Are You Giving Signs You Are A Desperate Job Seeker?
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By Perminus Wainaina
How is your job search so far this year? If you are not yet successful at getting employed, it could be because you are coming out as a desperate job-seeker. I see it a lot with candidates and desperation does not discriminate whether you’re an entry or skilled professional. Majority of the candidates I interact with have no clue that they are sending off desperate vibes while for some they have an erroneous belief that desperation will get them faster results.
Desperation is not a good thing in life and people generally want to stay far away from those who try very hard to impress. At the back of our minds we always wonder what in it for this individual who’s trying too much regardless of their good intentions. Don’t scare potential employers or allow yourself to be taken advantage by being desperate.
Here are ways you’re behaving as a desperate job seeker and making things harder for yourself.
1. Applying For Every Job. Every day you log on jobsites and apply for any kind of job. You take little or no time to consider whether you meet the requirements. It does not matter if the job is in your area of specialization. You always believe that given a chance, you can perform the job ignoring the fact that you neither have the training nor the skills. For you quantity is important than quality and you make over 10 job applications in a day. You don’t take time to edit your CV to match the advertiser’s requirements. You don’t invest in show casing your skills and expertise relevant to the advert. You’re an accountant but since you’re not getting an accounting job, you want to try admin or sales job.
2. Accepting any Job. Times are hard but that does not mean accepting any job. You are a trained engineer but you will gladly apply for a sales role and accept a low pay. Your last job paid over 150k but you are now willing to settle for less than 100K. You are a desperate job seeker when you are willing to settle for any type of job or offer.
3. Failure to negotiate Salary. You’ve finally managed to get an interview and here you are negotiating a salary. Instead of being confident and naming your price, you start by saying that you like them very much and can work with their budget. You have not done your homework to know the kind of salary candidates with your level of skills and experience command in the market. You are not ready to negotiate on other benefits due to fear of losing out.
You accept the first offer from an employer without a word even when the employer’s budget allowed for negotiation. The fact that many had applied, were interviewed but did not reach the salary stage is a proof enough that you have something to offer in return and you should negotiate. Desperate candidates consider themselves lucky in reaching the salary stage forgetting that businesses don’t operate in the fantasy world of luck. You owe that interview with an employer to your skills and experience so be confident and ask what you are truly worth. Here is a video explaining how to handle the salary question in an interview.
4. Being too eager to join. When can you join us is a common interview question and most desperate candidates will say immediately. Even though your CV shows that you are in a permanent job and will need a months’ notice. A desperate candidate will try and convince an interviewer of their availability within the shortest time period. And that’s a bad sign because of two reasons. First, your answer is evidence enough that you don’t honor agreements and will do the same with the new company.
And secondly, that you are so desperate to leave and will do so at the earliest opportunity. No matter how bad things are, indicate that you will need notice. And if they really want you, mention that you have unutilized leave days that you can negotiate with current employer. Ultimately you want to show an employer that you are an honorable person who wants to ensure a smooth handover and that you are not being chased away from your current job.
5. Lastly, it is a sign of desperation when you say yes to everything in the JD or contract even when you have a burning concern. When officiating Christian marriages, pastors always request those in attendance to speak their mind or forever hold their peace! Before you sign on the dotted line it is important to seek clarification if something is not clear. Contracts and Job descriptions are legally binding documents and if you are not careful can come back to haunt you.
A common complaint with many Ghanaian professionals is that when they join an employer there’s always a promise of salary review after probation. Unfortunately some companies and SME’s are notorious for this; they do not review salaries after probation period. But since it was not put in writing the probability of you suing is nil as there’s no evidence. If an employer wants you on board, have everything in writing. Do not accept verbal agreements.
When it comes to job search, always believe that you have something valuable to offer. You’ve been trained, you have experience and you are unique. Do not be desperate.
Perminus Wainaina is the Managing Partner & Head of Recruitment at Corporate Staffing Services Ltd.