When you’re job searching, things can begin to get overwhelming, especially if you’ve been doing it for awhile. There is nothing more disappointing than hearing from a company who is considering you for a position, only to find that they went with another candidate. Often times, the decision to not hire someone may very well have nothing to do with qualifications, but rather perceptions that develop throughout the screening process. Here are some common red flags for recruiters that are easy mistakes anyone can make.
Answering your phone in an inappropriate way: This is a very common mistake that can affect whether or not you will be considered for an interview. When you’re job searching, if your phone rings, you should always answer it as though you are speaking with your future employer, especially if you do not recognize the phone number calling you. When I call a candidate and they sound annoyed or rude, it often makes me hesitant to want to bring them in. After all, if their tendency isn’t to put their best foot forward during a first-time interaction, how much effort can I expect them to put in when they’re familiar with a customer or coworker?
Having someone job search for you: Now, this is one I like to refer to as the bait and switch. This is when a spouse, significant other, friend, or even family member puts in an application for someone else. When I call and the candidate has no idea who I am or why I’m calling, the opportunity for employment ends right there. Companies are looking for people who want to work for them. At ECI, we are like a family, and a big part of that comes from our commitment to the business and each other. It’s important that the information I get comes directly from the individual, otherwise I have no way of telling whether or not someone is a good fit. There is no one in the world who is too busy to apply for a job if they need or want it. Do yourself a favor, and don’t do this.
Rescheduling an interview: Life is busy, and there are circumstances that warrant a rescheduling. However, forgetting that you had something else planned, or misremembering dates/times does not bode well during the hiring process. When you are unable to keep or remember an interview appointment, barring personal life conflicts such as illness or the loss of a loved one, the virtues that earned you the interview to begin with start to dim.
Not knowing what the company does: Hey, we’ve all been there. When you apply to a lot of jobs, they all begin to blur together, and it’s easy to get things mixed up the longer you search. That being said, the best thing to do when you find yourself with a potential interviewer on the other end of the line is to fake it until you make it. Feel free to say, “I’m sorry, could you repeat where you’re calling from?” to both give yourself time to process, and possibly pull up the company on your computer. If you don’t have your computer handy, another good lifeline to refresh yourself how many positions are currently open. Often times this can lead into a larger conversation that will help to remind you.
No one is perfect, and none of the snags mentioned above needs to spell disaster for a job you really want. If you felt you answered your phone too abruptly, or too informally, it’s completely okay to acknowledge it with your interviewer and simply ask to start over. If your significant other does pull the old bait and switch, call the company yourself, let them know that you’re truly interested and that your significant other had all of the best intentions and assure whomever you’re speaking with that from that moment forward they will have 100% contact with you and only you. If you do all that you can and you still aren’t selected, remember not to take it personally. Sometimes the deciding factor is the distance between your house and the office if you would have a longer commute. Occasionally, it even comes down to whoever called back first. The important thing is that you treat each endeavor as a learning experience so that at the next interview you come back stronger, more confident, and more driven.