There’s an enormous amount of pressure on you at each stage of the application process, not only to fully represent your talents, skills and personal attributes, but also to avoid those pitfalls which might spell the end for your application.
Whilst it is true that the vast majority of recruiters will give your application the consideration it deserves, with such a competitive job market (and recruiters being basically spoilt for choice) employers are becoming ever more diligent about the small details. Things which in the past might have been ignored, can now mean the difference between getting a job and failure!
So to give you a little hand to avoid some of these mistakes, we have put together this quick list of things which recruiters can find very irritating.
Unnecessarily long winded CVs – When completing a CV for a role try to remember that yours may be only one of hundreds which lands on the desk of the person dealing with the vacancy. They may have just seconds to peruse it and decide whether or not to progress you to the next stage of the process. Therefore it is essential that they do not have to search to find the information relevant to the role…they will want it to be clearly presented to them. It may sound counter-intuitive, but you do not need to convince the employer that you are perfect for the role at this stage (that is what an interview is for) all you need to at this point is show them that you fulfill most (if not all) of the essential and desirable criteria.
Glaring Spelling Mistakes in applications – There is absolutely no excuse for incorrect spelling on a word processed application or CV, and whilst auto correct and spell check won’t pick up on every single mistake, checking and rechecking the application will! A survey of 1700 employers conducted in 2013 found that for 54% of employers, one spelling mistake in a CV immediately deters them from offering an interview. Therefore, a simple mistake which you may think is insignificant might say to an employer “I do not care about this job enough to even check my CV” and they may be tempted to show your application the same disregard. If you are not confident in your own ability to proof-read your CV then ask someone else to do it, they may even have some suggestions on how it could be improved.
A photo of you on your CV – With the obvious exception of models, actors and so forth, it is not a good idea to put your photo on your CV. There’s plenty of information online which will tell you that it can be a really great way of adding some personality to your application, and whilst that might be true, we think that it is still a pretty bad idea.
This is because applicant photographs are not part of the established CV etiquette, and therefore are an unnecessary addition to it. Some recruiters can view such a deviation as an indicator of naivety or inexperience (especially if said photo portrays you in a less than professional light). It is indeed true that some employers may welcome the novelty of an image supported CV, but ask yourself this – are you willing to take the risk for something that isn’t needed in the first place?
Generic CVs – A recruiter doesn’t expect you to start afresh with your CV for every single application that you make, however they do (quite rightly) expect that you will tailor your CV to the role for which you are applying. In some cases, a generic CV may well slip past the notice of an employer, but in most cases (particularly those roles which have very specific requirements) a generic CV may stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.
It can be helpful to cross reference your CV against the essential and desirable criteria which are detailed in the job description in order to make sure that it presents you as a candidate worthy of being invited to interview.
Inappropriate interview attire/presentation – Whilst how you dress or how tidily you are presented bears absolutely no relevance to your ability to do the role you are applying for, it is vital that the interviewer can see you have made an effort to impress them with your appearance. On a most basic level they want to see that you are taking the opportunity very seriously and by dressing smartly and tidily you present yourself as someone who is willing to make that bit extra effort where necessary- and at the very least it should get you off to a good start.
To ensure that you are looking your best and to avoid the impression of being flustered, it is always a good idea to arrive at the interview venue 10-15 minutes before it is scheduled to begin. This will give you time to gather your thoughts, relax, tidy your clothes and avoid the appearance of being flustered.
Being unprepared for interview – As was the case with sloppy presentation, a lack of preparedness for an interview may suggest to the interviewer that you are not fully dedicated to your pursuit of the role.
The very nature of an interview can make it difficult to know how to prepare for them…after all how can you prepare for it when you have no clue what is going to happen? Of course, your interviewer will not expect you to have scripted and rehearsed answers to their questions, but they will expect that you have a sound and detailed knowledge of the role and the company which you will be working for. The internet can be a useful tool in this kind of research, but if you are struggling to find enough information be sure to contact the employer (once you have been invited for interview) and ask them to point you in the right direction – this may even demonstrate your interest in the role and ability to take initiative.
Bad mouthing your current or previous employer – This can be a really easy trap to fall into, especially when it comes to more informal interviews or if you are asked a question directly relating to them. As a rule, it is never a good idea to say anything negative about your employer… not matter how legitimate your criticisms may be. Remember that the interviewer is not yet familiar with your personality and as such, may see your boss-bashing as an indication that you have issues with authority. You may be faced with a question like “Is there anything you would have changed about your last employer?”- in which case you should come up with a few constructive criticisms and steer well clear of any personal issues you may have had with them.
Hopefully you have found these tips and advice useful- don’t forget to check out our huge library of information on every aspect of finding a job!