Why Aren’t Companies Responding To Your Job Applications?

You've applied for hundreds of jobs, you've got all the right qualifications and experience, but for some reason the phone just isn't ringing. What are you doing wrong? Well, chances are that you've come across as a liar, a lunatic or a major liability, and you didn't even know it.
Jason Snyman
2019-06-03

We recently released a brilliant how-to guide on acing terrifying questions during a job interview. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Where do you see yourself in five years? Why do so many interviewers ask these same old questions, and what kind of answers are they really looking for?

Armed with the best possible advice, the right skills for the job and a confident can-do attitude will certainly increase your chances of landing a job offer, but first, you need to actually land that job interview.

One dreadful mistake, one fatal miscalculation, one inappropriate joke, one drunken social media selfie could ruin it all, for good. 

In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the biggest mistakes people make when applying for a job positions, as per employment company, Glassdoor. 

As a job seeker, this reality can really be frightening, especially if you find yourself in a situation where you’re simply not getting interviews, no matter how many job openings you apply to, and yet you don’t have a clue what you’re really doing wrong.

Below, Glassdoor’s Peter Yang has listed the five major ways that people unknowingly, or accidentally, sabotage their chances of landing an interview.  

Can You Be Consistent, And Therefore Trustworthy?

As James C. Collins once wrote; the signature of mediocrity is not an unwillingness to change. The signature of mediocrity is inconsistency.

Nothing sets off the warning bells quite like inability to stick to a coherent story. When providing recruiters with contradictory information, you’re likely to confuse them or raise suspicion. When information doesn’t add up, they won’t assume that it was in innocent mistake, but are far more likely to assume that you’re a liar. 

If your resume says one thing, and your LinkedIn profile says another, this isn’t going to bode well for you in an interview when the employer is asking you questions about your past that you can’t answer. 

Honesty is the best policy. If you’re honest, you’ll have no problems remembering or aligning job titles, periods of employment or other important details across all platforms.  

Further incentive? We may soon have new laws put into place that will see misrepresentation on CVs, such as qualification fraud, non-existent matric certificates, inflated education, unfinished degrees or fake certificates punishable by up to five years in prison.  

This is all outlined in the National Qualifications Amendment Bill, which is currently waiting to be signed off by President Ramaphosa.

Never lie about, or inflate previous job titles or salaries, and always disclose honest reasons for dismissals and any criminal records. 

The truth isn’t difficult to find during any through background screenings – even if all your contactable references are fake. 

Can You Explain The Missing Pieces?

The ‘hope for the best’ approach when submitting a resume full of long gaps between jobs, alternating experience in completely unrelated fields or very short periods of employment just isn’t a very good idea. 

Without context, this makes you look like an unmotivated, indecisive job hopper. There are red flags all over the place, and any manager with experience in hiring the right people for the job will pick up on them immediately. 

Of course, life isn’t always going to be smooth sailing, and in many cases, you’ll have perfectly plausible explanations for these abnormalities. So, instead of leaving the employer with a great deal of guesswork to do, it’s often far better to be candid and open from the onset. 

By offering a clear explanation in your cover letter, resume objective statement, or your LinkedIn profile, you might just be able to convince hiring managers to overlook any glaring issues that may otherwise plague you.

Recruiters are sceptical by nature, and they have to be. The downside to this is that when left to their imaginations, they’ll often assume the worst and decide not to even waste any time with an interview.

Take the initiative, and give them a reason to give you a chance. 

An Unprofessional Online Presence

With the prevalence of social media these days, anybody who takes an active interest in who you are, what you’re all about in life and what you may offer as an employee, for instance, could easily find out all they need to know.

Even some insurance companies have admitted to utilizing information garnered from social media profiles during the assessment stage. If you have an online footprint, there’s almost no hiding anymore.

Sometimes our qualifications and experience are exactly on par with the requirements for the job, and our CV is neat, tidy and concise, but the phone still just isn’t ringing. One explanation for this could be that job recruiters have scoured the internet and discovered something undesirable about you.

Whether it’s a vulgar tweet you might have made in the past, or a selfie showing you getting drunk at a nightclub, any of these sorts of things can immediately zero out your hiring chances.

Drawing Attention To Yourself In A Negative Way

Standing out from the crowd is always a smart move when competing with a large number of talented job applicants, but how you decide to do this could either help you land that interview, or harm your chances entirely. 

Yang uses your CV itself as an example. Using fancy templates, or turning your resume into a full-fledged infographic may seem appealing – especially if you’re applying for a creative position and you’d like to display some of your talents – but in reality, this approach usually doesn’t go over too well with employers or modern applicant tracking systems, which can’t analyse them. 

We know, your typical black-and-white resume is uninspiring, it’s been done to death, and you want to do something different. 

There’s a reason why the traditional format has been around since the beginning of time, though. It allows employers to skim through your CV and find the most relevant information as fast as possible, and creative a short-list of candidates to pay more attention to. 

Submitting an over-the-top, flashy resume makes the employer’s job harder, and is likely to land your application onto the discard pile.

When In Doubt, Seek Professional Help

We’ve all seen professional resume writers advertise their services, and many among us may have thought, well, that seems like a total waste of my money. How hard can it be to put a CV together?

In reality, a good, reputable professional resume writer or career coach could save you a ton of time, and prevent you from blowing any chance you had at landing a job interview. 

If you find that you really haven’t had any success at all in applying for vacancies, it’s worth enlisting the help of somebody who knows exactly what they’re doing, and what employers are looking for. 

The only thing worse than submitting a convoluted, twelve-page resume in Comic Sans is submitting a resume riddled with spelling errors, missing vital information and offering no real glimpse into who you are as a person, and what makes you hireable. 

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