Eight Things Candidates Do That Sabotages Their Chances to Get the Job

by Melanie Korn

Posted on September 19, 2019 at 07:56:11 PM




Candidates often commit blunders that harm their employment prospects and most of the time they are completely unaware of what behavior of theirs tipped the scales against them. This article will take you through the eight most common mistakes and oversights that you need to be mindful of to maximize your chances of landing a job.

1. Limited Communication mode

When you are applying to jobs, you need to be open to all modes of communication. It is important to recognize that different people prefer different modes of communication. The two primary modes of communication are written and verbal communication. Written communication entails anything from emails to a text message while verbal communication involves phone calls and video calls etc. No one, especially no recruiter, owes you the courtesy of speaking to you in your preferred mode of communication.

You might be a texting person, but if the person on the hiring end prefers voice calls, you have to be available to express your abilities over a phone call. Many jobs today, especially those in sales, are done via the phone, so the recruiter might want to assess your verbal communication skills by interviewing you over the phone.

Additionally, it is incredibly easy and common for someone to misread your tone through solely written modes of communication, such as texting or emailing. Sometimes, a one-on-one call is necessary for the person to gauge your personality, so you must work around their mode of communication to build rapport with them.

2. Using Social Media or online review sites as the Primary Gauge of Whether to Speak to the Company Representative.

According to psychological experts, people are more likely to leave a review if their experience has been out of the ordinary (in a negative or positive direction). Keeping this in mind, we can extrapolate that employees who are satisfied at their jobs will not go out of their way to voice any admiration, but disgruntled employees will surely take to multiple social media platforms to voice their disapproval.

One of the major employer-review sites these days is Glassdoor. You might be inclined to rely on a few negative Glassdoor reviews and avoid the company’s recruiter. That could be one of the biggest mistakes of your professional life. A handful of less than ideal reviews might overshadow the majority of employee sentiments who are contented with their jobs.

Companies can also pay these sites to reflect their point of view directly. The fact that companies and their competitors can influence the reviews is a clear indication of the unreliability of such websites. 

3. Replying “who is this”?

Asking “who is this “when a potential interviewer or screener calls you is an immediate red flag for them. It exhibits disrespect and a nonchalant attitude to the recruiter because if you were genuinely interested in landing a job, you should have been ready for their call and expecting a call.

The moment you put your contact information on a resume or email, you need to be prepared for a follow-up call or email from the company representative or recruiter. Additionally, the recruiter has a legal obligation to confirm your identity before discussing further job details, so they have every right to reach out to you.

You must always respect their time and position and give the impression that their call is relevant to you.

4. Unprofessional Voicemail message

Sometimes you may not be in the position to attend a call, so you let it go to your voicemail, and that is entirely acceptable. However, it is not acceptable for your voice mail message to be unprofessional and cluttered with background music or having someone else (such as your kids) read it out.

Your voicemail introduction is akin to a pre-interview or pre-audition in your job acquisition process, and therefore, it needs to be a professional reflection of you.

5. Non-timely completion for items or requests in the application process

When a company representative, interviewer, or recruiter asks you to submit additional application materials, it is in your best interest to do so. They are asking because they need that information to process your application further, so there is no logical reason for you to question them or delay in supplying the relevant information.

This is a test to see how interested you are in a job. The longer you take to complete it may give the individual the perception that you are not interested. The perception is that you are putting your best foot forward in the application process so if you’re lazy, it would not be a stretch for the person hiring you to assume that it will only get worse if you are hired.

6. Not reading the information in the emails

Nine times out of 10, the answer to a question is already in the email correspondence between you and the hiring manager. You must thoroughly read all the information in the emails because if you don’t and you end up asking something that was already clarified in an email, it makes you sound irresponsible and not serious. If someone took the time out to write a detailed email to you the least you could do is read it fully before you ask any questions.

7. Not seeking Advice

It is best practice to look up people on social media such as LinkedIn who are related to that company for help and guidance. Someone who has prior experience with the company you are applying to can guide you best about the best practices to get hired by a particular person. Pay attention to these connections and utilize them to your advantage.

8. Being callous, gloomy and disrespectful 

As a rule of thumb, you must always display an air of courteousness with a hiring manager, company representative, or recruiter even if you have been rejected or you no longer want the job. You never know when you could run into that person again, so you do not want to leave a negative impression.

Conclusion: 

It is in your best interest to avoid these seven deadly practices that could negatively affect the evaluation of your credentials and candidacy by the hiring manager, company representative, or recruiter. If you keep these seven things in mind during the application process, you will be considered a better candidate based on the positive impression you have created. Ultimately, it all boils down to the golden rule-treat others how you want to be treated. If you are kind and considerate to your future employer, then they will most likely reciprocate it. 


Henry Glickel has been in the recruiting and staffing profession for over 24 years. Henry graduated with high honors from Stockton University of New Jersey and has an MBA with honors from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Henry is the author of “The Power of Proactive Recruiting” which can be found on Amazon, Lulu Press Inc., iTunes, and Audible.com. He has almost 25 years of recruiting, sourcing, negotiating, talent management, employee engagement, and retention. He has completed over 2,100 placements in the US, North America, Europe, and the Middle East. His specialties include job profile development, recruiting, sourcing, onboarding systems, employee referral programs, counter offer strategy, surgical recruiting, assessments/testing, recruitment branding programs, and talent acquisition and management strategies/practices. He holds multiple certifications by national organizations, recognized with best practices award, and has been quoted in numerous periodicals. He has been on radio shows and best practices panels at conferences. Basically, Henry is proud to be a HeadHunter. He lives in New Hampshire with his family on Arlington Pond where he will be recruiting as long as he can. His website is www.henryglickel.com.


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