Candidates Make Job Search Faux Pas, Too

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.

  1. Expectations of utopia:
  2. 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.

  3. Not being persistent enough:
  4. 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.

  5. Talking too much or over the interviewer:
  6. 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.

  7. Lack of enthusiasm:
  8. 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.

17 comments on “Candidates Make Job Search Faux Pas, Too

  1. Barbara Jorgensen
    February 7, 2012

    Carla–good point about about recruiting. As a recruiter, your job depends on matching the right candidate with the right job. As difficult as it is to pull someone out of contention, it is the right thing to do if the candidate displays a lack of enthusiasm. Like any kind of referral, your reputation often rests on someone else's suitability. That's one aspect of your job I wouldn't like.

     Then there's relocating to Nebraska…


  2. Carla Mahrt
    February 7, 2012

    Barbara – I'll take your last comment to mean you are looking to relocate to Nebraska!!   Although most of my placements have been in “electronic-heavy” parts of the US, like California, Boston and Chicago, I'll see what I can do for you!   Let me get to work on it 🙂

  3. _hm
    February 7, 2012

    Sometime, technical leader likes your skiils and it becomes very easy to get job. Sometime also depends on urgent need of organization. The whole process is quite complex and demanding.


  4. Daniel
    February 7, 2012

    “Finding a job is a job!”

    You are absolutely right. Now a day's finding a job after completing the course is a big job. Freshers are merely looking for an opening irrespective of domain or skills. They needs an entry and there after they are too conscious and choosy about their carrier.

    February 8, 2012

    I the high tech world I often see candidates who appear disinterested in the job, almost like the company would be a fool not to hire them.  As an employer I wholeheartedly agree with your bullet points, especially number 4. 

  6. Clairvoyant
    February 8, 2012

    Good points, Carla. Going along with the point about enthusiasm, it is good for candidates to be interested enough about the employer to look up information about them before hand.

  7. itguyphil
    February 8, 2012

    I have been speaking to alot of customers and partners lately and they have been having an influx of job candidates that have either left out important factors on their resumes OR flat out lied/made things up.

    What would you do if you were hiring and came across a candidate that knew what they were doing well the credentials did not back them up?

  8. Ariella
    February 9, 2012

    @_hm Good point. If they really need someone right away, your odds of getting hired go up. If it is just one of those things they're considering, but they have several months to work it out, the HR people will probably screen through hundreds or even thousands of candidates before narrowing things down.

  9. Carla Mahrt
    February 9, 2012

    In regard to the question on resume blunders and credentials not being backed up.  I would confront the person regarding errors or omissions on their resume.  This gives them a chance to respond – there may be a good explanation,  for ex. a typo in dates or other honest misunderstanding.  But if the explanation isn't plausible &/or not corrected when brought to light, I would pull them out of the interview process.  If someone lies on the resume, it makes their entire character suspect.

  10. Adeniji Kayode
    February 10, 2012

    Point 2 and 4 are the solutions to that problem.As she rightly said, Finding a job is actually a job and so in that case i want to do my home work well on the company and also on my self ending with the resume which is the first thing the company sees before seeing me in person and so if that be the case , a great work should be done on the resume too with adequate update and accuracy.

    My resume must be able to represent me well.

  11. Adeniji Kayode
    February 10, 2012

    Good article Carla, I feel you mentioned the best way to handle resume blunders.

  12. Carla Mahrt
    February 12, 2012

    Although I do feel an accurate, mistake proof resume is important, I generally spend very little time reviewing someone's resume – I estimate only 15 seconds! I am not concerned with formatting or length or getting every key word in the resume. I focus on education (many of my jobs require a technical degree) and work experience. From there I determine if it is worthwhile to spend time on the phone with them. Key from that point on is communication!

  13. itguyphil
    February 12, 2012

    That would be the prudent thing to do in order to maintain some type of honesty in the workplace. But I do not think that happens. Alot of employers take the resume for its worth and proceed to hire without deeper background checks (I'm guessing it's because of the costs?)

  14. JADEN
    February 15, 2012

    I actually agree that job inteview require research about the company.  I remember my first job interview with a Liquified Natural Gas company after college, I didn't research on the company, I only base my preparation on what I learned in college on the process of Natural Gas Liquifaction whereas, all questions were centered on what I know about the company, it was a big mistake.

  15. Anne
    February 15, 2012

    Actually some candidates don't realise how effective job follow through after the job interview is. Sending thank you email to the interviewers after the interview indicates interest yield good result.

  16. Adeniji Kayode
    February 16, 2012

    The company consider you a serious and hardworking person when you are able to do your research on information that pertains to it.

    Therefore, not been able to answer some vital questions about the company you seek to work with is considered an offence.

  17. JADEN
    February 18, 2012

    @Adeniji Kayode,

    You are right, but not that I wasn't serious with the interview, I just overlooked that they could ask about the company.

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