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Homing in on the small hurdles and overcoming them

Homing in on the small hurdles and overcoming themImage Credit: Supplied

Active jobseekers may notice that they often fail the hiring process at a particular point — anywhere between the initial screening to the final interview. When job applications are consistently rejected at the same point in the process, the question is, What mistakes are leading to this recurring scenario?

Although any job search may involve many mishaps, identifying the most common ones can help detect your points of weakness and work on fixing them. One can even pinpoint the problem more closely if you get feedback from employers who have rejected the application and match this with your concerns.

The purpose of this exercise is to improve your job hunting skills and bring more focus to the search — both are good not only in scoring a job but in getting a job that fits best. To do so, look closely at the following points:

Common scenarios

What is the highlight of your job search? Some may feel their applications end up in a black hole. Others are familiar with phone interviews that don't lead to any further action. Or there is also the in-person interview that appears to have gone great only to be followed by a typical rejection email.

Your scenario may turn out to be an easy one to fix. For example, if you typically don't hear back after an in-person interview, probably you didn't have problems with the earlier stages and all you need to do is to polish the interview skills.

If you can narrow down the most common scenario, you are more likely to work on it. For example, you may decide that your demeanour over the phone is less-than-impressive, or your resume and applications are typically sloppy.

Try to find the exact problem. For example, if you never hear back from employers, go through past applications thoroughly. You may find either that your applications missed a critical element, sounding generic and uninterested, or poorly complied. Another problem could be you are applying for the wrong jobs — higher or lower than your ideal position, for example.

While it remains hard to link a particular cause to the result, the exercise will help improve on your applications and ob-search skills, which eventually should pay off with a decent placement.

Get feedback

It is sometimes hard to guess why an application was turned down. Because your goal is to polish your skills and get a better result in the future rather than lament lost opportunities, seek feedback from the employer. Be positive and constructive when requesting the feedback.

For example ask what you can avoid or change in future job applications, or ask how you can improve your skills to fit in for a similar job. By doing so, an employer may be more willing to work with you than if you push for reasons why the application was rejected.

If you get feedback, combine it with your observations and plan how to tackle it seriously. Some feedback may sound unfair or untrue — and it may indeed be the case — but don't be tempted to overlook it. Instead, keep it at the back of your mind and see if you can catch yourself lacking in those areas. If it turns out that the feedback is completely off-base, shrug it off and continue your process.

Apply new tactics

You won't know if implementing a particular change in the application or interviewing process is effective or not until you try. So don't delay while considering alternatives. If you see something that might be a problem, try to fix it immediately.

Only by doing so, you will be able to know if the efforts are paying off or not. Many people overlook small details and think they can't be the reason for rejection. However, if you consistently see a negative result after a particular event, it may not be little after all.

Find out what to do before sending your job application

Source: Rania Oteify, Special to

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