Oh look…more fun and exciting feedback for you job seekers out there from a recruiter that takes part in our events and hires people for jobs.
Know what that means? That means listen up!
So, here we go…
Things that will keep you from getting a job, regardless of how talented you are:
Inappropriate Email Address
Do NOT have an inappropriate email address on your resume. If “firstname.lastname@example.org” shows up on your resume, most hiring managers will probably show it around the office for a laugh, but will probably not call you for an interview.
I am a big believer in letting your freak-flag fly, but go get yourself a nice FREE Gmail account for your job search. There are some that will still call you but I personally like to see a little more professionalism in a candidate. I am not hiring the night clerk at the Velvet Touch over here.
Unprofessional Voice Mail Recording
Some years ago I called a candidate and got sent to their voice mail. The recording went something like this: “I didn’t feel like answering the phone or I am still hung over. Or I might just be screening you. Leave a message and if I feel like it, I may call you back” with Free Bird playing in the background. Seriously.
In your job search you are (hopefully) going to have quite a few people trying to get in touch with you. Keep in mind that a voice mail greeting like this one will make quite a few uptight HR people just throw your resume away. I won’t throw it away. I will put it in my database with a big red CAUTION note on it that stays there for ever and ever, Amen.
There are a lot of different kinds of interviews/meetings out there but let’s talk about the formal, scheduled interview. If you are going to be sitting down with someone who is either making hiring decisions or decisions on representing you, old advice is good advice: put your best foot forward. Dress BETTER than the person you are meeting with. I don’t mean to sound like a prude but a guy sitting down for an interview with me wearing an earring is probably not going to get a job. And I have a pierced ear. Haven’t actually worn anything in it since eighty-something, but it’s there.
Gentleman, wear a tie. I am from the mid-west and I know there are some other dynamics happening in California, but I would expect someone interviewing for a professional job to come wearing a tie. If you’re coming directly from work and wearing a suit and tie would raise unwanted questions with your current employer, let your interviewer know up front.
I can’t believe that this one still comes up but it does. Simple rule: be on time. If something CRAZY happens and you’re running late, call in and let the person you are meeting with KNOW you are running late. Personally, I believe in leaving time for a flat tire or speeding ticket when I am going to an interview.
Congratulations! You made it to what I like to call “The Dance.”
Not doing research
Take a few minutes and do a little research before you go to an interview. Find out what the company does or makes. Do a little research on the interviewer if you can. I placed a woman at one of my clients in an Executive Assistant position. The competition was fierce for this job and the VP had interviewed more than a dozen candidates. As part of the interview, she was asked to put look at a meeting agenda and put together a quick PowerPoint with action items and such. She had done some research on the VP she was meeting and found an interesting quote that he had made in a speech he gave. She included that quote as a footer on the first PowerPoint slide. He of course called her out on it and she revealed that she had done some research on him and found it. You can call it sucking up if you want to, but she was hired the next day. He was impressed that she was interested in the position enough to do some deep research on him and his company. And of course she got the job. Besides, what VP doesn’t want a little bit of an ego boost?
Not asking questions
Prepare some questions for the interviewer. If you are an experienced interviewer, they will probably naturally come up during the meeting. If you’re not be sure to have some written down before you arrive. Remember, you should be interviewing this company as much as they are interviewing you.
Be prepared for some of the standard questions. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Why do you want to work here? If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be, and why? There are some strange ones out there and you can’t prepare for all of them but don’t go dear-in-the-headlights when they ask you about your goals.
Not expressing interest in the job, if you’re interested
If you loved the interview and want the job, ASK for it! Something along the lines of “I really appreciate your time in meeting with me and I am very interested to hear back from you!” is an excellent way to ask. A little secret here: People HATE to have their job offers declined! I cannot even count the times that I have had a hiring manager decline a candidate they thought wasn’t interested in a position when in reality the candidate was just trying to play it cool and not seem over eager. As a recruiter, I have never been able to sell past this.
Send a thank you note. An email is fine.
Not being honest
Probably one of the most important things to do at an interview is to be honest. Do not simply tell the interviewer what you think they want to hear. They will probably see through it and if they don’t, you may well end up in a job that you hate based on the false dreams and goals you purported to have at your interview.
There is a LOT of psychological evaluation going on throughout your job search at an interview process. At the interview, I would venture to say even more psychological than technical. Consciously or unconsciously people will be looking at your dress, posture, and overall behavior. And they will be making decisions based on it. Someone like me will read that earring as the international symbol for not caring about the interview. I will read your 10 minute late arrival as you being careless with my time. I would never suggest that a candidate be anything but themself, but like your mother told you: you never get a second chance to make a 1st impression.