How NOT to Get a Job: Be a Jerk!

7 November 2010 at 1:41AM Leave a comment

This blog has quoted Evil HR Lady Susan Lucas a few times. Recently, she posted more great wisdom about the job searching process. She has observed that some people are (dare we say it?) less than polite:

I got an e-mail today asking a generic question about why the writer could get interviews, but was unable to land the job. When you send me an e-mail, you get an auto response:

Thanks for your e-mail. Unfortunately, I cannot answer all of the questions I receive.  If I do answer your question, I will send you an e-mail.

Everyone, including the Nigerian Princesses and the people from the British Lottery gets this e-mail.  Most people, I presume, think, “Oh, that makes sense.  I hope she answers my question.”

But, not this person.  Instead I got the following response (from the candidate):


Ahh, to be screamed at by someone who wants me to do her a favor.  Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.  Doesn’t it have that same effect on  you?  In fact, I suspect my e-mail inbox will soon be overflowing with requests for this woman’s contact information so you can offer her a job.  Just think, she can do sales for you.  “I WANT YOU TO BUY THIS PRODUCT!!!!! MAKE IT A PRIORITY!”  Your clients will love her.

But, because I’m nice, I’ll answer the original question:  You’re not getting the job because you’re a self-entitled jerk.

Now, there are lots of people who are able to get the interview, but not able to land a job who are not jerks.  They either need to work on their interview skills or have just been having a run of bad luck.  But, I suspect that if you’re willing to be pushy and obnoxious to me, you’re willing to do the same to other people.

EXACTLY! (Pardon the caps!)

Time to consider the First Law of NotJobs: Interview behavior is best behavior.

One of the first questions we ask as hiring managers and recruiters is, “Can I work with you?” If that question is answered satisfactorily, we’re happy to invite you participate further in the hiring process. If you are rude, or if you act like a jerk, you kill your chance of having a successful job search.

The Evil HR Lady goes on to list seven tips about How Not to be a Jerk. The first one should be familiar to longtime NotJobs readers:

  • Be rude or dismissive to the front desk person.

This is something I’ve mentioned before: Beware the Receptionist Test.

So – the lessons here are many. If you don’t want to get a job, be a jerk.

Find the Evil HR Lady here: The full article is Check out the whole article, and the comments.


Entry filed under: NotJobs. Tags: , , , , .

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My Core Ideas

1. "I can't tell you the best way to get a job - because there is no one best way. After 21 years of recruiting, I CAN share things I've seen candidates do to guarantee they DIDN'T get the job."

2. "Most companies don't realize how their recruiting process impacts their candidate pool, and their business. Attention to simple things will result in big improvements."

About the Author

Troy Bettinger, SPHR is a Denver Recruiter, Public Speaker, HR Metrics Analyst and Human Resources Leader who has been recruiting in corporate and municipal environments since 1991.

He specializes in the complete hiring process: defining, sourcing, recruiting, testing, interviewing, offering and orienting new hires. He's also well versed in strategic human resources, college recruiting, diversity recruiting, AAP, EEO, ATS integration, recruiting metrics, social media, recruiting leadership, training and employment branding.


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