

If The Interviewer Is Still Persistent On Extracting A Salary Range From You Then Answer In The Form Of A Salary Range Based On What You Were Previously Earning, What People In That Job Position Generally Receive. You Can Find This Information Going Through Salary Portals In Knowing What Your Education And Experience Is Worth.

“What Was Your Salary In Your Previous Job?

Try Not To Give A Quick Answer On This One. Try To Argue That It Is Not Fair To Make A Comparison Of What You Were Previously Making To What Your Expectation Is Because The Salary Structure In Your Former Company Was Very Different And The Position That You Have Applied For Entails Job Functions That You Did Not Handle In Your Previous Job Role. Try To Make The Interviewer Drop Hints About The Package They Are Offering.

“How Would You Feel About Settling For A Lower Pay Than What You Were Getting In Your Last Job?

Don’t Get Uneasy As Soon As You Hear The Words “Less Pay”, Talk About How Salary Isn’t The Only Aspect Of A Job That Attracts You And That You Are Open To Options But It Depends On What Those Other Factors Are That Make The Job So Appealing That You Will Be Ready To Forgo The Salary. If The Job Is Less Stressful, Offers More Flexibility And Higher Career Development And Growth Then It Is Probably Worth A Thought. However, In Answering The Question Do Establish Your Minimum Range And Then Ask Them For More Details About The Job And The Compensation Package.