Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Why Can't I Get Hired?

For any job coach or career specialist, a common question heard is "Why can't I get hired?"

Sometimes the reason(s) is obvious. Other times it is truly a matter of time and chance as well as geographical location.

a) The lack of experience: This is a crucial reason why many individuals are not landing the job. If you have no experience in a said skill or job setting, why would you get hired doing something you have no idea how to do? Solution: Get retrained at a community college, do an internship, or do some volunteer work in this field to get experience.

b) Personality: While companies will never admit this as they would get sued, personality can be a hindrance to getting hired. Are you shy? You can come across as distant and uninvolved. Are you outgoing? You can come across as aggressive and too pushy. And then there is every variable between these two. Solution: Smile when you are interviewed. Maintain eye contact but don't stare. Move gently and only as necessary in your chair during the interview. Maintain a good volume and tone of voice throughout the questioning speaking not too loudly or quickly.

c) Overqualified: Many professionals are willing to do any job if unemployed but they are passed over for manual labor jobs and told they are overqualified. This seems almost like a prejudice. You spend your whole life being a super achiever and then no one will hire you because you look too good on paper. Solution: If you are in need of a temporary job go through a temp company like Manpower. Create different kinds of resumes including the one I call "generic". This is to be used for emergency employment purposes only. Here you only list the simplest achievements of your life including JUST the high school you graduated from. 9 times out of 10 they won't ask if you went to college if it isn't on your resume. This is really good if applying for a position in a factory, restaurant, or grocery store. If asked, don't lie about your experience but there is no rule that says you have to put everything on a resume. Create different resumes for different potential kinds of jobs.

d) A Lack of References: Having professional references (uh...not friends pretending to be business references) is essential for professional hiring and success. They can be from managers, clients, or professors. Solution: If you don't have any, go volunteer at a nonprofit for eight weeks and then ask the supervisor or manager directly working with you for a reference. Don't forget to brainstorm about everyone you know from previous jobs that can vouch for your skill set and experience. References should be less than three years old to describe who you are today. They also should be from the vocational sector that you are trying to get hired in.

e) Attitude: Having a bad attitude can be the reason for not getting hired more often than most people realize. A bad attitude could be anything from being disrespectful, sexist, egotistical, selfish, or just plain uncaring. Personal reflection is the first step in improving how we come off to other people. And in job coaching, this is one of the first areas we deal with. Most of the time I have found personal attitudes are the primary issue with people not getting hired. Solution: Start getting feedback from your family and friends about how you come across to others.  Go to an anger management class. Learn to meditate. Take a class in interpersonal communications. Stay on your medication (if you are dealing with a chemical or emotional disorder). Self-reflective and always be aware of your breathing and stay focused on the task or conversation at hand.

f) Prejudice or racism: Racism and prejudice still exist in America in the 21st century. However, you need to know your market and the company you are applying for. If you are a liberal flamboyant homosexual, do you think any traditional church would even consider hiring you for their office? It simply isn't a match. Or how about a born again Christian applying to work for Michael Moore? Sorry, it just isn't happening!  Choose companies that align well with your personal philosophy (this includes spiritual and political beliefs). Sadly, higher education in America is extremely left politically oriented so if you happen to be a conservative, you need to learn how to deal with this environment until the pendulum swings back more toward the middle. Be aware that what you post on public forums can be searched. People can quickly find out both your moral and value system by just looking at your Facebook account. While Civil Right laws protect minorities and every sexual orientation on the planet, they do little to protect individuals from mainstream or those with Christian or traditional values. Solution: Do your research and know the company you are applying with. Sexism is another matter. If any man even looks at a woman the wrong way, she can practically sue her way to riches. I think everyone will be happier if a person migrates toward a company that shares his or her ideals and beliefs. We can't change each other so everyone should just stay in their own neck of the philosophical woods!

g) Personal hygiene and health: As many companies become increasingly health conscious, those with certain problems and smokers may find themselves having a harder time finding employment. While it is virtually impossible to prove why you were not hired for a job, it has been scientifically documented that companies tend to go with candidates they find attractive and socially appealing (like the one with the friendlier personality even if their core skill set were practically identical). Solution: We can't all become young super models, but we can all go great lengths to improve our appearance including the style and clothes we wear to interviews as well as grooming and related choices. Smokers should seriously consider just stopping. The reason for this is that even if a potential employer doesn't see that person smoke, they can smell it on their person. Smoke reeks! Non-smokers find the smell of smokers clothing to be absolutely repulsive. It follows the smoker wherever he or she goes. It even stays in an elevator or staircase long after the smoker has passed through there. Smoking casts people in a bad light. It says things about them that they may not want people to think.

Self-evaluation and constant self-development can truly help anybody to become a more attractive hire!

And sometimes a person simply has no idea how to interview for a position. The more complex and competitive the position, the more stringent and detailed is the interview process. Sometimes professional interview coaching can make a difference.