GNcareers, from Gulf News

How to make sure all the preparatory work pays off

How to make sure all the preparatory work pays offImage Credit: Supplied

It is surprising how people could fall into common pitfalls during a hiring process, putting themselves in an unfavourable position simply by appearing uninterested, lazy or careless.

At any interview, there are some steps that are expected as common courtesy, and overlooking these can single you out as an uninterested candidate, thus drastically undermining the odds of getting the job. How serious a particular hiring manager takes gestures such as sending a 'thank you' note after an in-person interview, being available on time, professional and prepared for a phone interview, etc is anyone's guess.

The one thing that you must be aware of is that you better err on the safe side and do at least what other moderately interested candidates typically do.

If you want to set yourself apart, however, do the following actions well. For example, when sending a 'thank you' note, take time to reiterate your interest, giving clear examples of why you still think that you are a good fit for the job. Every time some time and effort is showing that you really want the job, you set yourself apart.

Here are few small opportunities that should not be missed during any hiring process.

First contact

First impression matters. If you are job hunting, try as much as possible not to ignore your emails for days or send not well-thought out replies while driving or in the shower. Keep some notes on the jobs applied for, so that if an employer calls unexpectedly you have some idea about whom you are talking with and about which job.

Most important, if unprepared to make a proper impression, avoid answering the phone or rushing to replying to an email until ready. Balance your responsiveness with quality. For example, sending an “OK” in response to a job interview invitation is borderline disrespectful.

In-person interview

You know it is critical, but the associated stress in itself can impact your ability to handle it. You may try to make up by being chatty, funny, etc. All of these strategies can backfire. What you really need to do is to stay professional and have a plan for the kind of impression you want to make.

In short, walk into the interview with an agenda. Be interested in the job, having a good reason for wanting to switch such as priorities that could include the family, professional advancement, etc. The more the thoughts are organised before the interview, the more likely you will remember to hit all the important points.

That doesn't mean you should have a script written down for every question or move. Instead, just be sure that these answers are clear in your mind.

What many people do wrong is to go to an interview and improvise. Doing so typically leaves hiring managers guessing whether you are just unorganised, uninterested or unable to answer questions appropriately.

After the fact

Whether offered the job or not, your reaction matters. If the job is offered and you don't show some gratitude and excitement, the hiring manager may take it as a lack of interest, dissatisfaction with the package or some other negative explanation. Again, this is an easy opportunity where a little bit of enthusiasm can go a long way in validating the hiring manager's decision.

In addition, you don't have the job until you've it. So even if you have an offer in hand, you still need to make sure that it remains on the table through the negotiation phase and later through the probation.

If you don't get the job, a 'thank you' note can keep the door open. For anyone who has been in business long enough, it is a small world and you never know when you will cross paths with the same people and companies, So don't close all doors or burn bridges even when one opportunity is lost.

Learn how not to be mistaken as over-qualified

Source: Rania Oteify, Special to

The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor