CAREER TIPS: Why the qualified may not be hired

Tuesday November 5 2019


By Elizabeth Tungaraza

With the best CV, skills and experience, it is possible to miss an opportunity to be hired. Not because the hiring person or organisation is biased against you or has been bribed, but it could be your making. Below, experts share pit falls that could stand in your way to being hired.

Attitude: Past your CV, one of the things one may not be able to hide is their attitude. Sharon Okurut, a human resource consultant, shares that during a job interview, one of the things employers look at is one’s attitude.

“Some people like to come off as all knowing, adding a touch of pride and arrogance in the mix during interviews. This attitude doesn’t usually help, though some think they are being impressive.

In addition, avoid talking negatively about your former employer, workplace or colleagues, it doesn’t put you in good books,” she shares, adding that the truth is always in the middle. Be confident enough, at the same time not being arrogant.

Additionally, do not be too talkative, especially if you are the talkative type because you may say things that are not relevant to the interview, or be a turn off for your potential employer.

Mind your social media: Okurut cautions that one’s social media platforms ought to be thought through.


“We are in an era where many people are on social media and employers do background search on their potential employees using social media.

Ultimately, the things you post in form of videos, photos among others have a lot to say about you and your personality. I know a person who had the qualifications for the job but he was not hired because almost all photos on his Facebook page were either taken with him in a bar, smoking shisha or in a club drinking with friends,” she says.

So, whether Facebook, Instagram, Twitter among others, think twice about what you post for the public, because the public may include your potential employer.

Do your homework: Ronald Sekitto, a human resource manager at Inspire ICT Consultants, emphasises that beyond tailoring your application and CV to the job you are applying for, do your research.

“Research about the organisation or company that you want to hire you, know a few facts and people who matter in the organisation. If possible, know the statistics so that you put up a knowledgeable conversation, not to mention having answers to questions you may be asked,” he notes.

Beyond the employer, understand what is happening in the industry you are in, know the current affairs and changes, if any.

“Asking the person who is hiring you to tell you the basics about the organisation you want to join is stepping on your own toes, and may make you miss the job, even if you qualify,” Sekitto says.

Appearance matters: As long as you are going for a job interview, putting effort in the way you look is important. “Don’t go in shabby and expect to be taken in because you have all the qualifications. Depending on the job and profession, put effort in good grooming, but be careful not to overdo it,” Edward Mulangira, the human resource manager at Pearl of Africa Restaurant, advises.

He adds that one ought to mind about the way they smell, their breath, but also desist from using strong perfumes or colognes.

Soft skills: Someone may have the qualifications but a lack of simple soft skills can be a pitfall for you to miss the opportunity. Be confident, speak up when required, be courteous in your interaction with your potential employers and don’t be timid. Being rude in the process can make you lose the chance,” Mulangira says, adding that again, either in writing or in person, avoid begging and pleading to be taken in. “This will make you come off as desperate and not a lot of employers want such a person. Even if you desperately need the job, just be polite and truthful without appearing desperate.”

Other concerns: Deogratius Ssebulime, the CEO of Young Minds Initiative, re-echoes that it is possible not to be hired though you may be the best applicant. “Some applicants have unrealistic salary expectations and demands which may make the employer differ and take the next person. To avoid this, research about the salary structures in the company so that you bargain within the brackets. Alternatively, be willing to adjust your price tag while striking a bargain with employer,” he shares.

Sometimes, it is not because you have done anything wrong, Ssebulime says, but the employer is also human and may have biases to some level.