The job search in Singapore: Reasons why you didn’t get the job

As you power through in the never-ending job hunt, searching for something new to start 2019 with, you’ll know that rejection is a likely outcome sometimes. Hopefully not all the time if you have tons of valuable experience and energy to offer. But the job search in Singapore – and anywhere else – has its ups and downs, no matter what industry you’re in.

The job search in Singapore: Why didn’t you get the job?

We managed to speak to a couple of companies both in Singapore and abroad. Here are a few reasons why you didn’t get the job, and how you can do better as you push on in your job search in Singapore.

  1. Your motivation for applying

Ying Cong, CTO of Glints, shared his thoughts on this candidate trait he found most unfavourable:

“Some red flags for applicants is their source of motivation for joining us. Sure, salaries and job title do matter, but if they’re the primary drivers, my alarm bells go off immediately.”

Erica Lindberg, GitLab’s Content Marketing Manager, also added, “The biggest red flag for me … is if the candidate’s only reason for applying for the position is for the opportunity to work remotely.”

Let’s face the facts: employers want to hire candidates who are genuine about the job role, not about how much money they’re going to make. If money is your only motivation for applying to a job, it might signal to a potential employer that you won’t put in as much effort into delivering work. If your motivation is ultimately surface-level, failing to align with the vision of the company, you’re losing out to other more passionate and genuine candidates.

Employers would much rather interview someone else who can promise great performance and dedication to the job. However, Erica mentioned that GitLab would never turn away candidates unfamiliar to remote work:

“When interviewing for a remote role, I do place more emphasis on understanding the candidates work style and time management skills, but would not reject a candidate if they admitted they were nervous or apprehensive about working remotely because for many people, it’s a very new way of working.”

Even if you’re completely new a company’s work style or your job scope, nervousness can always be curbed in time with enough training and guidance. It’s all about your motivation, and what you really want from the job you’re applying for.

What you can do: Pick your job applications carefully during your job search in Singapore. Only apply if it’s something you really want to explore or do. If you apply for a job you don’t like just for the money, your personal enjoyment will eventually taper off into resentment or dislike. To figure out how to plan your career well, check out this article.

  1. Lack of research

Erica had this to say about candidates who didn’t do their homework before the interview, and the lack of culture fit (in remote work settings):

“The reasons why I would reject a candidate are not very different when hiring for a remote work position … [like] when it’s obvious the candidate didn’t do any research on the company beforehand.”

Just like how it’s easy for anyone to suss out if you’re contacting them out of need rather than a real desire to catch up with them, it might be painfully obvious if you go into an interview without really knowing who you’re going to work for. It’s going to come across as insincere and superficial, and no employer is going to hire a candidate who hasn’t done their due diligence.

What you can do: Just do your research! A quick Google search will turn up lots of information on the company you’re applying for (unless they’re a shiny new startup or a newly-formed company). Just reading the job posting is not enough.

Here are some things you should take note of when doing background research, so you don’t end up embarrassing yourself in the interview room:

  • The company’s business model, concept, or main products
  • Past news coverage on the company, if any, regarding their achievements or goals
  • Understanding the motivation behind the main business model/product and how it impacts people
  • Being very clear on the job role offered, and why they could possibly need a new hire here
  1. Your resume fell through the cracks in Application Tracking Systems (ATS)

Failing to optimise your resume could be another reason why you never heard back from a few employers after sending in a really kickass application.

The job search in Singapore is highly competitive due to an oversaturation of undergraduates in the market, so if you’re applying for jobs for the first time, you need to come prepared. Beating the crowd might seem impossible, but not if you write and craft a resume filled with industry keywords – and write it well.

What do we mean by industry keywords? Check out our article on optimising resumes here.

Why is this important? Well, most application tracking systems (ATS) work like a search engine that’s built on SEO ratings. For example, the better the SEO rating of a particular website, the more likely it’s going to appear on the first page of Google when you run a quick search. Similarly, an ATS works to pick up the most relevant resumes filled with specific keywords an employer is looking for. If you want to win, you need to know how to get on the radar!

What you can do: Refer to the above article on optimising resumes and start editing your own today. Refer to the old job posting you looked at and identify the keywords from there. For your next few job applications, be sure to optimise and tailor your resume accordingly!

  1. You didn’t ask thoughtful questions during the interview

Not coming prepared to interviews includes having no questions at all to ask employers at the end of your session with them. But why is this so important aside from answering interview questions?

This last segment of any job interview allows you a chance to really shine and show people how much research you’ve done prior to walking through their doors. It’s the best time to show your thoughtfulness and insight into the company or even the greater industry.

If you walk away from the interview with no questions at all, it might indicate that you’re not quite as invested as you say you are. I personally enjoy asking hiring managers and interviewers questions about their company, especially when it comes to growth, vision, and adapting to changes in the future (if I’ve heard of or read up on shifting industry trends).

The two-way dialogue can prove to be more eye-opening than simply peeking into their quiet office environment. You’ll learn more, and your potential employer will learn more about you too.

What you can do: It goes back to point 2, where you have to do your research! Don’t go in unprepared, take the job seriously, and bring your most thought-provoking questions, whether it’s industry-related or all about ethics. It shows the depth of your intelligence, and your ability to carry a conversation relevant to the company.

  1. There was no follow-up post-interview from the candidate

This might not be the biggest reason why you failed to get that job, but it’s always better to cover all your bases than ignore a few.

A follow-up thank you email is not only a great reflection of your character and attitude, but it also allows you the chance to emphasise once again your enthusiasm and genuine interest in the job.

Employers who receive follow-up emails will more than likely remember you in a favourable light. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so get to writing those awesome thank you emails as you carry on with the job search in Singapore!

What you can do: Craft quick, sweet thank you emails for your potential employers. Check out our article on thank you emails here!

If you’re feeling sour about not hearing back from that one employer whose job position you really wanted, don’t give up hope. There’s still time to turn things around – especially with the knowledge on why employers turn candidates away. In the next phase of your job search in Singapore, work doubly hard to make sure you don’t fall into any of these categories, and start working on impressing the heck out of your employers!

If you’re still in the midst of your job search in Singapore, hop on our platform and explore thousands of job opportunities today.

Sophia Lee

I used to freelance exclusively for Glints - now I'm a content marketing intern working furiously in the backdrop. Talk to me about writing any time! (Or we could have a serious discussion about video games and e-sports... that's cool too.) Find me on Instagram (@pxtrx)!

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