Hitting a wall: Five reasons you’re not scoring an interview

The ribit crew has seen a plethora of job applications – more than 3,700 in 18 months! While we stay out of the actual recruitment process, we often review submissions in order to better understand how students and businesses use our service.

Some applications make us sigh out a contented  “Yaaassss” because we immediately get the student’s strengths and skills, where they’re developing expertise and their experiences.

Others require a little more work.

The recruitment process helps students and companies to decide if there’s potential to develop professional feels. Communicate your enthusiasm by steering away from the following application black holes:

Ignoring the interview question

This feature was included to help students give themselves the edge by tailoring their applications specifically for a role. Offering no response smacks of a general disinterest and effort, which will in turn is very likely to be reciprocated by the employer.

Only addressing YOUR needs

Enthusiasm is a two way street. It’s good to describe why the job suits your interests and career development, it shouldn’t stop there.

Many students talk about why the job will be great for them, but not why they will be great for the potential employer. Ensure whoever is reading your application knows you’re worth it, for instance:

“I’m excited about building a marketing career and the opportunity to develop social media strategies for your company is similar to work I’ve done with a local charity. In this volunteer role, I developed a media calendar and created messaging which promoted their major fundraising drives….”


“I participated in a robotics competition where I worked as part of a team to build a self-driving car. We used computer vision to interface with hardware including a camera, servos and motors to drive the car around a marked loop. I’ve developed a strong interest in electronics and automation, which can be applied to the challenge facing your company….”

Great statements, no proof

We see a lot of generic statements such as “my skills and experience are perfect for your project”. All good stuff, but why are you a perfect fit?

What are examples of your skills and experiences?  How did you develop them? Where do they slot within the project?

It’s essential to provide these examples to boost your application’s credibility.

Lack of research

Some candidates give off the vibe that they don’t know anything about the company besides its name.

Hop on to ye olde Google and take a few minutes to learn about the employer. Even one or two lines which show you’ve taken note of their brand, product/s, projects or recent news can underpin a smart and thoughtful application.

Spelling and grammar mistakes

Yep, that old self-sabotaging chestnut. Easily happens to all of us but can be mitigated by:

  • Taking a 15 minute break and reading through your application.
  • Printing out before reviewing (much, much easier to find mistakes than reading off a screen).
  • Forwarding to a friend for their review.