A job search can be challenging in today’s climate. You need to commit time to do the proper research, prepare your resume and cover letters carefully in a way that makes them readable by both humans and tracking systems, and learn the best networking practices in order to find the job of your dreams. This is difficult enough, but it can be even worse if don’t mind your behavior during the process!
Even if everything else is going well, certain behaviors can harm your chances of getting the job before you even sit down for an interview. While some practices like watching the language you use or not being rude should be obvious, not every faux pas is intuitive or obvious to a job seeker.
During your next job search, don’t shoot yourself in the foot by making these common behavioral mistakes:
Obviously, you shouldn’t be swearing at or insulting hiring managers. I highly doubt any of you are engaging in knowingly rude behaviors during your job search, but this does need to be said. But being unprofessional comes down to more than just obvious rudeness.
One of the easiest ways to get rejected is to appear unprofessional before even speaking with a recruiter or very early in the process. If your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn, or email are riddled with typos, you’ll already appear to be massively unprepared for the job. This can quickly turn the hiring manager against you, even if you’re otherwise an ideal candidate. Make sure to proofread carefully and use tools like Grammarly to assist.
“Almost every job description includes “excellent communication skills” as a requirement. If your communications with the HR manager include spelling or grammatical errors, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.” -Recruiter.com
Recruiter.com also says to make sure your social media posts are up to par. Remove any unflattering photos, edgy posts, controversial opinions, and even negative posts about your current/old position. Refer to our social media guide for further details.
Finally, LinkedIn says not to beg for a job or expect others to help you for free. Not only will you appear unprofessional, but you’ll reek of desperation, another trait recruiters detest.
Even the most professional-looking recruits can still annoy hiring managers with their bad behaviors. Employers are seeking someone that adds value to their organization, and it’s hard to look valuable if you’re insincere or disinterested.
If it sounds like you’ll take the first job you’re offered, it’s going to be hard for a company to be excited about hiring you. Judith Humphrey lists authenticity as the most important quality a job seeker can possess. Recruiters don’t want canned responses or to be pandered to.
“I want to find out more about the candidate personally, and I find there is often this wall, and people are not letting me see who they really are.” –Amanda Luthra, recruiter
One of the quickest ways to appear insincere is by embracing the common “spray-and-pray” technique used by many inexperienced job seekers. Forbes’ Jack Kelly writes that while job seekers think a numbers approach will work in their favor, it does the opposite. Your generic resume will make you appear insincere.
Fight this by tailoring your approach to each specific job. Find a reason why you’d be excited to work for the company. Otherwise, you’re wasting their time and yours.
Employers want an employee who wants to work for them and is confident about their skills, but don’t let that confidence become arrogance!
Reporter Morgan Smith cites Microsoft head of global talent acquisition Lauren Gardner, who said the number one red flag she looks out for on resumes is being a know-it-all. “We’re looking for folks that are motivated to constantly learn and grow.”
It’s good to demonstrate knowledge, but how you communicate is crucial. A candidate who talks down to others or acts pretentious is likely to be looking for a job elsewhere. Often this type of behavior shows a lack of confidence in your abilities and that you need to be pretentious to appear more successful than you actually are.
“No one wants to subject their staff to having to deal with an arrogant, self-aggrandizing windbag.” –Jack Kelly
Passion and humility are two traits hiring managers want to see, so express your desire to learn and grow and acknowledge that the people in the room can assist in that growth. Be confident while showing respect, and you’ll stand a much better chance of getting the job.
Self-awareness is one of the most valuable qualities a job seeker can possess. Some of these poor behaviors may seem like no-brainers. But sometimes we might not realize our small actions may be unprofessional, insincere, or arrogant. Take some time to really reflect on how hiring managers will see your communications, and it will go a long way towards finding a job you can be excited about.