Wednesday September 29 2010

Why applicants miss out on lucrative jobs

COMMON SENSE:  While applying for jobs, it is

COMMON SENSE: While applying for jobs, it is important to know whether you are overqualified or underqualified of a particular placement. 

You have probably applied for all sorts of positions, done interviews but sat for re-interviews, but still remain jobless. Mr Roland Kadooli, a resident in Mutungo, a city suburb applied for jobs until he almost thought he was an outcast before employers. For five years, he moved the streets of Kampala dropping his application at various offices. The few times he was shortlisted amounted to nothing; until he was recruited as a caterer in a prominent Mbale hotel. So why do people miss out on jobs?

Poor marketing: Many applicants fail to tell the story about themselves systematically during interviews. Despite their ability to deliver, they don’t know how to sell themselves before the interview panelists. “When interviewing candidates, we find candidates with good papers but failing to speak about themselves according to what the job requires,” says Mr Edgar Mbahamiza, the human resource and administration manager at Uganda Bureau of Statistics. Others don’t even know where to start when they are requested to talk about themselves.

According to Mr Stephen Jjingo, the director of marketing and membership development at Federation of Uganda Employers, inability to market oneself is one of the greatest challenges for job seekers. “When interviewing applicants, we find them telling you their names, age, marital status, schools attended, yet we’re looking for the specific elements that match up the position advertised,” he said. Job seekers must approach interviews like a political campaign if they are to convince the panelists that they are the best people for that position. Wrong positions: Some applicants are so ambitious that they apply for positions for which they lack the experience needed to execute tasks required. Recently, a hotel proprietor advertised for different positions and received a multitudes of applicants. Unfortunately, many of them were fresh graduates from university, applying for managerial positions for which they had no experience.

Sometimes, it might turn out that you’re either too qualified or less qualified. One who is overqualified needs a bigger package and salary benefits compared to one who is simply qualified for the job because the employer is likely to save.“When you’re too qualified, the employers are not sure if you’ll be ready to accept a lower pay than what you were earning at your previous job. If you’re less qualified, your application will be pushed aside during the selection process; making it easier for the recruiters.” For instance if you’re at director level and you applied for the job of a cook in a restaurant, you might not get through. If the job requires someone with a Masters Degree and you apply for it with a Diploma, chances are high that you’ll miss out on the job.

Poor presentation: How good is your body language? You must dress inappropriately for the job you’re vying for because you don’t know what attire fits where. “If you dress too smartly for the job of the mechanic, one may think you’re not hands-on; meaning you might not be experienced in that field,” Mr Mbahamiza says. Jjingo also recalls an interviewee who was wrongly attired. “There’s a time a candidate came for an interview dressed in very tight jeans with a tight shirt and a tie. Even though he had a first class degree, I could not shortlist him for the position of a liaison officer who interacts with high profile people,” he told Jobs And Career.

When it comes to conduct, the things that seem simple might get you in big trouble. “When you enter the interview room, do you assume and take a seat without an offer? Do you come in chewing in the name of reducing tension, yet it is not etiquette to do so?” Jjingo questions. Course of study: Job seekers who studied general arts would struggle to compete with graduates with professional qualifications.
It is important to pursue courses which match job requirements listed in the jobs sections of newspapers. Mbahamiza testifies that a course like Information Technology was a hotcake a decade ago but IT graduates are today flooding the streets.

Limited research:. Imagine going for a job interview without any knowledge about a company’s mission and what it does. There is no way you’ll convince the panelists beyond reasonable doubt that you’re the best candidate for a position. Mbahamiza advises that if you’re applying for a position with MTN, it’s important for you to study its competitors in terms of their strengths and weaknesses then cut out the niche. Most employers are looking for people who are problem solvers. “What gives you an advantage over others is when you start stipulating business in line with the employer’s company concerns,” Jjingo reveals.

Attitude: There is a tendency among First Class degree holders to think that their papers alone will speak for them. “It’s very prestigious to have a First Class degree, but can it assist you to shine among the many applicants?” Mbahamiza cautions. Ideally, such a candidate should be able to convince the panelists that if they fail to consider him or her, they’ll have missed something. Unless they see that, they’ll think you’re like any other applicant.

Poor career planning: Many job applicants apply for positions just for the sake of getting a job. Others just want easy work, yet they want huge salaries as well. It’s also unfortunate that many of them don’t know where they would want to be in the next five years.. Poor resume: Some people are fond of applying for different jobs with the same résumé; forgetting that each job has its specifics. This usually results from job seekers who think that they can do anything. Bad temper: Some people are provoked during interviews just to test their patience. If you fall prey to this, you’re likely to miss the job.

Applying for jobs where you’re never considered can be a nightmare unless you always look out for opportunities that demand your skills and endeavour to list them clearly in your resume. However, there are fewer jobs yet the number of people willing to work is higher than the available positions. You must be well prepared and smart.