Tag Archive for: careeradvice

3 Mistakes Candidates Make To Ruin Their Next Job Interview

Job Interviews are a serious affair.

A moment that can define your future career and life.

Yet, some candidates take it for granted.

They leave their next job opportunity to chance.

There are many reasons why candidates get rejected, but there are the common ones I have witnessed firsthand.

You must avoid these events like a disease if invited for an interview.


1 – Turning Up Late

The panel may not forget if you attend a job interview late.

First impressions, they say, last longer.

You would need to be exceptional to overturn the initial disappointments.

I once sat on an interview panel for a top analyst role.

We had this candidate lined up for this interview. It was an online interview. At the start of the interview, we didn’t see this candidate join.

Two minutes passed, 10 minutes passed, and still nothing.

We rang the candidate to find out what was going on. The candidate apologised that they would join shortly and joined five minutes later.

There was no prior communication about the coming later. Nothing. The candidate just turned up with a smile like Santa bearing gifts on Christmas day.

I was surprised.

Of course, that first impression ruined the entire experience. It would take a miracle for the candidate to land the role. As expected, they didn’t get the job because the interview was below par.

If you are ever going to interview, you must prepare to come in early. Yes, life happens, but that’s why you have your mobile phone and should communicate.

  • Try not to run late for an interview. You can do a practice run to the interview venue a day before or so to familiarise yourself with the route.
  • Check your tech if attending online.
  • Set multiple reminders or alarms or inform a friend or family member so they can remind you if possible.
  • Sometimes, life happens. Always communicate if you are running late for an interview.
  • Communicating shows you respect the panel as you would yourself. 

     

2 – When It’s obvious to the panel you didn’t prepare

Not preparing for an interview might ruin your chances of landing the role.

I recently sat with a panel chair interviewing for a senior role.

They had to interview two to 3 potential candidates for the role.

The interview went well on average; however, there was just one thing that disgusted the panel chair – the lack of preparation of one of the candidates.

The hiring manager said it was so clear from the first question that the candidate did not prepare.

Their responses lacked direction and depth and could not explain why a candidate would show up for an interview without preparation,

The candidate did not get the job, and they would probably not land any other roles within the same team soon.

Always prepare for your interview.

Why?

  • It shows you are genuinely interested in the role.
  • It shows you are ready to move to the next level.
  • It shows you respect the panel’s time. 

3 – Fail to attempt an interview task

I once sat in a panel where candidates were required to complete an assessment task before the interview.

The candidates were meant to present and speak about their analysis during the interview.

They were not required to submit it prior.

This candidate joined the interview, and the panel asked to show the presentation, but they hadn’t completed it.

It was strange to the panel chair.

The interview barely lasted half an hour because the candidate did not complete their task.

Remember:

  • Always complete your assessment task before the interview
  • You can ask for an extension if you need more time.
  • Not completing a task shows you aren’t interested in the role and may not get hired.

Closing Thoughts

Interviews can be an excellent experience if you are prepared for them.

Don’t get automatically disqualified because you showed up late without notice, did not prepare for an interview or did not complete an assessment task.

Put in your best in your next job interview.

Don’t shoot yourself in the foot.


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7 Career Lessons For Job Seekers After Hiring An Editor For My Second Book

Writing books teaches you career and life lessons.

A while ago, I decided to write my second book, The Migrants Career Guide.

As a writer, I could not help but source for an editor.

I didn’t want to add the editing process to my busy schedule. It’s also too hard to see my mistakes, so hiring an editor was probably best for me.

When I wrote my first book, “Before Graduation Day”, I hired an editor on Upwork. It was one of the best decisions I made. The editor helped me refine my book and made it better. So, this time, I thought I would do likewise.

Hiring an editor can significantly improve your writing

I decided to go to Upwork to recruit again instead of using the same editor I used for my first book before graduation day.

I did this because I thought the target audience was slightly different, and I wanted someone with more experience in that field. I also thought getting a new perspective from another editor would be great.

Here are some career takeaways for job seekers I learnt while working with my new editor.


#1. Following Instructions Is Key

In my experience, following application instructions is key.

I have been burned by not following application instructions, so these days, I want to ensure I read the first instructions before taking action.

In my ad, I asked applicants to include the word “I love editing” in their application response. I added this measure to filter out applicants who didn’t read the job description.

Sadly, about 40% did not do that, and I did not progress these submissions.

Taking action is key, but only after you understand what you need to do and what is required.

By following application instructions, employers will know that:

  • You read the job ad
  • You know what they want
  • You are genuinely interested in the job
  • You can be trusted to pay attention to details 

#2. Think Ahead Of The Hiring Manager

Two candidates went ahead of me and submitted work samples before I asked them.

This process made it easy for me to quickly review their work and see if they would be a great fit.

In the end, I hired one of these two candidates.

Hiring managers often have to review your resume or work samples before determining whether they will move you on to the next steps.

Thinking ahead of the hiring manager shows:

  • You are proactive
  • You know what they want
  • You know what they are looking for

So next time, if applying for a role, stop and ask yourself what the next step in the process might be and try to supply anything ahead of time to get ahead of your competition.

 


#3. Make Your Credentials Visible

In this new world of work, seeing is believing.

Employers no longer buy hope. They want to see the real deal.

In my ad on Upwork, even though I haven’t specifically asked for a work portfolio, some sellers already went ahead of me by visiting my newsletter, picking one piece of content that resonated with them, and editing it to show what they could do.

Here are some benefits of adding a portfolio to your work:

  • You automatically reduce your perceived risk because employers can easily see you can do the job.
  • You talk less because you have showcased evidence of your skills
  • Improve your skills 

#4. Reach Out To Get Ahead And Boost Your Submission

In my job post on Upwork, some sellers contacted me privately to ask further questions.

These questions ranged from how soon I would like to finish the process to some related questions I was happy to answer.

When you reach out to a hiring manager this way, you immediately:

  • Put a spotlight on your application
  • Put yourself in the mind of the hiring manager
  • Skip the application queue — depending on the quality of your application

So, before you apply for any role, it might be worth contacting hiring managers to ask some good questions about the process. The benefits are numerous.


#5. Get In Early

In my ad, I started looking at the applicants to see who I would like to shortlist. I also started short-listing early in my subconscious mind.

When you have a job application, you want to apply early. Although applying early doesn’t mean you will get the job, but it has some benefits:

  • Put your front door early
  • You will make the cut if employers decide to close the application early
  • It helps you become more productive in your job search 

#6. Help Them Save Time

Like me, employers want to save time, and they like to keep it at all costs. And that may include finding processes to discard unwanted applications.

Sadly, this is how the world of work works.

Most hiring managers’ job is not to hire people.

The hiring process is just on the side, while the core job responsibilities are on the other side. Knowing this, you need to make their job easy by thinking like them, knowing how they feel, and making the process as simple for them as possible.


#7. Employers Are Looking For Like-For-Like

In my post, I was looking for editors who have edited non-fiction books.

I didn’t intend to hire a first-timer, nor did I plan to hire someone who hadn’t edited a book before.

Writing a book is a lot of work, so I needed to ensure I got the editing component right. I was no longer hoping. I wanted experience and expertise. I wanted an editor who knew what they needed to do and could get the ground running as soon as possible with minimal friction.

Hiring managers think like this as well.

  • They don’t want hopes — they want someone they can get the ground running ASAP.
  • Hiring costs time and money, so they try to get the perfect candidates who are fit for the role.
  • They don’t want disappointment or poor performance.

Thus, you should only apply to roles where you stand a chance of being shortlisted.

That is a role where you have relatable previous work experience or projects.

Don’t apply to roles because the job title fancies you and sells hopes to employers. You will most likely not make the shortlist.

Employers will make sure they hire the right person. They are putting money on the table and want to make sure they get quality services in return.


Closing Thoughts

Make it super easy for them to select you.

Applications are competitive, and employers only care about those who will be shortlisted for the next steps.

I know it’s unfair, but not everyone will make a final shortlist.

If you want to get on the shortlists, you have to make it easy for them to select you.

This starts with reading the instructions, applying early and thinking right ahead of the hiring manager.

Thank you for reading Career Digest from Banji Alo. This post is public so feel free to share it.


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Three Ways I Can Help You Advance Your Career

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Give The Hiring Manager A Call

Early this week, I chatted with a young professional who was job hunting. He told me he had applied for some roles that suited him and was awaiting a response.

He looked excited and expectant. I was happy for him and hoped he would get his desired results.

When the conversation was about to end, I asked whether he had given any of the hiring managers a call. I realised he hadn’t given any hiring managers a call before or after applying for the roles.

I wish he did.

A call to a recruiter has many hidden benefits.


Unlock Information

 

A call can help you get more information.

I have come across position descriptions that were not very clearly defined. In this case, a 10–20-minute telephone call to the hiring manager can give you an insider’s perspective about what they need for the role.

Such calls can also help you understand whether you are a true fit for the role.


Become Familiar With The Hiring Manager

Hiring managers shortlist and employ those they know.

A great way to kick off your job search journey is to call the hiring manager to quickly chat with them to familiarise yourself and speak with them directly.

This act not only helps you absorb information but will also help you familiarise yourself with the hiring manager and possibly the team.

Remember, hiring managers hire who they know. Therefore, I encourage you to use the contact details in the position description to your advantage.


Prepare For The Interview

 

Hiring managers will reveal their priorities to you when you get on a call with them. They will let you know why they are hiring for that role and the immediate responsibilities.

Once you have received the information, the next thing you want is to use this information to kickstart your preparation for the interview.


Final Summary

Giving a hiring manager a call can go a long way in understanding the organisation’s needs, establishing relationships, and preparing for the interview for your next role.

Do not see a contact number as mere digits. Use it to your advantage by ringing the hiring manager to advance your job search journey. This action will help them remember you during the shortlisting process and hopefully hit the interview list.

I wish you the best.


Video Of The Week

Here is the video I uploaded on YouTube this week.

Please watch, like, subscribe and share. It will help other professionals like you find it.

The More, The Merrier

Charles has just decided to go back into the market for another role.

He had been on a temporary contract across multiple employers in the last couple of years. He wanted something more stable, so he had to start looking into the market again.

The good news is that Charles is highly skilled and does not foresee any challenges with his job search. He knew he would be able to get an offer with ease.

Charles wasn’t wrong after all. After weeks of applications and interviews, he was swimming in job offers.


Having too many offers is not a problem

I love Charles’ problem. Having multiple job offers is a good problem to have.

Imagine the reverse was the case, and Charles had to run out of contract before finding a role. Or he only had one offer to choose from.

Contrary to your opinion, it’s a good problem when you have more than an offer. I understand that you might have trouble deciding which is the best for you, which might cause you a little bit of anxiety.

In the end, all you really must do is:


Decide what’s right for you

two women sitting on leather chairs in front of table
Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

Ultimately you will have to decide which one is right for you. This might mean the one that offers more flexibility or the one with more benefits. You’ve got to decide.

It was an easy decision when I was confronted with multiple offers a few years ago.

What did I do?

  • I made a list of things that were important to me.
  • I decided early.

Deciding early before getting confused when the offers come knocking is particularly helpful.


 

Always put yourself first

woman in black long sleeve shirt using macbook
Photo by Magnet.me on Unsplash

 

Whatever you do, you must put yourself first.

After all, if you don’t, who will? Certainly not the employers. Employers look after themselves by ensuring they hire the right person, so why not look after yourself by making sure you have made the right career decision?

Remember, it’s your responsibility to look after yourself and put yourself first.


Closing thoughts

Getting faced with multiple job offers can be confronting. However, this can be an opportunity to decide what’s right for you. It’s your job to look after yourself. If you don’t, no one will.

Thank you for reading Career Digest from Banji Alo. This post is public so feel free to share it.


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Before You Jump Ship

After I completed my postgraduate degree, I landed a role that I loved in data analytics. Everything was going well, and I had a great manager that was super helpful. It felt like a wonderland. I got the opportunity to work on exciting projects too!

What more could I ask for?

Anyway, after 4-5 months on the job, I got approached with an offer. It had a nice job title, and I Imagine it would pay much more than I was earning at my current job.

Oh Wow! Was my initial reaction? So, what’s next? Inform my boss I was leaving and jump ship immediately? While it sounded good, something in me felt like I wasn’t ready. I felt inadequate and unsettled.

I decided not to accept the offer and instead chose to focus on my current job

It was probably one of the best decisions of my career.

Here’s why.


Don’t Move Prematurely

man holding book on road during daytime
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

We are in a time where things move very fast at the speed of light. It happens with careers too. We want to become the CEO of a new company in the first year of our career. We want to be the best we can be and be at the top of our careers.

It’s actually not a terrible idea.

While this sounds good and what we should all want, in most cases, you can’t become the CEO overnight. It requires time, commitment, hard work and, most importantly, career capital.


Build Enough Capital

low-angle photography of man in the middle of buidligns
Photo by Razvan Chisu on Unsplash

Jumping from job to job without building career capital can hurt your career progress.

You might find yourself landing a new role and struggling a lot. This is mostly because you didn’t build enough skills, knowledge, confidence and motivation to help and prepare you for the task ahead. You didn’t build enough capital.

Yes, you can learn on the job, but not when you have to learn everything afresh. It’s a backwards step that might lead to frustration and exhaustion.

Successful professionals moving from one job to another have solid career capital. They know the rules of the game. They probably know 50-60% of the tasks involved in the new role.

They know what they need to focus on to keep growing. They plan their career and their learning and development plans such that they can settle into jobs without issues

Not building enough career capital can have its impacts too:

  • It might affect your career growth.
  • It can affect how much you can earn
  • It can affect your skills
  • It can affect your relationships with teammates and managers.
  • It can affect your self-confidence

Wrapping Up

woman sitting around table holding tablet
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

You want to be the CEO within the first 12 months at your first-ever job. Or perhaps you want to land three promotions in six months, whether in the same company or by moving to a new role.

These are nice, but sometimes quick moves aren’t the ones for you and your career. You want to ensure you build enough capital and confidence before moving.

Think critically about any new opportunity to see if it’s the right step.

Don’t jump too soon.

Thank you for reading Career Digest from Banji Alo. This post is public so feel free to share it with someone you care about.


Subscribe To My YouTube Channel

I developed this video using Videoscribe.

Please watch, like, subscribe and share.

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The Tools I Use (Highly Recommended)

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