In the past decade, I’ve found myself on both sides of the job search fence, both as a job seeker and as a recruiter. With the exception of the extremely fortunate, most of us have applied to job listings that seemed to be a perfect fit, but we were never contacted (or were possibly contacted for an initial interview, but not for a follow-up interview).
Unless you have an inside connection to the company to which you applied, you probably never found out why you weren’t contacted. But those of us who have worked as recruiters see patterns in applicant behavior. Some of them can be frustrating, especially the ones that are easily fixed. Here are eight mistakes that will ensure you won’t hear back from recruiters or hiring managers:
1. Mistakes In Your Resume
This is always first on the list, and we’ve all heard it a thousand times. When writing or updating your resume, proofread, proofread, proofread! If you know that detail-orientation is one of your weak points, get at least one other person to proofread it as well. No employer wants to place responsibility into the hands of an employee who can’t even write a document about themselves without mistakes, much less uses it as their introduction.
2. Poor Interviewing Skills
This goes without saying. When interviewing, whether on the phone or in person, speaking and grammar skills are essential. While urban slang or texting abbreviations may be acceptable in social situations, they don’t make a good first impression on a prospective employer. Also, make sure you get a good night’s sleep the night before and keep the partying to a minimum. Please believe that a recruiter can tell if you don’t.
3. Inappropriate Social Media Content
Again, this is an old one, but it shouldn’t surprise you. Be aware of the message you’re sending on your social media sites. If they contain pictures of drinking, partying, or any other behavior you wouldn’t be comfortable displaying in the office, you should probably remove it BEFORE applying for a job.
4. No Online Presence
This doesn’t necessarily apply to all industries or professions. However, if you are seeking employment in marketing, public relations, advertising, entertainment or any other media field, be aware that recruiters and employers will want to see that you have a strong social media presence. Not being familiar with the most common social media sites will make you look disconnected and not up-to-date with current trends.
5. You Are Too Persistent
Many candidates think that a recruiter’s job is to find them employment. In reality, recruiters work to fill client positions. They usually deal with many clients at once, each with multiple positions needing to be filled, each position with dozens of prospective candidates. Calling and e-mailing a recruiter incessantly who you have not heard back from will not make them think of you as eager and ambitious, but will more likely label you a pain in the neck who they don’t want to deal with.
6. You Are Not Persistent Enough
On the flip side, some recruiters will need to contact you to schedule a follow-up interview, obtain further personal info, schedule testing required by the employer, and so on. Make sure you are quick to respond to the recruiter’s requests. If he or she has to chase you down every time they need to speak to you, you aren’t giving the impression of a model employee whom an employer wants to hire.
7. You Are Defensive About Being Contacted
Nearly every recruiter encounters this. A candidate will post his or her resume on a job site, then forget that it’s still posted years after obtaining employment. Most recruiters are good at finding a needle in a haystack. If you’ve EVER posted your resume, or have a LinkedIn profile for that matter, don’t be surprised if a recruiter contacts you about a job opportunity. If you’re not interested, don’t burn any bridges! You never know if you may need the same recruiter’s help in the future.
8. You’re Not Qualified For The Position
I know that desperate times call for desperate measures. But if you’ve been out of work for a while and money is thin, applying for numerous jobs that you’re not qualified for won’t help your chances of getting hired. If anything, it will cause recruiters to recognize your name for the wrong reason – like always being unqualified.
When dealing with a recruiter, let common sense prevail. Be honest, be punctual, be detailed. Recognize the recruiter as the bridge between unemployment and a successful career. When they see your effort, they will return the favor.
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