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Job Interview Tips

Cultural quirks: A few reasons why Filipinos wouldn't be hired

By Paulo Vargas on July 7, 2015

In a tight Philippines job market, applicants must do everything they can to stand out. However, standing out does not mean donning peacock feathers to make an impression, both figuratively or literally. It's the little things that count.

While there is no distinct "Filipino" quirk that makes some people unsuitable to hire, here are some common cultural habits that could explain why Filipinos wouldn't be hired.

Being tardy. 

Filipinos like to crack jokes about "Filipino Time," which generally means being late for all occasions. If the Japanese are known for their promptness, we are known for our tardiness.

While interviewers know about Filipino Time, especially if they're Filipino too, the job hunt is not the arena to be celebrating this cultural habit. If you want to get a job, you have to make sure you arrive early or on time for an interview.

Arriving early shows that you care about the position, and that you respect the time of everyone involved. A few extra minutes before the interview will also give you time to collect your bearings.

There is literally no excuse for arriving late, even in Manila traffic. Nothing beats traffic more than being prepared.

Using your phone. 

Your wife is about to give birth. Someone got into an accident and is asking for your help. Someone is towing your car from the street. These are all perfectly legitimate reasons to check your phone.

Anything other than situations like these don't really merit as much as a glance at your phone while you're in the interview hot seat.

In the Philippines, it is not uncommon to see people at a dining table all looking at their phones. People on the train, on the jeep, and on the bus are all glued to the screens of their smartphones. You might even sleep next to your phone for all we know. But just because we've formed these habits doesn't mean we should bring them with us in the interview room.

According to this report by people management cloud provider Ultimate Software, 33% of millennials admitted to having played with or checked their smartphones during an interview.

Texting during an interview is rude and shows that you are not serious with the interview. To avoid this problem, either shut down your phone and put it at the bottom of your bag.

Saying yes to everything.

Imagine an open job position where it's just down to two people. They are equals in every respect save for their personalities: One is confident in expressing her opinion while the other is more of a Yes Man. Who would get the job?

Filipinos are known to be a hospitable people. While being hospitable is generally a good trait to have, it has also bred a culture of being accommodating to a fault.

There were instances in the past where I've interviewed people who show no backbone. They bend over backwards as much as possible, so much so that they begin to look like pushovers.

It is good to show respect to interviewers, but show it by getting there on time and doing research on the company. Being apologetic and meek doesn't mean you're going to be good for the job, nor does it show what you can bring to the table.

Knowing nothing about the company. 

One of the top reasons why Filipinos are not getting hired is that they do little research on the company they applied to. This may be due to the fact that applicants send out job applications en masse and hope for the best. That is actually a good strategy to land an interview in a short time. If you send out dozens of application, there's bound to be at least one interview right?

In this day and age, there is no excuse for not knowing about a company you applied to. A quick Google search will reveal a wealth of information you can use to your advantage when you are asked "Have you heard of our company before?"

Candidates who know very little about the company look like they don't care about getting the position. Hiring managers prefer people who show initiative, and being prepared is the best way to exhibit this quality.