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7 Habits of highly successful job applicants

Have you ever wondered why some people always get hired and others don’t? Here are 7 simple habits that make the difference for some people.

They are ambitious

“I want to work in the oil and gas industry,” “Me, I want to work in Shell,” “I want Chevron”.

Have you heard your friends say that before? When I hear someone speak like that I sense that they are expressing a rather deeper human emotion/sentiment which is ambition. Such people see themselves as deserving the best of employment and believe that they are capable of achieving it. These people give out the message that they can really be good at what they intend to do.

One big issue in our society is that some people have inferiority complex issues. And it shows in everything that they do and it shows in every speech they make. People like that can easily settle for jobs with really low working conditions. There is nothing wrong in accepting a lower earning work but if accepting a lower earning job is a result of inferiority complex – the feeling that other people are better than you and that you don’t deserve the best – then it is a problem. It is important to know that you deserve the best job possible; and you should go for it. Whatever your complexes, recruiters will always see through it; and it could cost you a good opportunity. 

They are courageous

Courage is the ability to go after your dreams or what you desire – especially when the situation says otherwise. Some people desire a great job, but then lack the courage to go after it.

Those who are highly successful in job search are never afraid to knock on the doors of the “big companies” that they would love to work for, requesting for a job. Successful people are fearless.

So if you want a great job, face your fears (which are often expressed as ‘lack of connections, lack of experience’ etc.). If you desire a great job, then don’t let anything hold you back. 

They are committed

The most successful job applicants, having shown that they are ambitious and courageous, often tend to be very committed to their duties at work (if hired) and thereby get recognised. Such recognition may even lead to more assignments or promotions.

Committed employees believe highly in themselves, in their employers, customers and of course in their products. Such commitments are evident for all to see. The thing is they display such commitment even before they got the job…that’s how they got the job in the first place.

There is one truth that you ought to know about life, already, folks who are not committed to anything end up living or leading empty lives. And at the office, they often end up getting fired first. 

They show up prepared and smart

Have you ever seen someone show up at an interview yet know nothing about the job that they are applying for, or who the interviewer is, or even anything tangible about the company that they are applying to? I have heard about and seen a few people like that. Needless to say that such people often don’t get hired.

When applying for a job, successful applicants are in the habit of going through every possible detail in advance – many times over. This is something that the average or dull applicant thinks is too much work and is unwilling to do.

Before you ever show up to an interview, even before you ever send out an application for a job, do your homework well. Know everything that you ought to know about the position or company. Successful people don’t leave anything to chance. 

They continue to learn and get better

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There are people who believe that learning ends with their final semester examination. Successful people think differently; they believe that once you stop learning or upgrading your knowledge base, when you stop getting better, you start declining or getting worse and allow others to get ahead of you in life.


Learning is a continuous process that never stops as long as you are breathing. Successful people never stop learning. 

They are focused

“Hiring people for Goly in Nigeria, one of the candidates was playing with her phone during the interview and she even had the guts to tell that she’s listening, only that she’s multitasking. Is this the culture we encourage in Nigeria…?” wrote Oladimeji Joseph Fakayode on the Silicon Africa group timeline on Facebook, on Tuesday 28th October 2015.

There are certain parameters a recruiter will judge you on whether you are the right fit for their organization or not, and one of such parameters is whether you have ‘focus-ability’. That is your ability to stay focused or pay attention.

Playing with your phone or displaying any other sign of distraction during an interview or when meeting with your boss, is a sign of disrespect for their time and shows unseriousness. It shows you cannot give 100% of your time or attention to company business if hired.

This again brings us to the point discussed above, ‘show up prepared’. Anything else is clear indiscipline. 

They are responsible. They are entrepreneurial.


You see erh, the most successful job applicants in Nigeria are often entrepreneurial in nature. Let me explain.

When recruiters call for applications there is something that they are looking for in the potential employees; some of which could be: are you a self-starter, can you integrate in a team, can you work with or without supervision, are you responsible? Why are recruiters interested in these answers? Because once you are hired you will represent the company in and outside the office. They want to know if they can trust or depend on you.

There is a fundamental mind-set that every successful applicant has – if you must do a great job that deserves recognition/commendation you must do your job as if you are working for yourself.

You don’t have to own the company – yet you are the CEO of your small cubicle or table at the office. No matter who your employer is, Shell, the government, or church, you are actually working or going to be working for yourself.


The biggest mistake that you can ever make is to think that you are working for someone else. That is the kind of mind-set that makes people steal from their employers. You may change work and change bosses at work, but there is one thing that still remains constant – YOU! You are the constant.


Therefore how you think, how you treat one employer will determine what happens with the next one. This is why I believe that sometimes the solution to your job issues is not your employer, and changing work may not bring the desired peace or fulfillment that you may crave.


Learn to see every work that you do as if you are working for yourself. No matter how you look at it, you remain the CEO of your life, then your career, finances, family and everything else. You are in charge. You are the leader.

To be responsible means that you ambitious, courageous, always prepared, committed, and always getting better. You are completely responsible. Recruiters love that.

Stanley G. Jack

Follow me on Twitter: @realStanleyJack


Views expressed are only those of the authors.

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