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HR=Humans Represent: Pet Peeves that get Recruiters Ranting

The job market is tough these days, and for those individuals who find themselves in the unemployment line, you are probably looking to make yourself stand out from the crowd. I’m sure most recruiters agree that there is certain things job candidates do which indeed set them apart, but for the wrong reasons.

A few weeks ago I was volunteering my time with high school students attending school at Job Corps. I was there to conduct mock interviews with the students set to graduate in order to prepare them for their job search. After the interviews, students and volunteer recruiters all sat in a circle to discuss other tips to help out these future workers. It seems as though there was a consensus amongst us recruiters as to what bugs us about certain job candidates.

So why not share this information here on GovLoop? I’m sure there are some of you unemployed or searching for a new opportunity, or there might be a genuine interest as to what gets us recruiters ranting. Some of this might seem like common sense, however as recruiters we all had experiences with job candidates who are guilty of committing these “employment errors”. These errors believe it or not are more common than you think. So, if you’re looking for work, please take note of this brief list of recruiter pet peeves:

  1. Creative resumés – Sure you want to stand out, but don’t gag the HR person with your perfumed resumé, and please refrain from the odd shaped resumés as well. I may like flowers, but I don’t want a resumé on paper shaped like one! Also, recruiters will go back and review the resumé stack again if needed, so you don’t need to get that neon green paper to provide us easy identification to locate yours again.
  2. Email addresses that are just plain goofy – A few weeks ago I received a resumé from someone at [email protected].While I’m sure that recruiters will agree this is unique and draws attention to you and your personality, I assure you it is not the type of attention you want. My initial thoughts after seeing this at the top of the page was did I know a recruiter in the hospitality industry that might benefit from their knowledge of alcoholic beverages and working in an altered state. Hotmamma, daddysprincess, and chatterbox aren’t going to cut it either. Got one of these cutesy or funny email addresses? At least for your job search I would suggest that since you graduated, your email should too!
  3. Showing up for the Interview with “you-don’t-know-who” I’m always amazed by this one, but it seems to happen frequently. Let me set the stage for you. I work at a government agency with over 700 employees. We typically have numerous openings at once. Hiring managers are forwarded screened resumés and they contact job candidates for interview. I typically don’t hear anything from the hiring manager until their either prepared to make a job offer, or they would like to repost the position or review additional resumés. My phone rings, it’s the receptionist and she tells me that she’s got a person in the lobby here for an interview. After I ask a series of questions, it is determined that the candidate doesn’t know the name of the person they spoke to when they scheduled the interview, doesn’t know the name of the manager who is interviewing for the position, they don’t know what the job is that they have showed up to interview for, and are not sure what department the job is in. Not only is HR frustrated, but so is the receptionist.
  4. Not doing your homework – This is the information age after all! If you are showing up for an interview, know the organization’s line of business, its competitors, current news regarding them, etc. One word here – GOOGLE! This goes for job fairs too. The most common thing people say to recruiters when they walk up to the table is “so what’s this about”. That’s really bad…bad for a couple of reasons – First, most people ask this question, and recruiters get tired of repeating the same thing over and over, especially when the person already was standing at the table listening to the person in front of them ask the same question, and they listened to my response as well; also, most job fairs provide a list of organizations that are participating prior to the job fair. Brush up on the organizations before attending. Besides, it’s always good to have a list of who you would like to see, and know which businesses may be looking for talent in your field.
  5. Following up using the latest technology – Here’s probably one of the few times when utilizing social media and the latest technology isn’t the best course of action. My email signature and business card that you received from me? Please don’t use the cell phone number to text me for follow up information or the status of things. Same goes for Twitter. Also, I find it extremely uncomfortable and inappropriate for you to friend me on Facebook. Instead, stick to more traditional methods such as phoning, leaving a voicemail message, or an email.

So there you have it – a Top 5 list of pet peeves that get recruiters ranting! Truth is that sometimes the way to stand out is by fitting in!

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Bandar El-Eita

Point 5 is particularly interesting, I have taken part in the interviewing process and had many job seekers follow me, especially on twitter. Never found it too pushy but it was interesting. I would feel differently about a facebook or linkedin invitation.

Excellent post!

Nichole Henley

Amen, sista!! I’ll add the following too:
1. There are only a certain amount of slots/positions available. Everyone cannot get the same position!! Ask for constructive criticism from the recruiter and move on! Anything you say after the fact will not change the fact that you did not get the job. Stop bugging me, stop harassing me, stop whining.

2. Once I hire you, don’t complain to me that the process was so frustrating and describe in detail all the wrong doings you felt. Yes, provide me with short, concise constructive feedback. But don’t continue to whine and whine everytime I see you. Trust me, I’m not the only piece of this pie and I’m just as frustrated when things take a long time. Change does not happen over night nor is it always my fault that the process took so long. Step back and take a look. There is a much bigger picture here than you think.

3. When preparing your resume, related the duties to the job you are applying for. Oh, and actually WRITE DOWN YOUR DUTIES!! I once had a pre-law student apply for a student position and in her one and only job experience at a law office she describe her contributions as “laywer duties.” Guess who didn’t get the job? Tell me what skills you bring and show that i should hire you. Remember, there’s a long line of qualified folks behind you.

4. If you don’t get selected for the job, don’t call me three months later and ask why you didn’t get selected and act so angrily if I cannot recall the reason off the top of my head. I think this action speaks for itself…if you can’t keep up with your applications or communications, you’re not ready for a real job.