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11 job search mistakes that can kill your chances

Sharon Florentine | Nov. 26, 2014
Even the most savvy job seekers can fall prey to a fatal error or two that can cost them their dream job. Our experts identify the top 10 mistakes and offer advice on how to avoid making them.

Mistake #9: Not Preparing Well Enough for Job Interviews
According to Myers, all job interviews are comprised of five basic elements: articulating your value, conveying your knowledge of the company, asking intelligent questions, negotiating compensation and following up.

Be sure to do extensive research on the company and the interviewer beforehand, as that can be one of the best ways to ensure you're the top candidate for the position, says Mitchell.

"When you're interviewing for that dream job, you need to be genuinely interested in the company and the interviewer. If it's a public company, you can research it online or through sites like Glassdoor and Indeed," Mitchell says.

Don't be afraid of small talk, either; making a personal connection can be a great way to gain an edge. "Find a common interest, even if it's just the fact that you're both huge fans of that company. If you know everything there is to know about the company, what their goals are, who their competition is, what their challenges are and how you can make a difference, it will show outwardly and you're more likely to be hired," says Mitchell.

Mistake #10: Not Knowing Your Market Value
You must research and assess your value in the marketplace before you attend a single interview otherwise your negotiating without understanding the data. "The time to talk money is when the employer has made it clear that you are their top candidate, and after they make an offer and knowing what your skills, knowledge and experience are worth can make negotiating less painful, " says Myers.

Tools like compensation benchmarking can help you decide what your market value is based on your technical skills, experience, and even geographic location, says Rebecca Bottorff, chief people officer at

Bottorff uses to do compensation benchmarking and planning to determine the value employees have to her business, and also evaluate how new knowledge and skills should be rewarded. "I have the tools to see how my workforce has matured, and I know I'm paying for the skillsets they actually have and have learned. My jobs can keep up with the value of the employee to the business, and by recognizing that they are becoming more valuable to the market and paying them accordingly, I can reduce the chance that they'll leave," says Bottorff.

Mistake #11: Not Asking for the Job
One of the biggest flubs job seekers make is in not asking for job, according to Gillis.

If you've managed to avoid the previous 10 pitfalls and made it through a round or two of interviews, you may think you've got it made. However, Gillis warns, "Don't forget - as much as you may think you've nailed an interview and that an offer is forthcoming, you need to assuage any lingering doubt in a hiring manager's mind. The last thing you need to do after an interview is stand up, shake your interviewer's hand firmly and state, 'Thank you so much for your time. I really want this job.' You must make that clear and firm, and oftentimes that has made the difference for my clients."


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