Recently, I had coffee again with Suzette, my friend the hiring manager. I asked her if she had any more hiring horror stories to entertain me with and she certainly did. Here are a few:
1. I won’t take no for an answer! This lady was told when she first sent in her resume that they wouldn’t be hiring her. She was given a very specific reason that I won’t disclose here. Well, the lady called back again. Then again. Then again. Each time Suzette repeated the reason for saying no. This didn’t stop her. Each time she called, she gave them another sales pitch about how great she was, and how they’d never regret hiring her. Suzette said that each additional call was like another nail in the coffin of her job prospects at that company. Needless to say, they never hired her.
2. How to guarantee unemployment: At the interview, this lady came across right away as very assertive. The first question she asked Suzette was, “How long did you work here before you got a raise?” Then she asked, and I swear I’m not making this up, “What do I have to do to get your job?” Mystifyingly, Suzette didn’t hire her. Hmmm. I wonder why?
3. Learn to spell! Suzette’s pet peeve was the endless series of resumes that were misspelled, badly formatted, and general substandard. Granted, there are all kinds of extremely smart and talented people who can’t spell, but surely it isn’t too much trouble to either have someone else do the resume for you, a friend or a resume writer, or at the very least, use spell-check! And please try to avoid the following: “Excelent communication skills, verbal, and written.”
4. Please stop talking! A different hiring manager described an interview that was going really well. The candidate seemed to be perfect for the job, but… he just wouldn’t shut up. He talked and talked, barely listening at all, so eager was he to show everyone how clever he was, and how suitable for the job. Basically, he talked his way right out of the job.
These horror stories aren’t just entertaining (although I admit it, I do enjoy hearing them), they’re also really good as shining examples of What Not To Do. So after hearing these, our conclusions?
a. It’s good and often necessary to be persistent in your job search, but sometimes you have to take no for an answer or risk appearing annoying and pushy, or even stalkerish.
b. It’s nice to show an interest in the hiring manager, but don’t ask overly personal or inappropriate question. It goes without saying that you do NOT want to come across as wanting to grab the hiring manager’s job first chance you get.
c. Resumes must be as perfect, as regards spelling, grammar, and formatting, as you can possibly make them. If this isn’t your area, ask someone to do it for you, whether a friend, relative or a professional resume writer.
d. Don’t dominate the interview with non-stop talking, something that may be hard to do when you’re nervous and excited. Try hard to listen as much as you speak. Remember, these people aren’t going to hire someone they perceive as a motormouth.
Compared to these people, your interview skills are going to appear spectacular! So go out there and interview.