STRATEGIES ! is a consulting firm specialized in Leadership and Management.  We have facilitated recruitment for various structures such as development organizations, multinational companies, small and medium-sized firms.

During a recruitment process, applicants are assessed at three different levels:  The response to the job ad, the test(s) and the job interview. STRATEGIES ! has identified key mistakes you must avoid when applying for a job.

I-                    WHEN RESPONDING TO A JOB AD

In the first stage of the selection process which consists of sending your applications, the recruiter checks that the application complies with the terms of reference or job specification.

                   1-      CV not tailored to the appropriate profile

Some applicants tend to send a CV that does not link their experiences to the job description. Your CV should bring out the experiences and competencies related to the recruiter’s expectations.

                2-      The absence or incompleteness of the documents requested in the call for candidatures

Traditionally, the first selection step consist of studying documents such as the cover letter and the CV. Before applying, you must carefully read the call for candidatures in order to send the specified documents.

                   3-      Unclear mail subject

For a given job, the recruiter receives hundreds of candidatures per day. So, to categorize the mails, instead of having to analyze every single mail in detail, he may just refer to its subject. In order for your application to draw his attention, the subject of your mail must clearly specify the job for which you are applying. For example, in the subject line, do not write « My application » but « Application for the post of Accounting Officer”.

                    4-      Unclear title of the documents sent by email

If you wish to differentiate yourself from the other applicants, it is necessary to send documents whose titles specify their nature, your name and the position you are applying for. For example, if the company is hiring a secretary, the word/pdf document of your CV can be titled « CV_*NameOfTheApplicant*_Secretary”.


At this stage, the recruiter evaluates your analytical skills, your basic knowledge in the area concerned, your ability to work as part of a team and your organizational aptitude.

                    1-      Being off the subject

In order to avoid getting off the subject, take the necessary time to understand and analyze the questions.

2-      Using slang language

During the written test, you are assessed on the type of language you use while answering the questions. To pass the test, you must use common and formal language, appropriate to your area of expertise.

3-      Approximate responses to the test questions

The answers given to the test questions must be clear, precise and concise. They are proof of your skills in analysis and synthesis.


During a job interview, the recruiter assesses your knowledge, your skills and your attitude. He checks if the information on your CV matches the explanations you provide. The recruiter also evaluates your adaptability to the organization’s environment and he questions your motivations.

1-      Lack of knowledge about the recruiting organization

Knowing the organization you want to join shows the interest you have in it. Before the interview, you must do a research about its vision, the activities it undertake, its areas of expertise etc.

2-      Disrespectful attitude / less concern for physical posture

Beyond the content of the answers you provide during the interview, the recruiter takes your attitude and your body language into account. This is the reason why the attitude must reflect professionalism and self-confidence. For example, do not ask questions to the recruiter if he does not give you the permission to.

3-      Negativity on your past professional experiences

Applicants often tend to paint a bad picture of their past employers. The recruiter seeks for the person who has a positive mind.

4-      Use of slang language

It is imperative to express yourself properly during a job interview. The applicant must show his professionalism by using a proper language.