Why I Don’t Want to Hire You
When I find myself in the midst of a hiring process for my own team, I am reminded once again why employers are so easily frustrated by the process. By nature I tend to focus on the positive so for a job search I suggest tips for successfully landing that next job. But, I’ve been asked specifically if there are things I see candidates doing wrong in their searches and hope to share tips to help avoid those pitfalls. Here are tops of what not to do in your job search.
- Rely Solely on Online Applications – While most companies require that you apply online, if all you do is sit behind your computer and submit applications your chances of success are slim. When you are not receiving calls for interviews, submitting more online applications does not solve the problem. Networking is critical to success in the current job market. If all you do is apply online you are expecting a hiring manager to find you as the proverbial needle in the haystack. I always start with the candidates who have networked with me previously or who are passed on by a colleague who met them through networking.
- Write a Cover Letter All About You – Your cover letter needs to make the hiring manager interested enough in your qualifications to want to read your resume and schedule an interview. While it is important to share highlights of your experience be sure you focus your letter on the relevant skills and experience to address their specific needs. Customize your letter to the specifics of the job description. Be careful not to start every paragraph or sentence with “I.” Make it clear to the hiring manager how you can address their specific needs. They really are not interested in what you want or unrelated things you did in the past. And with just a bit of research you can usually find the name of the hiring manager which makes a much better impression than “to whom it may concern.”
- Didn’t Bother to Read the Job Description – When your cover letters focuses on what you really want to do but that has nothing to do with what I said I needed, I doubt that you bothered to read the job description. Don’t apply based solely on the job title. Hiring managers expect you to read the job description and to focus on your relevant, transferrable skills. Failure to do so earns you a quick trip to the no pile.
- Arrive late for the Interview – Really? Demonstrate your professionalism and time management skills by arriving a few minutes early. It also demonstrates your interest. If you are not sure how to get there, do a dry run the night before. Allow extra time for traffic and have an idea in advance of where you can park. Put your best foot forward.
- Come Unprepared for the Interview – You should always be prepared to sell yourself but be sure to do your homework about the company, the position and those you will be meeting. It is very easy to do online research. Review the company website. Have questions prepared for your interviewer. Demonstrate your professionalism. Never ask “so what does your company do.” Know enough to have specific questions prepared to ask your interviewer.
- Fail to Follow-up with a Thank You Note – It is rude and unprofessional not to say thank you. The interviewer shares valuable time with you. Say thank you at the end of the interview. Send an email as soon as possible to say thank you and to express your interest. Refer to something specific you discussed. Mail a handwritten thank you note within 24 hours. People receive so little snail mail these days, it will be remembered. Many hiring managers will eliminate a candidate who does not send a thank you note.
- Ask about Salary, Benefits or Time Off During the Interview – You need to sell yourself during the interview. Asking questions during the interview about salary, benefits or time off sends the message that you are not really interested in the job itself. Wait until they decide they want you on their team to inquire about the compensation and benefits. Make the sale before you start negotiating.
Avoid these common pitfalls in the search process to increase your success. Hiring managers are expecting you to put your best foot forward.