Last year, I highlighted some of the top hiring mistakes that employers make. A few EBN readers suggested that I turn the tables and highlight some of the common mistakes that candidates make during their job search and/or interview. After nearly a year of recruiting, unfortunately, I've amassed several types of faux pas made by various candidates. Here are a few.
- Expectations of utopia:
- Not being persistent enough:
- Talking too much or over the interviewer:
- Lack of enthusiasm:
Some candidates truly expect every aspect of the job to be perfect — big salary increase, dream title, ideal location, reporting to “the big guy,” and stock options. Sometimes the stars align, but generally there is some aspect of the job that candidates do not find ideal. As a result, they may pass on great opportunities.
Candidates need to be realists as to their expectations and prioritize what is really important to them. I understand that, for personal reasons, certain aspects of a job (like location) might be non-negotiable, but then the candidate may have to lower the salary or title expectations. It is a give and take. Also, the climate of the job market often dictates what can be expected. Relocation packages have changed substantially as a result of the housing crisis. Companies cannot afford to buy a candidate's home if it does not sell within a specified period. Today's packages are much simpler and less lucrative. Candidates might not like it, but that is reality.
Finding a job is a job ! It requires persistence and follow-through on the part of the candidate. It requires a bit of work to research the company, brush up on skills, possibly develop new skills, and practice interviewing. A vast amount of information about a company and its products can be found online, so there is no excuse not to do your homework. Along with this persistence, a fair dose of patience is required. Companies never act as quickly as a candidate (or recruiter) would like.
The hiring authority wants to get to know the candidate in the interview, but it is important for the candidate to talk “the right” amount of time. This can be tricky. It's important to listen first and then talk. Be careful not to ramble or repeat yourself constantly. The interviewer will be offended if constantly interrupted by the interviewee.
It is important for candidates to prove, by actions and expression, that they really want to work for the company. As a recruiter, I've actually pulled candidates from contention if I didn't feel they truly acted as though they wanted the job. Candidates should not act as if they would be doing the company a favor by working there. The company-candidate relationship is much like dating — there must be a mutual desire to be in the relationship together.