There is a ton of work to be had with small businesses, but it occurred to me that perhaps job seekers simply don’t realize some actions are not appropriate.
To that end, I’ve put together a collection of hiring mishaps to help job seekers and small business owners alike, come to a greater understanding.
Here are the top 10 surefire ways you won’t get the job:
1.Make it hard for me to reach you
When I posted my last job at least five the candidates didn’t sign their letters. I’m not talking about the people who simply attached a resume and hit send (those were eliminated immediately). I’m talking about the people that took the time to write some form of a cover letter and then failed tell me their name and give me a phone number. You may have that information on your resume, but that’s not enough. If I have to work to find that info, chances are I won’t.
2.You don’t run spell check
You need to “double check spelling, formatting and grammar on cover letters/cover emails and resumes,” says Laura Gross, Principle at Scott Circle. “We have a hard time finding candidates because they make too many mistakes on these items. And, I’m not talking about 1 or 2 small things -really big things and lots of them.”
3. Tell me what you’re not willing to do – in bold
One person submitted an application to an in-house account coordinator position by telling me he wanted to work on projects remotely, and I quote:
“i.e. NOT IN OFFICE.”
This guy was a freelancer and obviously wanted to stay that way, but saw an opportunity to work with Social Light. I hire freelances all the time and would have been happy to talk with him if he had taken a different approach, but starting a conversation by telling me what you won’t do is never a good idea.
4. Waste your opportunity with bad reception
Monika Jansen, head of Jansen Communication told me about one interview where the person was “talking to me from what sounded like a construction zone. Her coverage was so bad I could barely hear her.”
While Sherrell Martin, founder of Nitram Financial Solutions said her candidate was driving during an interview with such bad reception that the call dropped and could not be reached to continue the call.
Sherrell’s advice? “Use a landline and be stationary for phone screen interviews.”
5. Drive-thru interviews
I did a phone interview with a candidate, who seemed to be in the car during our interview. I thought she simply needed privacy from her current employer until she asked me to “please hold” and yelled an order out the window as she went through a drive-thru.
6. Go over the moon
Christina Taylor, President of TaylorMade Experience, mentioned her struggles have been with dress code.
“We have had two candidates show up for interviews in what looks like a beach cover up. One mooned us when she bent over. What happened to the days of black or dark blue suits with heels??”
If you’re unsure of the dress code, always err on being more formal, especially if you’re interviewing with a company that will interact with clients.
7. Give your interviewer the finger
“I had a young woman answer her cell phone mid-interview, give me the ‘just a second finger’ and chat with her boyfriend about a movie they were planning on seeing,” tells Dana Marlow, head of Accessibility Partners. “Needless to say, that interview was over quickly.”
8. Tell me what a party animal you are
Laura Gross also shared the story of “the guy who canceled on me for an 11:00 a.m. phone call because his birthday was the day before and he was afraid he would be up too late to talk to me.”
Most of us love a good party, but as employers we also think responsibility is kind of a big thing. So be aware that what you say has consequences and if you give the impression that you’re not going to make it to work on time or be reliable, that’s not going to work out terribly well for you.
9. Miss a deadline
As part of the interview process I’ll ask for writing samples, and tend to give the candidate several business days to provide them, but the truth is I want them within 24 hours if you’re truly interested in the job.
Whether you are asked for writing samples, references, or anything else with a deadline, if “something comes up” and you feel the need to ask for an extension, don’t bother, you’ve just eliminated yourself from the job.
10. Don’t bother following up
There are countless ways to follow up after an interview, and while calling every day isn’t recommended, showing you care about the job is.
I heard countless complaints about the hiring process from other business owners, but the one thing that was consistent was that the candidate who took the time say thank you was always the one that got the job.
Looking for hints on what employers are looking for? Check out tips on getting a job with a startup.