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  • Writer's pictureSeán Carter

Why Didn't You Get Shortlisted?

It can be disappointing when you do not get the position you applied for and often people just assume that someone else was better qualified, but it is important to assess your application and/or interview for some common pitfalls.

At Cranmore, we are experts in executive recruitment and have compiled a list of some of the mistakes you can avoid in your search for a new role:

1. You’re Underqualified.

Maybe you have seen the perfect job for you but it requires 5 years of experience and you only have 3, or it has a great salary that you would love to earn now and not in another 2 years. There is no point exaggerating your experience or applying for something out of your league in the hope they might make an exception. When applying for a job you need to sell yourself on your CV but be realistic and do not be tempted to lie as you will be found out pretty quickly. You do not have to have every single quality as described in the job advert, but you should aim to have at least 90% of them.

2. You’re Over Qualified.

It may seem strange that a company would reject an overqualified candidate, but a recruiter will want you to thrive in your role and not be bored. You are perfectly entitled to be a professor of astrophysics and be applying to a job in a call centre, but it will look strange on your CV so make sure you outline clearly in your cover letter as to why you are applying for that role.

3. You Don’t Have a Cover Letter.

Not all applications require a cover letter, but if it is asked for and you don’t provide it then you are putting yourself out of the running straight away. The cover letter is a great way to highlight why you are a great match for that particular position without having to change your CV for each role. You can discuss in the cover letter why you would be a strong candidate for the role and how you meet the job criteria.

4. You didn’t Proofread.

When a company has a lot of applicants, a common way to whittle down the contenders is to check their spelling and grammar. Poor proofreading looks like you have not taken due care and attention over your application and will give the impression that you cut corners or do not put in enough effort. Most word processing packages have an inbuilt spelling and grammar checker, but it is also worth getting someone to check your application also.

5. You Do Not Stay in Jobs Very Long.

If you have only stayed at jobs for a few months before leaving then you will need to have a good reason as to why. A company will not want to take someone on who they will train up and invest money in if they are just going to leave after a short period of time. Career progression is a common reason for moving jobs, but you should really be in a job for 18 months at least before you look to move on.

6. Salary Expectations.

Many applications will ask you to cite your salary expectations. This can be tricky as everyone will want to ask for more money, but if the role pays around £30,000 and you ask for £55,000 then you are likely to be rejected. Equally, if your last salary was £55k and you are applying to a role that is going to pay a lot less, then the recruiter may assume you will not take the pay cut. Again, these details can all be explained in the cover letter.

7. Your First Impression at Interview Was Poor

If you were late for the interview or dressed inappropriately then these are hard things for the interviewer to forget. During the interview, you need to make sure that your phone is off and that you ignore any calls, texts or emails that may come through. Interviews can be nerve-racking but if you are overly confident, disinterested, or appear incredibly nervous then these can be off-putting personality traits. You should try and prepare answers for the interview as drawing a blank or not giving enough detail will definitely go against you, as will not knowing enough about the role and company you are applying to. Make sure you also have a diplomatic reason for leaving your current position, and never bad mouth your last company.

In conclusion, avoiding common pitfalls in job applications and interviews is crucial. Assess your qualifications honestly, provide a well-crafted cover letter, proofread your application, demonstrate job stability, align salary expectations, and make a positive first impression during interviews. By addressing these areas, you can greatly enhance your chances of securing the desired position. Competition for roles can be fierce, but for professional help and advice in finding a new role, or to locate a great candidate, contact Cranmore today.​


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